Episode 83: Baseball Myths

Air Date: August 8, 2007

A baseball bat filled with cork can hit a baseball farther than a normal bat.

busted

This myth operates under the assumption that cork-filled bats can be swung faster because of their lighter weight, and that the springiness of the cork could propel the ball farther. To eliminate the human factor of the myth, Adam and Jamie constructed a special batting rig and used a pressurized air cannon to launch the baseball at it. Tests showed that the cannon could launch the ball 80 miles per hour, which is the average speed of most MLB pitches. Regulation bats could propel the ball away at 80mph while corked bats could only propel the ball 40mph, half the speed of regulation bats. The reason was because cork bats have less mass to transfer force into the ball, and the cork actually absorbs some of the ball’s impact. The Mythbusters concluded that using a cork filled bat will not improve your performance (it will in fact hurt it), and the major league batters who were caught using cork-filled bats risked their careers for nothing.

A dry baseball can be hit farther than a ball stored in a humid environment.

confirmed

The Build Team started off with a small scale test by dropping dry and humid balls from a certain height. The results showed that the dry balls tended to bounce higher than the humid balls. For the full scale test, the Grant built his own rig (dubbed “The Mad Batter”) that could both swing the bat and pitch the ball at the same time. They then tested the rig at a baseball field using humid balls, dry balls, and control balls stored in a normal environment. The results showed definitively that the dry balls were hit the farthest distance and the humid balls being hit the least distance.

A fast ball can lift itself higher into the air.

busted

Despite the testimony of some pitchers, the myth would defy the laws of physics because in order for a fast ball to actually rise, it must exert more force upward than its own weight. However, the maximum force a fast ball can exert is only half of its weight, making a rising fast ball impossible.

On bases that you can’t overrun, it is faster to slide into them.

confirmed

While a popular tactic used by baseball players, some speculate that sliding will actually slow a person down due to the friction being exerted between their bodies and the ground. With some coaching, the Build Team learned how to slide like baseball players. They then timed how long it would take to run to a base and slide to a base. The results showed that all Tory, Jamie, and Grant reached the base faster by sliding rather than running by several fractions of a second. The reason was because as they ran, the Tory, Jamie, and Grant had to slow down at the last second so that their momentum wouldn’t carry them past the base. With such definitive results, the Mythbusters agreed that sliding to a base is faster than running.

A baseball’s stitches can tear and the hide of the baseball will fall off if the baseball is thrown fast enough and hit hard enough.

busted

The Mythbusters modified their cork bat rig to fire the baseball at much higher speeds. It fired the ball at a static bat with speeds over 200mph, which is twice as fast as the fastest pitch ever recorded. However, the ball remained intact. The Mythbusters then fired the cannon at maximum power. The hide of the ball did come off, but the ball was fired at about 437mph, four times faster than any human could pitch.

124 Comments

  1. brianhks says:

    A fast ball can lift itself if it has a backspin on it. The backspin creates a low pressure above the ball so it will rise.

    • nick says:

      it is impossible, I had the biggest curve around as a teen and tried submarining to “curve it upwards”. no matter how much torque you put on the ball it will never curve upward. they are using mathematical facts to back it up.

    • asdasd says:

      A lower pressure area below would make it sink, not rise.

      • person says:

        lower pressure below it would make it rise, as long as there is higher pressure above the ball. The same thing is used to create lift on planes wings, low pressure below, high pressure above

        • Rashkavar says:

          Except it’s the reverse of that. When you have a low pressure and high pressure zone, this means the high pressure zone is pushing on the object more than the low pressure zone. Having higher pressure underneath is what causes lift. This is why aircraft wings (and helicopter rotors) are angled such that the bottom of the wing is facing the direction of travel – doing so creates a much higher pressure below the wing/rotor, lifting it and whatever it’s attached to.

          • Bystander says:

            None of which takes into account that the OP says that it creates the low pressure on the top side of the ball, not below as the first critic contends.

    • rob says:

      A golf ball has got dimples and it does rise because its designed to create many low and high pressure pockets threw a greater proportion of its radius than a regular ball. The treads on the base ball do the same to a way lesser degree. The interesting thing to watch is a golf ball hit low to the ground with full force on a sunny windy day. In fact its even better over water because you can see little wind cells bouncing on the surface of the water and you can see the balls trajectory wobbling. A back spun ball is more likely to catch any air pressure changes and deviate an inch or two. Thats enough for the illusion of rising to exist.

      • Guy says:

        Rob is right…it is an illusion. The ball does not actually ‘rise.’ It just falls more slowly.

    • Philip says:

      Wouldn’t it work like the hop up on an airsoft gun?

  2. Peggy says:

    with the cork bat, they tested the springiness portion of the myth, but didn’t do any tests to see if you could in fact swing the corked bat faster and if it could be sung faster, what effect that would have on the overall hit.

    • Knoxie says:

      ummm, i’m pretty sure they are idiots because people “cork” bats with ALUMINUM not effing cork… dipsticks… of course putting a spongy material in the center of your bat is not gonna help you… but putting a light yet hard metal in there just might do the trick…

      • vinny says:

        really cork could be for aluminum or wooden

  3. Gretar says:

    and have more time to aim

  4. Anthony Vais says:

    Corked bats deal with refraction time if you load a bat with lead the ball will go further if you load it with cork it has less refraction. This myth is also proved that while sammy sosa was a great hitter, he was also a supetsitious moron.

  5. Anthony Vais says:

    Oh and the idea of a rising fastball mainly deals with the mound not the actual ball movement. It appears to rise because it just goes on a straighter path then so a slower pitch.

  6. Bobby says:

    The corked bat was done incorrectly.. The purpose is so the LONGER bat will SWING faster… if you watch the scale on the first swing.. the bat does get there faster.. they slowed it down.. RUINED the test.. THE BAT SWINGS FASTER THAN AN UNCORKED BAT.. that is the purpose.. needs to be REVISTED.

