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Thread: OT: The Physics of Steroids

  1. #1
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    OT: The Physics of Steroids

    Yeah, dull title, but interesting piece. I personally didn't realize how big an impact steroid use could have on the stats for hitting. They aren't kidding when they call them performance enhancing But anyway, here's the article:

    From Yahoo:

    Physicist shows how steroids can fuel home runs By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
    Thu Sep 20, 3:56 PM ET


    Steroids can help batters hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent, a U.S. physicist said on Thursday.

    Calculations show that, by putting on 10 percent more muscle mass, a batter can swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball's speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.

    Depending on the ball's trajectory, this added speed could take it into home run territory 50 percent more often, said Roger Tobin of Tufts University in Boston.

    "A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent," said Tobin, whose study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physics.

    Tobin, who normally studies condensed matter and physics, wondered if professional baseball players who have recently been accused of boosting their performance with steroids really would benefit from using the drugs.

    "If you look at other sports, you don't see radical changes in performance. No one is running a 6-second 100-meter dash, no matter what they are taking," Tobin said in a telephone interview.

    BONDS NOT FOCUS OF STUDY

    Tobin read reports about steroids that said they could add about 10 percent to an athlete's total muscle mass. Could this be enough to help San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds, dogged by allegations of past steroid use, hit his record-breaking 756th career home run last month?

    "I haven't tried to look at Barry Bonds specifically so I haven't looked at his weight numbers," Tobin said.

    What he did look at was the power of a batter's swing, and how it might affect a baseball.

    An extra 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of muscle, he said, could add just enough extra to a batter's swing to send the ball out of the park, or at least into the stands.

    It works for pitchers, too, but not as well.

    He calculated that a 10 percent increase in muscle mass should increase the speed of a thrown ball by about 5 percent, or 4 to 5 mph (6.4 to 8 kph) for a pitcher who throws a 90-mph (144-kph) fastball.

    That could translate into one fewer earned run every other game.

    "That is enough to have a meaningful effect on the success of a pitcher, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the effects on home run production," Tobin said.

    "The unusual sensitivity of home run production to bat speed results in much more dramatic effects, and focuses attention disproportionately on the hitters."

    Tobin said it is possible that baseball players could gain the muscle mass by lifting weights.

    "This doesn't prove anything. This is not an indictment of Barry Bonds or anybody else," he said.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by long island leprechaun
    Yeah, dull title, but interesting piece. I personally didn't realize how big an impact steroid use could have on the stats for hitting. They aren't kidding when they call them performance enhancing But anyway, here's the article:

    From Yahoo:

    Physicist shows how steroids can fuel home runs By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
    Thu Sep 20, 3:56 PM ET


    Steroids can help batters hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent, a U.S. physicist said on Thursday.

    Calculations show that, by putting on 10 percent more muscle mass, a batter can swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball's speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.

    Depending on the ball's trajectory, this added speed could take it into home run territory 50 percent more often, said Roger Tobin of Tufts University in Boston.

    "A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent," said Tobin, whose study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physics.

    Tobin, who normally studies condensed matter and physics, wondered if professional baseball players who have recently been accused of boosting their performance with steroids really would benefit from using the drugs.

    "If you look at other sports, you don't see radical changes in performance. No one is running a 6-second 100-meter dash, no matter what they are taking," Tobin said in a telephone interview.

    BONDS NOT FOCUS OF STUDY

    Tobin read reports about steroids that said they could add about 10 percent to an athlete's total muscle mass. Could this be enough to help San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds, dogged by allegations of past steroid use, hit his record-breaking 756th career home run last month?

    "I haven't tried to look at Barry Bonds specifically so I haven't looked at his weight numbers," Tobin said.

    What he did look at was the power of a batter's swing, and how it might affect a baseball.

    An extra 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of muscle, he said, could add just enough extra to a batter's swing to send the ball out of the park, or at least into the stands.

    It works for pitchers, too, but not as well.

    He calculated that a 10 percent increase in muscle mass should increase the speed of a thrown ball by about 5 percent, or 4 to 5 mph (6.4 to 8 kph) for a pitcher who throws a 90-mph (144-kph) fastball.

    That could translate into one fewer earned run every other game.

    "That is enough to have a meaningful effect on the success of a pitcher, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the effects on home run production," Tobin said.

    "The unusual sensitivity of home run production to bat speed results in much more dramatic effects, and focuses attention disproportionately on the hitters."

    Tobin said it is possible that baseball players could gain the muscle mass by lifting weights.

    "This doesn't prove anything. This is not an indictment of Barry Bonds or anybody else," he said.
    Having taken a few physics courses in my time, what he says does make alot of sense. Increased speed of a ball means there is more force required for gravity to act on it. It is not really adding distance but rather time in the air. This is why you rarely see line drive home runs. The longer a ball is on an upward trajectory, the farther it will go.

  3. #3
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    Take Steroids
    Get bigger
    Get stronger
    Hit the ball farther

    We definetley needed scientists to figure this one out.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe W. Namath
    Take Steroids
    Get bigger
    Get stronger
    Hit the ball farther

    We definetley needed scientists to figure this one out.

    Don't forget

    Take Steroids
    Pitch baseball
    Recover faster
    Pitch better next time out

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe W. Namath
    Take Steroids
    Get bigger
    Get stronger
    Hit the ball farther

    We definetley needed scientists to figure this one out.
    C'mon now, that wasn't the point. It was the size of the effect that was of interest. First time, I've seen someone quantify it.

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