Science

Why Curveballs Are in the Eye of the Beholder

In baseball, a curveball can be pretty hard for a batter to hit. And it turns out the reason why might have more to do with the batter’s eyes than the pitcher’s arm!

Hosted by: Michael Aranda

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Sources:
Vox “Watch: The optical illusion that makes it so hard to hit a curveball” https://www.vox.com/2015/6/23/8833851/curveball-illusion-science
The Washington Post “The surprising science of why a curveball curves” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/07/12/the-surprising-science-of-why-a-curveball-curves/
Illumin Magazine “Setting the Curve: The Magnus Effect and its Applications” https://illumin.usc.edu/setting-the-curve-the-magnus-effect-and-its-applications/
The New York Times “Baseball’s Sticky Situation” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/12/sports/baseball/ball-doctoring-spider-tack.html
Slate “How To Throw the Goopball” https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/10/the-physics-of-baseball-s-most-popular-illegal-pitches.html
Shapiro et al. 2010 “Transitions between Central and Peripheral Vision Create Spatial/Temporal Distortions: A Hypothesis Concerning the Perceived Break of the Curveball” https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0013296#s2
A. Terry Bahill “The Science of Baseball: Batting, Bats, Bat-Ball Collisions, and the Flight of the Ball” https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Science_of_Baseball/t559DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=curveball+2015+prediction+vision&pg=PA276&printsec=frontcover
WIRED “A Curveball’s Curve? It’s All in Your Head” https://www.wired.com/2010/10/curveball-illusion/
Kwon et al. 2015 “Unifying account of visual motion and position perception” https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/early/2015/06/11/1500361112.full.pdf

Images:
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/baseball-batter-hitting-ball-from-pitch-rh3dhqbkhjx0heu0j
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:12-6_Curveball.gif
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/dominican-baseball-player-strike-out-ribqcmxrwj99aqz3x
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magnus-anim-canette.gif
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/mlb-base-hit-for-the-home-team-sgcjnxekhjwzea3d8
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/baseball-player-throwing-a-ball-during-a-match-346593114
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/baseball-player-throwing-a-ball-during-a-match-346593116
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/passenger-airplane-landing-against-sunset-caught-by-camera-bas6xsy4vjrjquse1
https://www.storyblocks.com/video/stock/baseball-home-run-slow-motion-hwmxgnvyrjwzgaweo

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