  7. jake3988 says:

    Of course it swings faster, it just doesn’t hit it further. In fact, much MUCH less.

    Grab a lighter bat and you’ll have a better time than with a corked one.

    Now… I really don’t care about Sammy’s old run-in with a corked bat. It really doesn’t help.

    Thanks mythbusters :)

  8. Joe says:

    Very dissapointed in corked experiment. The object of corking the bat is to increase bat speed. Experiment was done with both bats being swunt at same speed. Experiment was totally flawed and results invalid

  9. Dan says:

    If you can swing it faster you would still need swing the bat at 120 MPH just to equal the 80 MPH speed when the ball leaves the bat. and thats just a weak 80 MPH fastball most starters can throw upwards of 90-96 on average, so if you can swing the bat twice as fast THEN it helps but 120 MPH bat swing is not going to happen,

    80 MPH pitch 60 MPH swing ball leaves at 40 MPH with cork.

    80 MPH pitch 60 MPH swing ball leaves at 80 MPH without cork.

    To equal the same results you need to double bat swing speed. I doubt you will swing at 120 MPH.

    BUSTED.

    • george says:

      no it is not bats are “corked” with a light dense core not as some might think with actual cork as it is light but not dense the theory is to add mass without adding much weight so that the force(mass x acceleration)is greater.

      also another version of the same myth is rolled bats (not wood version). are they more effective or is this merely hearsay? i know it is illegal as per most league rules to use them as they say they are unsafe.

      please please please to the 10th power revisit this myth

      • Marc says:

        wait….what the heck do u mean “theory is to add mass without adding much weight”….they are related you fool

        weight=mass*gravity, so dur dur less mass= less weight

        • kalvin says:

          Marc that only works if you are using the same of material so let’s say a pound of feathers verses. A pound of bricks the feathers have more mass than the bricks even though the they have the same weight

          • Justin says:

            Nooooooooo!
            A pound of feathers has exactly the same mass as a pound of bricks – that is what ‘a pound’ means. the feathers have greater volume, lower density, but the same mass.

            • Cameron says:

              A pound of feathers also WEIGHS as much as a pound of bricks. Weight, as Marc says, is mass times the force of gravity. Not sure how kalvin misunderstood the feathers/bricks riddle. But I think george’s point is that ‘corking’ is not and never was done with actual cork, and that the MythBusters misunderstood this urban legend. ‘Corking’ a bat with a material like aluminum SHOULD increase the rebound hardness of that bat.

    • Steve says:

      Didn’t see the show, but… how can the ball be doing 40 mph when the bat is going 60? Makes no sense…

  10. Tyler says:

    i play baseball and one thing i noticed on the corked bat testing is that they did ot it the ball on the sweet spot of the bat like they did with the non corked bat…and believe me the ball will not go as far without that sweet spot hitting

  11. John Frontera says:

    All the comments about bat speed are not quite complete just as the mythbusters looking distance of the batted ball. Bat control is the point.

    First, get a bat perfectly suited to a particular batter and have their performance anylized over a number of at bats. Not just hits, but called strikes on half swings, plate coverage, number of pitches per at bat (In other words controlled foul balls.) Then give the batter a corked bat enhance to best reduce their weaknesses. If you measure the performance again you should get a measurable change.

    Not all of it will improve, but perhaps a number of poor or average performance would decrease.

  12. Johnny says:

    What I would really like to know would be if sliding feet first or head first into a base is faster.

    • sam says:

      i think feet is the best option due to the fact of a fracture when sliding head first.

  13. Jimmy says:

    They screwed up the sliding one. It’s obvious sliding will be the better choice on bases you CAN’T overrun. It is faster and it is used to ADVOID A TAG. What should have been done is whether sliding head first into first is faster than running into first. I hate how they put some myths to the test without checking to see if it’s the right thing to test.

    • john says:

      I would assume you are the only one in doubt. We all laughed at the kid who slid into first for a reason.

      • Bystander says:

        No, not at all. Sliding into a base is the correct choice for completely obvious reasons. They don’t test whether gravity is real because it is quite obvious. Sliding has been proven to work for over a century. What IS in question is whether you can somehow improve your chances as a last ditch effor by throwing yourself at first. This actually occurs in MLB games and is questioned.

  14. Shane says:

    Having a corked bat is all about bat speed. Who cares how hard a pitcher is throwing, if you can create more bat speed as a hitter you are going to out peform a hitter that has slow bat speed. Hitting is all about bat speed and getting the bat through the zone.

    • Cameron says:

      This is a good point- lowering the bat’s weight increases bat speed, which might make it easier to hit the ball in the first place.

  15. Ric says:

    All these comments just go to show that you can bust a myth and people will still refuse to believe it if they’re invested in it.

    • Mike says:

      Ooooor…. The that above poster is highly susceptible to believing anything he hears or sees on tv. Personally, I like the ‘thinking for myself’ option.

      • Chuck Norris says:

        TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO :)

  16. Katlyn says:

    First of all I would like yo say this was a good episode…

    Secondly, many people think that a cork bat will make the ball go farther or faster but in reality it has nothing to do with the cork, its all about the weight of the bat. A cork bat will make the ball go farther because it makes the bat lighter. Wouldnt it just be easier and a lot more legal just to buy a lighter bat.

    It will have the same effect and you wont get in any trouble for it!!

  17. Joe Dominguez says:

    I would like to know if a pitcher throws a slow ball instead of a fater one; how would the ball rebound with a slow ball speed and not go as far?

  18. CocoCrip says:

    What this proves is that people love technical bull$hit. Mythsbusters! Pah! Idiotmakers is what they are. Who cares if you can do this or do that according to a few morons who’ve never played the game except in gym class. Or if this or that happens…whatever. Are you all a bunch of fat d!ldos?

