Nerds on Sports Where nerds are talking about sports!

May 26, 2014

In Ex-RedSox News

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , , , — Willis @ 10:00 am

Manny Being MannyManny “ManRam” Ramirez  was signed to a minor league contract to be a player-coach at Triple-A Iowa by The Chicago Cubs and their President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who was with Ramirez for seven years in the Boston. So now he can teach all the young new players how to just be Manny being Manny.

“While Manny is not and will not be a fit on the Cubs major league roster, we do think at this stage of his life he’s a nice fit as a mentor for some of the young talented hitters we have in the organization. Manny will coach full-time and play part-time in a limited role that does not take at-bats away from our prospects. If he shows there is still some magic in his bat, perhaps he will find his way to the major leagues and help another team, but that is not why he is here. We are thrilled that he wants to work with our young hitters and make a difference.”

Pedro Martinez was one of the best pitchers the game have ever seen, and he takes a little time from his roll of “Special Assistant” (We all know that just means him and Kevin Millar are the Sox official party starters, and they are good at their job.) for the RedSox to discuss the art and science of pitching.

“Pitching is both [art and science] and you have to put them together. You have to study a lot. You have to study the movement of your pitches – the distance your pitches move compared to the swing paths of batters. You have to learn to read bat speed against the speed of a fastball. You can tell a slow bat or a long swing, or a short, quick swing. You counter those things. If a hitter has a slow swing, I don’t want to throw him anything soft. I want to go hard against slow. If he has a quick bat, I probably want to be soft more than I want to be hard. You have to be able to repeat your delivery and be deceiving at the same time.

And one final story, about beer and bats…

January 15, 2008

Ankiel SMAASH!

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 9:33 am

The furor over steroids in professional baseball continues to rise. Roger Clemens categorically denied his steroid usage in a 60 Minutes interview. A fan is suing the New York Yankees, claiming that Yankee players’ reported use of steroids is akin to “consumer fraud.” And the hearings on Capitol Hill continue.

Roger Lets You Know Who CaresRegarding steroids, I agree with the Boston Metro’s Sarah Green: the competitive advantage conveyed by steroids is so profound that making them legal would be the same as making them mandatory. If you played “clean” in a steroid-happy league, you could not compete. And given the wreckage that anabolic steroids level on the human body, this would destroy the sport of American baseball.

But what about HGH?

HGH, or human growth hormone, is the output of the human body’s pituitary gland. Your body produces it naturally. Your body also produces less of it as you grow older. Some studies suggest that dosing HGH once you’re past your forties may combat the aging process.

The Mayo Clinic advises that HGH increases muscle mass and reduces body fat, but doesn’t necessarily translate into increased strength.

Get these results to Mitchell - stat!CNN reports that some doctors campaign against HGH usage, citing research that links growth hormone in mice to increases in cancer. But those results have not been documented in humans yet.

Of course, as with any popular scientific breakthrough, a number of scams have arisen to profit off the name. You’ll find websites touting HGH in pill and cream form, despite the fact that it’s only effective when injected. And HGH is still not completely legal – doctors have had their licenses stripped for not running thorough diagnostics before prescribing the hormone.

Read through all the conflicting reports, though, and one conclusion stands out: the downsides of HGH are not as bad, and definitely not as well-proven, as the downsides of steroids. Using steroids is a stupid and destructive way to ruin your body in the name of a paycheck. But HGH is not the same kind of monster.

I’d like to believe that Major League Baseball and their Congressional overlords can separate the hype from the facts. Human Growth Hormone clearly isn’t the same kind of poison that anabolic steroids are. We hope that, if MLB wants to ban HGH, they’ll do so only after the hormone’s effects have been better documented.

We hope, anyway.

October 18, 2007

Roll the Blogosahedron: Let’s Dance!

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , , , , , , — Willis @ 9:49 pm

Meghan the Patriots CheerleaderSo I rolled the ol’ 20-sided Blogosahedron this week and I think I rolled a critical hit, but you should be the one to decide that. We have recently enjoyed some wild card baseball. Some people may think that this wild card thing has been around for quite a while, but that’s not true – it’s only been around for 10 years. Way back in 1993 the owners voted to add the wild card into baseball. There was only 1 dissenting vote…

For a little bit of science, there is the new super-high-tech NHL jersey. And if you think those jerseys are stupid, check out what Dallas considers professional journalism.

Tim McCarver may be professional, but it turns out that it took him until ALCS Game 4 to realize that to get multiple runs, getting 1 run is better than getting 0 runs:

Believe it or not, Joe, in 2007 when a team led off an inning with a home run, it led to more multiple-run innings than when a team led off an inning with a lead-off walk! It doesn’t seem like that would be the case.

Now that the science is out of the way, I can move to the fun stuff. (more…)

October 2, 2007

Rocky Mountain High

Filed under: Baseball,Football,MMA — Tags: , , , , — Perich @ 9:44 am

Let’s talk science.

Going into last night’s game, the San Diego Padres’ bullpen had the best ERA in the league at a rock-steady 3.00. In case anyone forgot that, watching them butt heads against the Rockies last night, note that San Diego gave up just one hit between the time they pulled Jake Peavy (in the 7th) and the time they called in Trevor Hoffman (in the 13th). One hit in six innings.

Ol’ ReliableHoffman, who holds the record for saves, proceeded to give up two doubles, a triple, and then walk the runners into position for Matt Holliday to score the game-winning (and still disputed) run.

Why did Hoffman break down so spectacularly? You can talk about the pressure; you can pin it on an off night. But we wouldn’t be Nerds on Sports if we didn’t at least consider the well-documented “Coors Field Effect.”

Coors Field is located 1 yard shy of a mile above sea level, the highest ballpark – by far – in the Major Leagues. The air thins at that altitude. Will a baseball, which is significantly hollow, tend to travel further in such a park?

Science!Howard L. Penn of the U.S. Naval Academy, in the course of figuring the home-runniness of various ballparks, came across an answer. Using Halley’s rule, a centuries-old formula for determining the amount of powder needed to land a cannonball on a given target, he came up with some interesting figures.

A home run ball hit at Coors Field as an average velocity of 110.82 feet per second, the highest in the league. A baseball hit in Colorado travels 10% farther than it would near sea level.
(more…)

August 17, 2007

How Fast is a Fastball?

Filed under: Baseball — Tags: , — Willis @ 1:12 am

We know from watching the big glowing MPH at the stadiums that most pitchers throw their fastball in the 90s. I know I’ve never stood at the plate when that happened, but I have wondered how quick that would be. Well, some fine nerds at the Exploratorium Museum of Science have a whole article on it.

During the entire middle portion of the pitch, the batter must time the ball and decide where to swing. If the batter decides to swing, he must start when the ball is approximately 25 to 30 feet in front of the plate. The ball will arrive at the plate about 250 thousandths of a second later — about the limit of human reaction time. The bat must make contact with the ball within an even smaller time range: A few thousandths of a second error in timing will result in a foul ball. Position is important, too. Hitting the ball only a few millimeters too high or too low results in a fly ball or a grounder.

Check out the whole series of articles, and make sure you play the fastball reaction time game.

Powered by WordPress

%d bloggers like this: