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Nickel andDime Pitches
Dave BaldwinChicago White Sox Baseball Organization, et al.SnakeJazz_37@brainpip.com
Terry BahillEmeritus Professor of Systems EngineeringUniversity of Arizonaterry@sie.arizona.eduCopyright © 2009-2017, Bahill and Baldwin
The paper and slides of the this presentation were written Dave Baldwin, not me
Please note the difference in language, attitude, and approach to the problem between this presentation and my others.
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References
Dave Baldwin, Terry Bahill and Al Nathan, “Nickel and Dime Pitches,”Baseball Research Journal,35, pp. 28-32, 2007.Videos of our spinning baseballs are athttp://www.sie.arizona.edu/sysengr/baseball/index.html
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Problem statement
What visual clues does the pitcher give to the batter and how can he avoid giving them to the batter?
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Spin on the pitch
Most major league batters (that we know of) who had life-time batting averages above .300 have said or wrote that they did see the spin on the pitch.Most major league batters (that we have spoken with) who had life-time batting averages below .250 have said or wrote that they did not see the spin on the pitch.
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“Nickel” can refer to
Spin patternInferior pitch
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Kinds of patterns
Dot (dime)Circle (nickel)Fuzzy bands
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How a baseballis made
http://www.reliableplant.com/view/25724/how-baseballs-are-manufactured
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Slider*
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4-seam and 2-seam fastball models
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Red dot of the dime slider
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Batter’sview
Circle pattern of the nickel slider
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Batter’sview
Equatorial bands
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Batter’sview
Spin simulations
We drilled a hole in a regulation baseball and inserted a four inch bolt. The bolt was chucked in a drill and spun at rates up to 25 rps. The bolt is the spin axis, which defines the pole. The shutter speed was 0.5 seconds and the f-stop was 5.6.
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Features of the ball
Typical values for major league pitches
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Creation of the red dot
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First-basecoach’s viewof the grip
Creation of the circle
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First-basecoach’s viewof the grip
The fingerspoint towardthe isthmus
Creation of the Fuzzy Bands
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Precession
At first we thought that the circles and dots were due to precession.
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Thumb roll
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First-basecoach’s viewof the grip
Thumb roll
Sid Hudson said that many pitchers roll their thumbs over the ball.This could relocate the pole into the isthmus or this could cause precession.This would produce a poor quality, ornickel slider.Of course the batter could not see this nickel sized red circle; only someone perpendicular to the ball’s flight (like the first-base coach) could.
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Hudson harness
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Hudson harness
Invented by Sid Hudson to train pitchers.Prevents the thumb from rolling over the top of ball.Only used during training for a curveball.
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Four seam fastball/slider grip
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Batter’s view
Slider release
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Top view
Are the two meanings ofthe term “nickel” related?
Spin Deflection QualityPattern depends on axis pole location relative to seamSpin rate and deflection is independent of the orientation of seam (from wind tunnel experiments in Watts & Bahill)Dots and circles can be produced with the same spin rate (e.g., in our simulations)
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Two poles
The spin axis has two poles.Although the two poles must have the same spin rate,one pole could display a dot pattern, while the opposite pole displays a circle pattern.
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Grip and release of the ball
There is apparently no direct cause-and-effect link between quality and pattern.Grip and release can affect quality and create a specific pattern.Whatever creates a bad curve or slider might create a nickel pattern.
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Bad sliders
These pitchers told us what can go wrong with a slider: Dick Bosman, Jim Kaat, Ken Sanders, and Bob Humphreys.Bad sliders result from a rolling of the wrist (like turning a door knob).With some grips, wrist roll might shift the pole into the isthmus or plain.
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The slider
The finger-seam orientation in the pitcher’s grip might also effect the batter’s perception of the slider.
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Photos of 4-seam and2-seam slider models
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© 2012 Bahill
But the difference in appearance of these four-seam and two-seam slider models is more dramatic in this video than in the previous still photographs. (These balls are being rotated at 20 rps.)
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Baseball sounds
You can hear a bat-ball collisionCan youhearthe difference between a fastball and a curveball?They have different speeds and spin rates so they sound different.Perhaps batters and umpires could be trained to use this auditory clue.
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© 2012 Bahill
Summary
Nickel pattern not necessarily indicative of poor pitch.Pattern is associated with orientation of seam relative to axis pole.Pitcher’s grip and release might produce a pitch of poor quality that has a nickel pattern.
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Dog Pack Attacks Alligator
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At times nature can becruel,
but there is also a raw beauty, and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered theapexpredator, can still fall victim to implementedteam workstrategy, made possible due to the tight knit social structure andsurvival of the pack mentalitybred into the canines.
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As shown in the following remarkable photograph courtesy of Nature Magazine.Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while another dog has a hold on the tail to keep it from thrashing. The third dog attacks the soft underbelly of the gator.The following picture is not for the squeamish!
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Karen’s puppy, Gus
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Proof that not all puppies are alligator killers
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Custom colors
background: H= 172 S=244 L=70, 0% transparencyemphasis text: G=255title: H=35, S=255, L=130standard yellow, R=255, G=255, B=0footer: H=42, S=255, L=100Visio backgrounds R=153, G=204, B=255
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