    • MSpears says:

      Nope. Just an offended geek who believes in science over superstition.

  19. CocoCrip says:

    Yeah, mythbusters and the rising fastball…whoopee! How fun! Go play ball or play with yourself. These guys are losers…even the girl’s a loser. Why are you watching what you should be doing? They created a hitting machine…holy money. Look at what they spend to get you to watch their cr@phole antics. They are fa@@ots and you become a fa@@ot by watching them do their fa@@ot stuff.

    • MSpears says:

      And YOU are a moronic imbicile with all the intelligence God gave a common toad. If everyone thought scientists were all “fa@@ots”, then we’d still be living in CAVES. Have a nice day, moron.

  20. Dan says:

    The corked bat was done completly incorect. The corked bat can swing faster givin it more bat speed wich inturn cancles out the resistance of the cork and when the ball hits the bat the bat is moving much faster givin the ball more velocity inturn making it travlr farther. Like katlynn sid the it has nothing to do with the cork it has everything to do with the bat speed. The faster the bat swings, the harder u hit the ball, the farther it flies. This myth has to be revied bigtime and i meen taking the hole thing throwing it out the window and starting from scrach. The best way to start is to get a major leger to swing a regulation bat and then have him swing a corked bat and find the diferance in velocity between the too then take your rig put it in an actual field(so you can see how far the ball travels) have the ball come out at 85 miles an hour(the average speed of a fartball) and set the reaction time so that bolth bats hit the ball in the sweet spot(barrel or power section of the bat)and you will find that the corked bat will hit the ball much farther. This mith like i said befor has to be completel revised because you can swing a corked bat faster

    • Jason says:

      this post wins it all – complete with the incorrectly spelled words and the use of “fartball”. Seriously – I can’t stop laughing. “An 85mph fartball” – that is too much.
      light bat = bat speed, correct. However a little league bat will not put a baseball 450 feet. There is still a need for the weight to hit the ball farther.

  21. Terry says:

    Please retest the baserunning to have them run through the bag as apposed to sliding into it,I believe that is the question people are asking. Also can you test the issue does warming up with a donut on your bat increase your bat speed when you take it off. P.S. Can you also design some sort of protective harness before the guys go sliding again, they are more likely to get hurt doing that then all the other dangerous things they do. pretty funny to watch

  22. Andy says:

    About the corked bat. They don’t always use cork, most of the time they use super balls, whole, or ground up. That way it puts more spring in the bat.

  23. KIRBY says:

    The rising fastball myth is not whether or not the ball is thrown fast enough, but instead the amount of spin that you put on the ball. Totally need to revisit this one. you want motion you need spin!

  24. KIRBY says:

    The rising fastball myth is not whether or not the ball is thrown fast enough, but instead the amount of spin that you put on the ball. Totally need to revisit this one. you want motion you need spin! trust me I’m a catcher and i work with my pitcher all the time on spin.

    • fairuz says:

      hey kirby..i want to ask u smething…do u have see the real rising fastball..i don’t know to trust u or mythbuster..please reply..if it real that have a rising fastball can u show me the video or any prove….confuse..??

  25. Ben says:

    The reason some hits become homeruns and others are an easily caught fly ball has less to do with the speed of the ball or bat as it does with what part of the bat hits the ball. This is simply physics. The “sweet spot” on the bat delivers nearly 100% of the torque to the ball. The further from the sweet spot that the ball hits the bat, the more force is absorbed through the batter’s hands. The purpose of the corked bat is to enlarge the area of the bat that makes up the sweet spot thereby increasing the chances of delivering maximum force to the ball. Thet mythbusters didn’t control for what part of the bat hit the ball.

    • Cameron says:

      Another great point that was completely ignored by the MythBusters. Need to revisit this one.

  26. Fantabulous says:

    Newton’s Second Law states that:
    Force = Mass*Acceleration
    By this thinking one would assume that if you could accelerate a light bat faster than a heavy one thereby creating more force. But is the loss of mass offset by the increase in acceleration? After all wrecking balls move very slowly, but generate a lot of force in comparison to a 100 mph fastball! I wonder how fast you need to swing the bat in order to compensate for the loss of mass. I think there is a book called the Physics of Baseball that the Mythbusters might want to check out before revisiting these myths.

  27. max says:

    The corked bat result needs more work. I could see that the ball was not being struck on the sweet spot of the corked bat. It was hit off the end. The sweet spot is further from the end than one might think. The bat will not vibrate as much on contact and launch speed will be higher.

  28. slammin' sammy says:

    I think someone mentioned earlier that during the corked bat test, the bat did not excellerate through the ball, which is what every great hitter does. It’s increased bat speed, but continued through the zone. Also, using a smaller bat can increase bat speed, but can a corked bat give more bat speed, but with the same force ? The ball does not know the bat is corked. If this makes any sense. Most major leaguers user smaller and lighter bats. The same could be said for slow pitch softball. Make good contact and accellerate the bat speed after contact through the zone and the ball will go further. Also, they said the average MLB pitch is 80 mph. This would mean that there are equal amounts of 60 mph pitches and 100 mph pitchers. In the home run derby, they toss the ball in there easy and they hit it a ton, so the mph might not matter that much. If these myth busters ever picked up a ball or read a box score once in a while it could have been better. They are just nerds. Don’t expect too much. This shows what a freak of nature Babe Ruth was. Ruth swung a big, heavy bat, and he accellerated through the ball. he hit the longest balls on record. Bill Jenkinsen’s book on the babe is a great read. Well researched.

