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"Break" of the curve ball
Old 04-11-2010, 03:21 PM   #1
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"Break" of the curve ball

Baseball season is upon us. Many folks these days could care less. I am not part of that group however. If you have an interest in the game, you may enjoy this illustration on how the curveball works. I could never hit a curve. No doubt that's why I had so many of them tossed to me in my playing days. The link to the illusion contest is pretty neat, IMHO.


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In baseball, a curveball creates a physical effect and a perceptual puzzle. The physical effect (the curve) arises because the ball’s rotation leads to a deflection in the ball’s path. The perceptual puzzle arises because the deflection is actually gradual but is often perceived as an abrupt change in direction (the break). Our illusions suggest that the perceived “break” may be caused by the transition from the central visual system to the peripheral visual system. Like a curveball, the spinning disks in the illusions appear to abruptly change direction when an observer switches from foveal to peripheral viewing.
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The break of the curveball « Best Illusion of the Year Contest
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #2
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Pretty cool link! If you think about it, you are looking at the ball straight on. Even a small movement would be noticed. Just like selecting lumber. A piece may look straight when viewed from the side, but site down the length and even very small warping can be seen. Add to that the optical illusion and I can see how it would be hard to hit.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:46 PM   #3
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very cool
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:02 PM   #4
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Neat.

It explains why I could usually hit them. Too stupid to see anything but the ball. The bad news is that I couldn't hit any pitch squarely so it didn't go very far. Out at first, that's me.
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Old 04-12-2010, 12:08 AM   #5
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Really interesting, thanks!

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:40 AM   #6
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Neat site.

I couldn't hit curve balls very well once I made the move from high school to college ball. Come to think of it, I couldn't hit college fast balls, either. Dreams of major league ball vaporized, and another doctor was born.

Anyway, 90% of that game is half mental. -yb
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:48 AM   #7
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That is cool. Of course curve balls do really curve because of the difference in pressure from one side to the other. But you can see how the spinning threads might fool the eye making it appear more extreme.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:58 AM   #8
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Illusion or not, a curveball does drop.............it's probably the drop and the spin combined that fools most hitters.
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Old 04-12-2010, 02:30 PM   #9
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Very cool. DD loves optical illusions - I'll try this on her tonight.

Cover the half with the blue dot with a piece of paper, and have the person see that the ball drops straight down. Then uncover it and have them look at the blue dot. When I tried that on myself it seemed to intensify the difference from one mode to the other.

Thanks - ERD50
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:10 PM   #10
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This makes clear why good hitters watch the ball. Out of the corner of your eye is not good enough.

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Old 04-13-2010, 10:59 AM   #11
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This reminds me of an article I read about Nolan Ryan... and most of the people here will know who he is....

They used to say he had a 'rising fast ball'... but they did some tests to prove that it did not... the reason was determined to be that most people thought the ball should be "here" and it was higher than "here"... but in reality, the ball dropped... but dropped less than other people's fastball.. hence, it was rising...
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