Technology

2 baseball collides in MLB game. How did that even happen?


Crazy things sometimes Happening – so crazy they don’t even look real. Last week, right-wing Velez player Price Harper was preparing to warm up before a match with some training bat. He hit a good engine, and then Another ball collided in mid-air. This gives us some fun physics to break down. Let’s see how likely this event is.

What data can we get from the video?

There are two types of balls involved in this accident. Harper’s may have started its journey on a home board. I’ll call this ball A the second ball a player has thrown somewhere on the court. Let’s call this ball B. I want to get a value for where the balls start, their speeds, and where they collide. The Major League Baseball clip I’ve linked before isn’t the best video, as it doesn’t show the full tracks of either ball, so we might just have to zoom in on a few things.

One thing we can see is the effect between the two spheres, which is happening above the second base. Then ball B appears to fall straight down and lands near the base. But how high is the impact point? By watching the video it is possible to get an approximate free fall time of ball B (I’ll go 1.3 seconds, based on my measurements.) If I knew how long it would take to fall, and the vertical acceleration is – 9.8 meters per square second (because this happens on the ground) , Then I can find the fall distance using the following kinematic equation:

Illustration: Rhett Allen

With my estimated fall time, I have a collision height of 8.3 meters. If the baseball field is at level xz and the position above ground is the y direction, that means I now have all three coordinates of the collision point: x, y, and z. I can use this point to find the launch velocity of ball A. I know it’s starting to move from the home board, which is 127 feet off the second plinth. So I’m going to place the parent in the house and then place the x axis along the line between the house and the second.

Now I just need the initial velocity vector of ball A so that it passes through the collision point. There are several ways to find this, but the simplest one is to use Python to plot the ball and adjust the launch angle until it “hits” it. I’m going to use The speed of the starting ball (Exit speed) 100 mph. (That’s 44.7 meters per second.)





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