  29. josh says:

    ok the reason why the science on this episode is flawed is pure physics. the whole premise behind a corked bat is that it is lighter, allowing it to be swung with more velocity. i’m sure that more goes into it than this, but kinetic energy = .5 * mass * velocity^2. when mass increases, kinetic energy increases at a linear rate. when velocity is increased, KE increases exponentially. it’s just math. so when they conducted the controlled experiment where velocity was kept constant, i knew before it even happened that the corked bat would be outperformed by the heavier bat. that was pretty obvious. i can’t really say whether the increase in swing speed can really make that much of a difference in kinetic energy, but a lighter bat gives the player better swing control, and more importantly, a psychological advantage.

  30. Myke says:

    I was wondering about a hollow bat. Instaed of filling with cork or another substance just leave it hollow. That would also reduce the weight of the bat and risk of infraction.

    • James says:

      The mass would decrease, making the ball go not too far.

    • Cameron says:

      The aluminum would deform when it hit the ball and absorb a lot of the energy. But what about using hydrogen or helium?

  31. Jesse says:

    Fast hands are key to hitting the long ball. With a corked bat, which is lighter then a regular wooden bat, will obviously speed the head of the bat up, causing more force behind it, driving towards the ball, with a lot more force. This will make the ball go farther and move a lot quicker.

  32. John says:

    I agree with Terry’s comment on Sept. 30. It is obvious that it is better to slide if you are trying to stop at a base. The question has always been about 1st base since you can run through it without stopping. That is what should have been tested. Whether it is better to run through first base or slide in.

  33. sprucebranch says:

    Okay, several problems, here.

    1.) ball rotation: yes, yes, it is impossible to actually lift the ball against gravity, sure. But one should keep in mind that a pitcher is used to what a thrown ball should look like. A faster ball will, obviously, fall less than a slower ball when making its way to the glove.

    But for the purpose of this myth, one should remember we’re mostly interested in rotation; and we should remember the optical expectation of the pitcher. Can the rotation become enough that the ball floats above the pitcher’s expectation? Can the rotation raise it above the normal arc?

    I think the most probable answer is, “yes.” This would give the illusion, to the pitcher, that the ball was rising; since he’s used to seeing it go a particular way, and, suddenly, the ball is higher than where it should be; thus, the “rise” effect. I’d love to see the test done to verify THIS effect.

    2.) The corked bat has several problems.

    Yes, the kinetic energy is reduced, since the bat has less mass*acceleration to transfer to the ball; reduce the mass, and the power transferred is less. Even if the bat is swung faster, the kinetic throughput–the amount of kinetic energy actually transferred–will be smaller, as the bat will be slowed down faster, and some energy will be lost to starting inertia. The bat will “bounce back” sooner. The velocity will have to be so much higher to overcome this, the bat would, I think, break, before it could be done.

    However, for putting the energy correctly into the ball, the lighter bat does have several advantages.

    These advantages have to do with accuracy. The increased speed of the bat will, somewhat, overcome the energy transfer disadvantage…I guess, maybe, 1/3 of the loss from mass will be overcome by the speed increase. Assuming human speeds.

    But most of the advantages of the cork bat will be due to accuracy. Yes, accessing the “sweet spot” easier will help. We’ll call that, Item a. Additionally, hitting the ball more often will be, theoretically, possible; call that item b.

    Now, putting your body behind the swing may be able to overcome some of the lower weight disadvantage; I don’t know, though.

    However, increased accuracy from being able to support the bat, easier, can also–in theory–allow you to adjust the arc of your fly ball; as we all know, the better the arc, the more distance you can get from the same velocity. We can call that Item c.

    With all that going for us, it is theoretically possible to get better distance with a lighter bat. This assumes you’ve trained enough that you are able to get more stroke efficiency from your lighter bat.

    Otherwise, the heavier bat (assuming the same length; the longer bat wins here, too) will give you the most power available.

    As for Item d., we should keep in mind that a swung item may “flex,” and a flexed bat will swing slower at the beginning, and faster at the end. Check out the physics of graphite rods used in golf clubs. A more “whippy” bat will end up subtracting, then adding, speed to the end of your bat. This net-zero effect can be optimized if you hit the ball during the “adding” time. Think of the difference between being having a rubber band thrown at you, and being “snapped” by one. We’ll call (theoretical) elastic enhancement Item d., and say that it can pertain to a number of possible constructions, and may not apply, here. Perhaps a graphite- or fiberglass-cored bat, though….

    Again, in theory (but theory that golf club manufacturers use all the time). Longer bat means more torque; heavier bat means more power, and harder bat (assuming a non-absorptive surface and ground material; there are some special composites that will actually remove energy from collisions) means more elasticity in your collision, which means more of the available power is transferred to the ball. Elastic construction also a big plus.

    This is one of the reasons I don’t like any bat that “vibrates” when you hit the ball (like those aluminum bats); that means that some of the energy of your swing is being lost into creating the vibration. You’re getting less-than-perfect efficiency in energy transfer. Ticks me off.

    • Chuck says:

      TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO :) TOO LONG

      • Dave says:

        All valid points though …

  34. Josh says:

    if corking a bat didnt didnt help in fact yall said it made it worse but anyway if it was worse why would it be ilegal they didnt make the rule for nothin and just like everyone else its all about weight

    • Cameron says:

      The MythBusters didn’t test every material, just cork. There are plenty of metals that could be added to the inside of a baseball bat that would increase the power of a hit- that’s why adding ANYTHING to the bat is illegal, not just cork.

  35. Nick says:

    what flies farther a baseball or a softball?

