Friday, December 11, 2009

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball? Not Possible.


(Photo by Chris Edwards)

Every once in a while we here at the Pinstriper like to talk amongst ourselves about the myths of baseball. So we decided why not share what we have discussed with our lovely readers?

Baseball Myths: Keep Your Eyes on the Ball

Aynone who played baseball, or any other sport involving a ball, as a child always heard the same advice over and over and over. Keep your eye on the ball. Keep your eye on the ball. You were supposed to keep your eye on the ball while you were hitting, fielding, and running. Heck, you had to watch that ball while you were on the bench. It was beaten into your brain like multiplication tables. But is it even possible? At the major league level, scientists say no.

A study by Ken Fold who is a visual psychophysicist who works at the University of New Hampshire concluded that it was physically impossible for hitters to keep their eyes on the ball. When the ball is traveling at major league speeds between 90 and 100 mph
players can only see the ball 5 to 6 feet in front of the plate at best. So the next time you see Johnny Damon's head fly around in the box and his eyes start drifting towards the right field fence, don't get so upset, he can't do much better.

On a side note, how great would it be to have Fold's job title at Holiday parties or around the family table? So Bobby, what do you do now? Oh I am a publicist for a small chain of grocery stores. Thats nice, what about you Ken? Visual psychophysicist. No contest.

We will be back soon with more baseball myths. Thanks for reading!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

that may be the actual case, but when I play I feel like I see the ball hit the bat; maybe it's just self-assurance or something else but I think I do

Peter Menking said...

No I totally understand. When I play I think I can see the ball hit the bat too...that's why I thought this study was so interesting. But, I think that maybe if you are facing a pitcher who is throwing say 60-70 then it might be more plausible that you could actually see the ball all the way through. What do you think?