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Saturday, January 04, 2014

io9 - Gonzalez:  Behold the absolute mind-bogglery of a knuckleball in flight

MLB pitcher R.A. Dickey slings an erratic knuckleball pitch, posing a challenge for batter and catcher alike. The ball has been colorized to highlight its almost total lack of spin, which usually serves to stabilize the ball’s trajectory.

A baseball’s seams make it an imperfect sphere, which can lead to some screwy flight behavior when there’s no spin to steady things out. Ivan R. Dee provides a good explanation of knuckleball dynamics in chapter 1 of The Knucklebook:

In the action of the knuckleball… some stitches are moving toward the flow of air in the front, and others are moving away, at a slow speed. The stitches move around the ball in quire a complex curve on a knuckleball, and the ball may rotate at different rates in different ways. This causes the swirls of air to change size and direction, form and disappear, and move location on the ball, thus producing changing locations of low pressure that really can’t be predicted.

Lassus Posted: January 04, 2014 at 07:49 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: r.a. dickey, science

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   1. jobu Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:38 AM (#4630350)
Very cool GIF at that link.
   2. Morty Causa Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:49 AM (#4630354)

Looking at the Bugs Bunny gif, I'd like to say that I wish players still wore derbies and chomped on cigars while playing.
   3. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:51 AM (#4630355)
So I watched the video that accompanies it.

My initial reactions:

It appeared the gif and the video were at odds (though the speaker in the video seemed to change course a little at the end).

I'd love to see the lefthanded knuckler from Grinnell make it.

What the hell is Bill James doing hawking pay no income tax solutions?

   4. Bote Man Posted: January 05, 2014 at 01:20 AM (#4630367)
What the hell is Bill James doing hawking pay no income tax solutions?

He must have wandered over from the OTP thread.
   5. toratoratora Posted: January 05, 2014 at 02:57 AM (#4630381)
In the Mets’ bat rack at Citi Field, almost every bat includes a sticker with the player’s number on the knob. Not Dickey’s.

His bats have no stickers. He writes his number, 43, in black ink in the middle, with a name curled around it.

One bat is called Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver and the other is Hrunting. Dickey, an avid reader, said that Orcrist came from “The Hobbit.” Hrunting — the H is silent, Dickey said — came from the epic poem “Beowulf”; it is the sword Beowulf uses to slay Grendel’s mother.*

How did I not know this? This is bloody awesome, even if they get their Tolkien cite wrong.

I had a chance to pick up Dickey's book for free today and passed. Now I'm regretting the decision.

*Taken from an article linked in TFA
   6. PreservedFish Posted: January 05, 2014 at 03:21 AM (#4630384)
I have Dickey's book. I've only browsed it but my impression is that the prose was actually dumbed down to conform to the usual jock autobiography standards.
   7. Greg K Posted: January 05, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4630399)
I named my first wood bat "Needle". But then I broke in its first game.
   8. MikeTorrez Posted: January 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4630505)
How did I not know this? This is bloody awesome, even if they get their Tolkien cite wrong.

#5, what's wrong with the Tolkien cite? Ocrist is Thorin Oakenshield's sword.

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