  36. Brandon says:

    Hey guys I watched the “corked Bat” Episode. just wanted to let yall know that when somebody says a “Corked Bat” it is not real cork…we normally use super balls or if the bat is metal we use racket balls…drill out about a foot into the bat and throw about 8 little 25 cent balls also known as super balls into it then put the top back on…that’s how Sammy Sosa got busted….just thought you would like to know…love the show keep up the great work

  37. BaseballDude says:

    Just so you guys know, all of you who said that the corked bat experiment was done wrong are idiots. The only problem is they didn’t explain well enough what they found. In scientific testing, it doesnt matter if the bat is moving or the ball is moving or if they’re both moving. It’s all about relative velocities. And for the fact that a corked bat can be swung faster, it has been shown that it has about a 3 percent effect on swing speed. So instead of swinging it at 60 miles per hour, you could swing at 61.8 miles per hour. Do you honestly thing that it this 1.8 mph difference could make up for the 40 mph difference in batted ball speed shown when the corked and wood bats are swung at the same speed. In all honesty, a corked bat will help your contact, but it will decrease your power. End of story.

  38. Gvr says:

    Baseball Myths – A baseball’s stitches can tear and the hide of the baseball will fall off if the baseball is thrown fast enough and hit hard enough.

    busted – What about the variables ? 100 m ph pitch 100mph bat swing = 200mph . That is about the max one could expect in the real world roughly ! Age of the Ball ? End of innings ? After how many contacts with those impact figures – Across the gravel how many times – etc etc – I have seen it happen to a well aged baseball and aged cricket ball – Pro level you probably find they do not let there balls get in that condition – How can this so simple a truth be dismissed so easily – It make it look like the least time you spend with ball sports the better – Never mind that was the stated facts too – How could you miss the obvious ? Science is about facts ! Maybe I have it wrong and Mythbusters is a comedy show ?

    • Beth says:

      I agree entirely. it is all about the age of the ball. and its use. make it boutce up and down at high speed for a while and the stitching will tear. seen it happen with a new netball ball during a match.

  39. Nathan says:

    I’m also not satisfied with the cork experiment. One question I have is, what are they calling speed? Any body rotating about an axis will have a different speeds everywhere, that is, the handle of the bat is moving much slower than the tip of the bat. As has been mentioned before, the advantage of the cork could be that you can use a longer bat that you can still swing, thus gaining alot of speed at the tip of the bat, near the sweet spot.

  40. William says:

    can you put helium in a basketball and it be lighter then a reguler basketball

  41. David says:

    A few years ago I played a league fast pitch softball. I do not know about a baseball, but our fast pitch softball pitcher could consistantly get the ball to rise between the mound and Home.

  42. Chris says:

    Agree with Jimmy. This sliding vs standing up myth would have been better demonstrated at first base. How many times have we seen a Major Leaguer slide into first base on a close play? Should be revisited using first base.

  43. Joe says:

    i need to know how to build an easy batting rig. could you tell me? that would be great. thanks!!!

  44. gatorator says:

    The problem with the whole baseball episode was the obvious inexperience all the investigators have playing baseball.

    If you don’t understand the question you are asking than how can you answer it?

    Ever seen a Golf Ball rise?

  45. Joel W.Heipp says:

    I saw your episode on using cork to inhance the power of the bat.You should have taken it one more step forward.Try howling the bat from handel to front end of
    the bat.I would sugust about 16 OZ of liquid Mercury to start. By the time the batter gets his full swing the liquid would produce abount 20 additional pounds of force on the incomming ball. We did it when we were kids. (lots of home runs)I have a lot of other mythbusters where you cut your self short.Hope to hear from all of you Joel Heipp

  46. Anonymous says:

    How can Mythbusters say that the outrunning the base theory was busted when it was inconclusive. If fact I thought it was sloppy work. Considering the fact that they had to slow down to try to hit the base. If that was 1st base or home base the runner would not stop. You need to make adjustments to the trigger system in the bases so that the runner dosen’t have to slow down so much. With this handycap it is no wonder the slide is more successful. It is quite possible that the slide is faster than the run, but unless you can conduct your experiments without conclusive proof, you cannot really say that it is busted.

  47. Somayaji says:

    Im not complaining, but the myth about a fastball rising is possible. If you put enough spin on the ball, the wind and other elements would lift the ball depending on how much spin you put on it. I am a pitcher and i have managed to accomplish this a few times :)

  48. Orlando Borealis says:

    Having looked at the physics of a baseball, have you considered the even more complicated physics of a cricket ball? Not so popular in the US, but the interaction of the ball with the pitch means that the aerodynamics of the ball change over time, and the circumferential seam affects the interaction of the ball with the air and with the pitch. Incidentally, there was an incident in the 1980s where one player used an aluminium bat which was later banned, but most authorities think that (like the cork bat) it would actually make one’s batting performance worse.

  49. dude123 says:

    Wow, Cococrip. Why the anger and hatred? According to you, the Mythbusters are a bunch of losers, and we’re losers for watching them. Oh enlightened Cococrip, what should we watch? Soap operas, or Jerry Springer? Maybe we should tune in to Maury for the hundredth time to find out who fathered some poor woman’s child?

  50. dude123 says:

    wow, cococrip why the anger and hatred? Oh enlightened Cococrip, what should we watch instead of mythbusters? Soap operas or Jerry Springer?

  51. CSI says:

    You mth busters are great… you take little questions and turn them into huge responses. to all who think that yall are dumb or whatever… lets see them get off their fat butts and try what you do themsleves. thanx mythbusters you rock :)

  52. proper says:

    a rising fastball is possible for some, but it depends on how you throw it, if thrown overhand or 3/4 wether its plus or minus, the exsesive backspin will cause a little jump right after the realease, because its imposible to make it rise after the ball is on the way to the plate. if thrown underhand or submarine the ball will rise like softball pitches.

  53. Richard says:

    Having been a baseball catcher for 35 years, and have played baseball with players from all skill levels. I have seen fastballs rise. The same physics as a slider or a curve, apply to a fastball. Location of the fingers on the seams of the ball and speed of rotation. Rotation of the ball causes lower pressure below the ball causing lift. Sideways spin on the ball causes it to move left or right depending upon the direction of the spin.

