Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday Morning Myth Busting: Baseball

So Yersterday there was some kind of sports contest on at some point during the day. Anyway, leading up to the Superbowl, I was hard pressed to find something entertaining to watch on television since Sunday's are generally rot-days in the Pemulis household. I wear clothes that no self respecting person would wear in public, just to have an extra incentive not to leave the house. I plant my rear firmly in the recliner with the intention of moving only to and from the bathroom and kitchen and only when absolutely necessary. Since I had no desire to watch six hours of nonsense about why Michael Strahan is something something about the something bowl, I spent a good part of the day hitting the 'fav' button on the remote, desparate to find something entertaining.

Thankfully, Discovery Channel was running a Mythbusters marathon. Unfortunately, I've seen alot of episodes, including several of the ones aired... But, there was one I hadn't seen. It was all about baseball myths, which sounded like it could be really awesome. Turned out to be a mixed bag of pretty cool and kind of stupid.

One myth was about whether or not corked bats actually provide any sort of boost, in terms of power hitting. Surprisingly, they determined that though the bat is lighter, which makes for a faster swing, the cork inside acts like a sponge, and soaks up alot of that enery. This in turn makes the ball leave the bat at almost half the speed of an uncorked bat hitting the same ball.

Here's a behind the scenes video of the experiment:

Another interesting myth they tried to tackle, but kind of fucked up, was whether or not sliding into a base (that you aren't allowed to overrun) is faster than just running and coming to a complete stop. This means they tried running from first to second and just stopping at second base, and then tried again - this time sliding into second. While the results proved that sliding into second was a tad faster than just running and stopping; I think this experiment kind of missed the point of whatever question the fan may have sent in to be tested. I would imagine that one of the bigger reasons to slide into a base that can't be overran (ie 2nd and 3rd) is to try and avoid a tag, as well as not to completely fuck up your ankle trying to come to a sudden and complete stop from running full speed. What I think would have been much more interesting would have been to see whether or not running to first (which you're allowed to overrun) is that much faster than the head first dive into first that we Mets fans see Jose Reyes do so often. I want to know if he should be bonked on the head and slapped repeatedly or if it doesn't make much difference. Anyway, the best part of the segment might be that all these mythbuster guys are complete nerds who don't know thing one about baseball, let alone how to slide. Also, Grant (the Asian guy) refers to robot combat as a sport, and after failing to complete a slide, suggests that he could build a robot that could slide. Also built by Grant, for Grant: robot for sex, robot for snuggling, robot for bondage, and robots for combat (I'm pretty sure he actually competed and one on that short lived show Battle Bots).

Other myths busted: it's impossible to knock the hide off a baseball, there's no such thing as a rising fastball, and humid balls do not travel as far as dry balls. Blue balls, on the other hand, never seem to make it past second base, regardless of the humidity.

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