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A Physicist Explains the Rate Increase of Home Runs

via Stanford News

Home run rates in Major League Baseball have increased steadily since 2015. In 2017, the rate was 35 percent greater than it was before the All-Star Game in 2015. To understand the reason behind this sudden surge, the organization convened a committee of 10 scientists representing various fields to dig into pitching and batting behavior as well as physical features of the balls themselves.

closeup of baseball and end of bat
Stanford physicist Roger Blandford’s work in fluid dynamics informed his study of the flow of air around a baseball after it leaves the bat. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Their final report, published May 24, ruled out nearly every explanation the group was able to study. They did present evidence for a change in the aerodynamic properties of the baseball itself but have yet to find its origin.

Roger Blandford, the Luke Blossom Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a professor of physics and of particle physics and astrophysics at Stanford University, was part of this committee. He spoke with Stanford Report about the committee’s findings and the future work that might be done to understand this ongoing mystery.

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