  54. Chris Sabo says:

    I have no idea how some people are still questioning the corked bat theory, the ball will not go farther cause there was less density in the bat but the bat will go faster. So just use a lighter bat, it’s legal. Saw someone say as well that softballs rise not just baseballs. They don’t casue in softball its how the ball is coming out(underhand) that give it that illusion. Baseballs don’t rise either it’s all just a product of illusion. Durrrrrr

  55. Steven Tomer says:

    They really screwed up the corked bat myth.

    The really important factor here is kinetic energy – and mass only affects this linearly, while velocity does exponentially.

    For example, if the corked bat’s weight was exactly 1/2 the weight of the standard bat, the batter would only have to increase the bat speed by 40% (which is not unreasonable, considering it’s significantly easier to swing) to compensate for the decrease in mass.

    1/2*mass_orig*vel_orig^2 =
    1/2 * (1/2 * mass_orig) * vel_cork^2
    vel_orig^2 = 1/2 vel_cork^2
    sqrt(2) * vel_orig = vel_cork
    vel_cork / vel_orig = 1.41 –> 40% faster

    So let’s say the batter can swing 50% faster – the ball would have 10% greater velocity, and thereby go farther.

    It’s trivial physics!

  56. scadoodle says:

    The hide coming off of a baseball is wrong because I’ve had it happen to me. I hit the ball and it ripped along the stitches and when it hit the ground the hide totally came off of the insides.

  57. Joe says:

    Fastpitch softball pitchers routinely throw a riser.

    When I pitched baseball I had a tailing fastball that came up and in on right handed batters. Not an illusion, the backspin clearly has an effect.

  58. Evan says:

    Give the Mythbusters a break. They’re special effects experts, not scientists.

    Anyone who believes everything they see on television is a moron.

  59. Jeff says:

    You can’t trust your eyes on the rising fastball. That’s why they’re called “optical illusions,” because you interpret what you see as different from the reality. The backspin, which creates the Magnus effect, keeps the ball aloft, but there’s not enough spin on the ball to create enough upward force greater than the weight. I didn’t see this particular episode, but all you need to do is get a pitcher who allegedly throws a rising fastball (overhand or 3/4) and track the ball’s arc using high speed cameras. The ball doesn’t gain height.

    If you don’t trust the Mythbusters, then at least trust the physicists who all claim it’s impossible. Or, find a more scientific demonstration (as I suggested) that tracks the ball’s arc.

  60. inyurfacepawnge says:

    they elimated the human factor in this expiriment, heavier bats only hit the ball farther up to one point, if you have a fast swing like major leager, then a corked bat is for you its simple math if you just hold out a corked bats like the MYTHBUSTER IDIOTS DID then of coarse then the ball will go farther on a heavier but not when swung really fast
    YOU ARE ALL TOTAL IDIOTS GO HOME ITS SNOWING AT YOUR HOUSE JUMP OUT THE WINDOW AND RUN HOME YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS IF YOU THINK THAT THESE MYTHBUSTERS PEOPLE R RIGHT

  61. Jamey Smith says:

    I remember reading somewhere that an MIT student put small dimples in a bat like a golf ball and he could hit a ball 20% further. This was due to less air drag on the bat just like a golf ball. It also did not significantly reduce the mass of the bat so you could basically swing the same bat faster.

  62. Gordon says:

    “While a popular tactic used by baseball players, some speculate that sliding will actually slow a person down due to the friction being exerted between their bodies and the ground.”

    No one who has ever played or watched baseball thinks this and no one who does neither would think of it. This isn’t right. It’s not even wrong. The only sliding controversy ever has been about sliding into first.

    As for the cork thing, yes, lighter bats don’t hit as hard at the same swing speed, but there’s one big advantage to swinging more quickly: more time to figure out if it’s a pitch you should swing at.

    The covers of baseballs do get knocked off, but it’s exceedingly unlikely to happen to a new ball. Go get some practice balls from a high school team and try those.

    Really, how is it possible that A) the Mythbusters never played baseball B) the build team never played baseball C) no one on the production crew ever played baseball? How hard would it have been to run these by one of the hundred million Americans who knows the basics of the national pastime?

  63. George says:

    I agree with Jeff’s comments

    You can’t trust your eyes on the rising fastball. That’s why they’re called “optical illusions,” because you interpret what you see as different from the reality. The backspin, which creates the Magnus effect, keeps the ball aloft, but there’s not enough spin on the ball to create enough upward force greater than the weight. I didn’t see this particular episode, but all you need to do is get a pitcher who allegedly throws a rising fastball (overhand or 3/4) and track the ball’s arc using high speed cameras. The ball doesn’t gain height.

    If you don’t trust the Mythbusters, then at least trust the physicists who all claim it’s impossible. Or, find a more scientific demonstration (as I suggested) that tracks the ball’s arc.

    Way back in the 70′s early 80′s on the tonight show with Jhonny Carsson, a guy was invited to the show, and he showed using a transparent box with a wind tunnel, don’t remember the wind speed they used, but he put different balls on a very sensible gadget that made them spin very fast backwards, and the only ball that rises was the golf ball, and he mentioned that was because of the dimples, now I would like for the program to do the same and assure the seams are correctly orientated using a wind speed 90 mph or greather, and also do the testing that Jeff was suggesting using a background wall with lines and using a high speed camera to see the arc go up instead of down as all of my friends say it raises before reaching home plate, also using the correct 60 feet distance used in softball.

  64. Jimmy says:

    Suggested revisit:

    Corked bat – most players use superballs in wood bats and racketballs in metal bats, not actual cork.

