Tuesday, July 13th, 2010...7:16 pm

Home Run math

Jump to Comments

It was a simple enough meal. I was sitting with my children eating fast food when suddenly my cellphone rang, which isn’t alarming in itself. Suddenly, I noticed the caller wasn’t my wife or parents. In fact, I didn’t even recognize the area code. It’s important to realize, if you haven’t already, that I’m not a huge cellphone user. No worries about my driving and talking on the phone! I rarely walk and talk. I answered the phone and on the other end was a producer of the Sports Science show on ESPN. We had talked weeks earlier regarding mathematical questions related to soccer as they were working on pieces on the cusp of the World Cup beginning. Today, the focus was baseball-home runs, in fact.

“Professor Chartier, we are trying to calculate the difference in the length of a hit if the ball is pitched 5 miles per hour faster versus the bat being swung 5 miles per hour faster,” asked the producer.

My mind raced. “Air resistance…initial parameters…numerical solutions.” As before, many of my concerns were quickly subsided as Sports Science knows their science. They had quite a few of the parameters determined. I needed to work with a model of trajectory with air resistance. This particular question I couldn’t answer quickly so I said, “I’ll have something by the morning. I need time to look up a few things and right now, complete my dinner with my children.” The producer giggled, “Enjoy dinner and we’ll look forward to your email. I’ll send you the script so you see exactly what we need.”

By morning, I indeed had an answer and this morning, I got to see the results! Enjoy the link below and see if you can find the bit of math I was able to add to the video.

Leave a Reply