Dominijanni: The physics and timing of the infield bounce throw

From Andrew Dominijanni at The Hardball Times on March 1, 2018:

Back in early April, when the 2017 season was only four days old, I was listening to episode 1041 of Effectively Wild, as hosts Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan answered a listener e-mail question centered on a claim Paul O’Neill made on the Yankees broadcast. The claim, which O’Neill backed up with an anecdote about Dave Concepcion, was that the ball can speed up when bounced off the turf, and that tactic can be employed to get the ball to first base faster on throws across the infield.

Perhaps other players have their opinions on this topic; maybe it is even well known within the game that fielders skip the ball on purpose. The e-mailer, at least, suspected the influence of friction made this claim implausible. Ben then also read a response he solicited from Dr. Alan Nathan, noted baseball-loving physicist. Dr. Nathan noted that a ball impacting the ground with heavy topspin may actually speed up, but that this scenario is unlikely on a throw.

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This page was last updated March 1, 2018 at 5:31 pm MST.