    Sliding – main issue should be tested at first…is it faster to run through first or slide? Next, is it faster to slide head first or feet first (this is constantly debated on baseball diamonds)? No one player has ever questioned whether it is faster to slide rather than slow down at a base you can’t run through.

    Would love to see this one revisited…

  65. Easton Baseball Bats says:

    I have long time played baseball, but now i am a certificated baseball coach. I agre with your article, you provided some good points for later discussions.

  66. Jon says:

    I can guarantee you that NO softball riseball pitcher will EVER let a high speed camera PROVE that his/her pitch does not curve upward. They don’t want to be busted. The fact is, they release at a lower point and throw a ball that initially goes from a lower point to a higher point on a straight trajectory….then it begins to decline. Put her at 43 feet, throwing at 65mph, and it sure looks like it’s jumping, but it isn’t. The grip and release are used to keep the point of release low. The spin doesn’t do a damn thing. A 10 yr. old can throw an “angle” rise, and guess what? They are all angle rises, but like I said, Jennie Finch will NEVER submit to a high speed camera test, because it’s important to keep the myth alive…go figure…

  67. dalton says:

    That is crap if u say a softball pitch rose. aint no dern way and we r talkin about baseball not the sissy little sport softball. and yea a cork bat goes faster but it dont hit harder, if i hit you with a car at ten miles an hour and a penny at 100 which would hurt worse

  68. Darren D says:

    I agree with Gordon on the sliding.

    Where did they come up with the Myth of sliding vs. running? As Gordon said, the only controversy has been with sliding into first. When you slide into second your body slows down on its own without consciously doing it. This makes it easier to stop yourself. When you run the ground isn’t there to stop you and you consciously have to do it.

    When you slide or run into first base you don’t have to stop. So the Myth has always been if over running first base is faster than diving head first into first base.
    MR. Busters, can you retest on this base? The rules are completely different.

  69. miguel says:

    A fast ball can lift itself if it has a backspin on it. The backspin creates a low pressure above the ball so it will rise. ONLY WHEN THE FORCE CREATED BY THE BACKSPIN IS BIGGER THAN GRAVITY. BUT, HUMAN BEINGS DID NOT REACH THIS BACKSPIN FORCE BECAUSE OF THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THE BALL. If the ball is weightless, then is is possible to see ball raising up

  70. ARCHIE says:

    I believe sliding is faster to first, i didn’t believe this until a few years ago when a olympic runner who being slightly beat drove head first over the finish line securing third place and a place on the team. It was clear she was going to get fourth until she thove over the line the annoucers agreed with me.

    • keith says:

      for a track event, he line they cross is measured on the entire plane or at the chest level, so diving could make a difference. Diving to the ground to touch a base, I’m not so sure about.

  71. peter says:

    As far as I know the expression corking a bat is onlt that an expression the same as corking a bottle of wine.I am under the impression you put a lump of metal (eg) led or steel something heavy and dence in the bat and then cork it.

  72. Eric says:

    a fastball cannot rise but with proper backspin it will drop less giving the batter the impression that the ball rises because it doesn’t drop as much as the batter expects it to.

  73. Stew says:

    An important point is that a ball can rise but cannot CURVE upward. In order for a ball to curve upward, the spin effect (Magnus Effect) must be greater than the weight of the ball. In baseball, professional pitchers have been tested applying as much as 2.5 ounces of Magnus Effect on the ball. Since a baseball weighs about 5 ounces, the best they can do is cause the ball to fall less. That’s part of the illusion. As to fastball, a pitcher can release low and the ball can arrive at the plate higher than the delivery point. Clearly it rose, but it didn’t curve up, it only went straight or curved down less. In order for a fastball pitcher to curve a ball upwards, he would have to apply over 7 ounces of Magnus Effect on the ball, since that’s what a fastball weighs. I’m doubting that “weekend warrior” could apply almost 3 times as much Magnus Effect as a professional baseball pitcher can.

  74. mike says:

    I agree with those who think the corked bat test was done incorrectly. My understanding is that older hitters tend to be the ones most likely to use a corked bat because it speeds up their swings – which it clearly would do – making them more likely to make effective contact.

    It is certainly possible that if too much mass was removed, the result would be a ball hit with less power but if it allows a hitter to go to a bigger bat and yet swing it more quickly through the zone, they might be able to compensate for their natural aging, slowing down swing.

  75. Jim says:

    @mike,

    Okay, so older players would like to use lighter-weight bats to speed up their bat speed. How does that make test “wrong”? They want more bat speed not because they want to hit the ball as hard as they used to (they already know they can’t since they are older). They want more bat speed just so they can catch up to those 90-something fastballs that them young kids throw. In other words, they are interested in more bat speed simply to just make CONTACT, not to get more POWER. Again, how does that make an experiment that measures how HARD you can hit a ball incorrect?

  76. Richard says:

    Becuase the point of corking a bat is to Make a longer heavier bat have the same bat speed as a shorter lighter bat. The longer bat gives them more power and corking gives them bat speed closer to that of a shorter bat.

    Corking a bat of the same length and weight is pointless as their tests showed, but their test wasn’t valied becuase they didn’t use different length bats.

    A valid test would be a longer corked bat that weighed similar to a shorter uncorked bat.

    • nick says:

      i agree. using a longer bat gives you more leverage and speed to hit the ball further. i think they need to get a pro in there to correctly cork the bat because i believe it also produces spring. the center of a baseball is cork. there was a time when it was nothing but raveled string and they hit far less home runs thus the “dead ball era” name tag that baseball historians give to that time period. if you cork a bat right with either super balls or corking it correctly it should give spring to the bat, just like the metal bats do. the metal bats have reflex action which is why they have a uniform standard for the coeficient mathematics involved in making metal bats. If they redo this myth with a pro bball bat corker who does it right I think they will find that a corked bat not only gives you a longer bat for leverage but also spring off of the bat. ps. i think you need wine corks and you drill out the hole smaller than the cork.

