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Why have all 3 of Bonds homers gone opposite field?

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Postby The Loveable Losers » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:42 pm

Yep, I've watched several Bonds at bats...it looks like Glavine is the only pitcher he's facing because it's a constant barrage of pitches (mostly balls) on the outside part of the plate. At first he had trouble with them...now he's adjusting to it. Pitchers are going to have to come up with something else because I've got a feeling just pounding him away isn't going to work anymore.
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Postby Art Vandelay » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:29 pm

The Miner Part 2 wrote:
Art Vandelay wrote:
The Miner Part 2 wrote:so this has nothing to do with him losing bat speed? maybe swinging later on balls than he used to. again i have no idea, but just wondering.


No. All of the pitches that he's taken out have been high and outside.


what about balls that he isnt taking out? is he pulling everything?


In the games I've watched I've seen him take two to the warning track in left/left center, one that he absolutely crushed that didn't make it over the high wall at Pac Bell, and some others that he pulled that were hard hit, but not deep.
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Postby Mugrila » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:42 pm

yeah bonds is swinging the bat well. i heard somewhere that he moved slightly closer to the plate to adjust to the outside pitch. as far as hitting outside pitches in generall, the experiement dawgpound noted is quite accurate. hitters make contact with inside pitches out in front of the plate to pull them. balls down the middle are the ones taken back up the middle (or pulled.) however hitters take the same swing but just allow the ball to travel farther into the strike zone on the outside pitch in order to hit it to the opposite field. so a little leauge coach is not always correct when he says "you want to hit it right back up the middle." the saying "hit it where its pitched" is much more accurate.
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Postby RynMan » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:44 pm

Dawgpound 1613 wrote:Don't have a link, but here's an experment you can do to show some of the aspects. Place a broom handle on floor. Roll a tennis ball towards it and watch the direction the ball goes after hitting the handle. Now angle the broom handle differently (use the same pivot point - keep the left part of the handle stationary and only adjust the right side, which will simulate Bonds bat being swung from the left side of the plate). When it is angled like a forward slash as you face it, the ball will go to your left (as it would if you were a pitcher throwing a ball to Bonds when he pulls it). If it were angled like a backward slash, it will go to your right. If there is no angle, it should come right back towards you.

Now, there are other aspects to the flight of a ball (such as the spin of the pitch, the spin imparted on the ball by the bat when struck, etc. which will affect the flight of the ball. But the direction in which the ball starts will be based predominantly on the angle of the bat.

For Bonds to pull the ball/hit it to right, the bat needs to be angled in that direction - just as the broom handle needs to. To get a bat angled in that direction, and using his wrists as the pivot point. It is easier to pivot the bat in that direction and hit that ball, the he needs a pitch closer to him and/or start his swing earlier. To hit a ball to right, it helps to have a ball further away and/or to swing later.

If you try to pull an outside pitch, unless you have very long arms, you likely pivot the bat (using your wrists) such that the ball misses the sweet spot. Or you start your swing too early and the movement on the pitch adjusts the location of the ball slightly so you don't hit it squarely.

As such, great hitters take outside pitches the other way. It gives them longer to recognize the pitch and they have a better chance of hitting the ball on the sweet spot. But to be effective, you need strength to drive the ball since it is easier to pull a ball with authority than to hit the other way with authority and hitting weak grounders to the other side is not a good skill to have.


I have actually done alot of study on the physics of hitting at university, and this is an excellent explanation, DP.

The only thing that I would add is that it isn't possible to hit the ball the other way as hard as you can pull a ball. The reason being that when you hit the inside pitch the bat has gained greater angular velocity than when you make contact with an outside pitch. Make no mistake, the swing is almost entirely rotational. Great hitters like Pujols cut down on the only linear component of the swing (the step and gliding forward unnecessarily), and emphasize the rotational component. Albert Pujols has a textbook swing.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:50 pm

I find Pujols swing an amazing thing to watch...the most unbelievable part is the lower body which allows him to do what you are talking about there (maximizing the rotational component of the swing). Watching his feet on a swing that he really uncorks one as his feet stay in motion and allow his body to rotate is a thing of beauty.
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Postby RynMan » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:56 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote:I find Pujols swing an amazing thing to watch...the most unbelievable part is the lower body which allows him to do what you are talking about there (maximizing the rotational component of the swing). Watching his feet on a swing that he really uncorks one as his feet stay in motion and allow his body to rotate is a thing of beauty.


Completely agree. Pujols really doesn't have HUGE arms. But his lower body is massive, and like you said he uses his lower body to initiate his swing generating much of his power, and keeping perfectly balanced. Also notice that he does not step - he simply lifts the heel of his front foot off the ground and puts it back down.
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Postby brandnew » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:57 pm

RynMan, you still have all your work from that project? I'm going to be doing a report on the Physics of Baseball pretty soon. ;-D
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:03 pm

RynMan wrote:
The Loveable Losers wrote:I find Pujols swing an amazing thing to watch...the most unbelievable part is the lower body which allows him to do what you are talking about there (maximizing the rotational component of the swing). Watching his feet on a swing that he really uncorks one as his feet stay in motion and allow his body to rotate is a thing of beauty.


Completely agree. Pujols really doesn't have HUGE arms. But his lower body is massive, and like you said he uses his lower body to initiate his swing generating much of his power, and keeping perfectly balanced. Also notice that he does not step - he simply lifts the heel of his front foot off the ground and puts it back down.


The thing that I'd never seen him do that I had to rewind and watch several times is when he actually turned his lead foot COMPLETELY sideways during the swing (he was standing on the outside of his front foot) and yet was still in perfect balance as he pivoted his body to the outside. This guy may end up being considered the greatest hitter ever if he continues to improve year by year for the next 2-3 years and then maintains his ceiling for 5+ years after that. He's simply amazing.
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Postby RynMan » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:28 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote:The thing that I'd never seen him do that I had to rewind and watch several times is when he actually turned his lead foot COMPLETELY sideways during the swing (he was standing on the outside of his front foot) and yet was still in perfect balance as he pivoted his body to the outside. This guy may end up being considered the greatest hitter ever if he continues to improve year by year for the next 2-3 years and then maintains his ceiling for 5+ years after that. He's simply amazing.


Agreed! ;-D

brandnew: There is a book by a guy called Adair called "The Physics of Baseball". It covers almost all aspects of the game in terms of the physics behind it - you should check it out for your project. If you are looking for published journal articles of studies conducted, I can give you a few to check out (not sure if you have access to them or not). I could probably also send you some stuff from my thesis which may help. Either way, PM me down the track and I may be able to help you out.
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