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The Scientific Slugger
imitates a ball being hit perfectly by a major league player.
In order to see what
makes a home run, try adjusting the strength of your swing and
the angle at which the ball leaves bat. You can also vary the
pitch speed to create more complex combinations. Try changing
one variable at a time, and notice what happens.
The distance a baseball
travels depends on two primary factors: the angle at which the
ball leaves the bat, and how fast the ball is hit. The speed of
the ball depends on both the speed of the pitch and the speed
of the bat. If the bat is standing still and the ball hits it,
the ball will bounce off the bat with most, but not all, of the
pitch speed. (Some of the energy is wasted in the friction of
deforming the ball, making a sound, etc.) If the ball is standing
still and is hit by the bat, it's given a good portion of the
bat's speed. Combine the two and you can see that a pitched ball
hitting a swinging bat gains a good portion of the sum of both
the pitch and the bat speed.
Gravity is always pulling
downwards on the ball. If you hit the ball straight up, it spends
quite a bit of time in the air, but doesn't travel far from home
plate. If you hit the ball horizontally, as in a line drive, the
ball moves away from home plate at maximum velocity, but quickly
hits the ground because of gravity -- still not very far from
home plate. To maximize your hitting distance, you need to have
both a high horizontal velocity AND you need to keep the ball
in the air for a longer time. You can do this by hitting the ball
at an upward angle.
If there were no air
resistance (that is, if a ball didn't have to make its way through
the air on its way out of the park), the ball would travel nearly
twice as far. Air resistance depends on humidity, temperature,
and altitude: To make a ball go farther, you want high humidity,
high temperature, and high altitude. The Scientific Slugger is
set for constant air resistance based on zero humidity, at 56
degrees Fahrenheit, all played at sea level.