  77. robert says:

    that “cococrip” guy thinks he is cool hugh. i play select baseball and i will tell u something. no dur sliding is faster. thats common sense. Let me tell u something else. u all r getting way 2 technocal. obviously if im swinging a bat that is lighter then it will go faster which means it will hit the ball faster and harder. if i hav a heavier bat then my swing time is longer and i dont hit the ball as fast but i can still hit it harder. in the end i hav 2 also say that sliding in feet first is a better idea. u can go under the tag and u hav less about getting dirt in ur face or face planting. feet first is faster and better. ive tested it u morons. by the way the spin u put on a fastball sometimes will make it rise. gosh u nerds should play some baseball instead of on the computer using some dum words that we all learn in science already. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! get outside and play a sport or something.

    • nick says:

      you don’t know what you are talking about.

  78. Juana says:

    The particular corked bat has been performed completly incorect. The actual corked baseball bat can easily swing action more quickly givin that additional baseball bat pace wich inturn cancles out the resistance on the cork and also once the golf ball visits the softball bat the particular bat is actually shifting significantly more quickly givin the actual ball extra pace inturn creating it travlr further. Such as katlynn sid the particular it’s got practically nothing to carry out along with the cork it’s got every thing to try and do together with the baseball bat velocity. The particular more rapidly the particular baseball bat swings, the more difficult ough strike the actual golf ball, the farther this flies. This particular myth has to be revied bigtime and that i meen taking the pit issue throwing out of the question as well as starting up from scrach. The best way to start out is usually to obtain a significant leger in order to swing action any legislation baseball bat and after that ask him to golf swing a corked bat and uncover the actual diferance within speed amongst the also after that take your own rig set this in a real subject(so that you can easily see how much the golf ball moves) hold the golf ball arrive out there from Eighty five mph(the typical pace of the fartball) and hang up the reaction time to ensure that bolth softball bats hit the basketball from the sweet place(clip or barrel or electrical power section of the bat)and you will certainly locate which the corked bat will struck the basketball significantly further. This mith like my partner and i explained befor has to become completel adjusted because you may golf swing any corked bat quicker

    • joe says:

      Learn to speak and write coherently. Organize your thoughts, and maybe it will make sense. Baseball, golf ball, basketball, get your story straight.

  79. Chris says:

    You cork your bat for speed but you only hollow out the last 4to6 inches. The primary hitting(the sweet spot) is about 8 inches on the bat which gives you the best effect. So u get speed from a lighter bat and u actually hit it where your bat is still itself. Myth has to be revisited!!!!

  80. Galane says:

    What’s involved with corked VS not corked bats is the coefficient of restitution – how much of the ball’s energy the bat returns to the ball.

    With a solid wood bat the coefficient is very high. Corking the bat, or even just drilling that big hole down the middle, makes the bat “soft” or “mushy”. The bat absorbs a large amount of the ball’s energy, dissipating it as heat. (Though on the scale of a human thrown baseball, it’s not a lot of energy so not a lot of heat.)

    Metal bats have an even higher coefficient of restitution than solid wood bats. The metal is springier than wood. Though the metal will deform more at ball impact than wood, the metal snaps back fast and hard, returning nearly all of the energy to the ball. Being lighter and supposedly able to be swung faster has nothing to do with how fast the ball can be hit.

    It is possible to design a metal bat with restitution characteristics matching a wood bat. A damping material could be applied to the inside of the bat.

    This bit of physics is very well understood in golf. The Professional Golfer’s Association equipment rules specify exactly the maximum coefficient of restitution allowed for clubs used in professional play. Many companies make “illegal” or “outlaw” drivers for weekend whackers who want a club that’ll drive the balls as far as possible, and lighten their wallets as much as possible.

  81. nick says:

    what about super balls? people like to “cork” bats with those and i have heard they work better than cork.

  82. nick says:

    please redo this myth program on baseball. when you do please find out if diving to catch a fly ball helps. there was a famous baseball player who said if you cant catch the flyball standing up and reaching down for it then it is impossible to catch.

  83. todd says:

    I enjoy this program, but they complete blew this test by having too many variables. In this case, they compared a heavy bat and a light bat with the same dimensions and after 2 days reached the miraculous conclusion that the heavy bat hit the ball farther. Gee, really?

    Anyone who ever tried to hit a league ball with a whiffle bat knows where this was going.

    There are a lot of ways to do this test right. THis wasn’t one of them.

    One way would be to use 2 bats that had the SAME mass, one solid wood and one filled with some something besides wood (aluminum, superballs, air, cork, oil, gumdrops, etc). Or even a combination.

    Because thats generally whats going on with a ‘corked bat’. The goal is not to make the same bat ‘lighter’ so that you can swing ‘faster’. The goal is to find a way to move the same amount of mass so that it meets the ball moving faster.

    And the way to do that is to move the sweet spot and center of gravity further away from the handle. So that you have more torque and force at the instance the bat hits the ball.

    Swinging a bat is like swinging a golf club. You start slow and gain momentum. Hopefully you time it to have maximum momentum at the point the bat meets the ball. The momentum and force and energy are all based on velocity and acceleration. And the end of the bat is moving ALOT faster than the handle. So the further away the sweet spot is from your hands, given the same mass, the further you’re going to hit the ball.

    Cork or other materials are used to change the distribution of mass in the bat, so that you can swing a bigger or longer bat, or a bat with a further center of gravity, with the same effort it took to swing a lesser bat.

  84. todd says:

    To continue, a correct comparision would have been to use 2 bats with the SAME total mass, but where one was able to be longer because of the cork. One with a sweet spot at 25 inches, and one with a sweet spot at 30 inches. Of course, if you’re picturing this, you’re already realizing that this would be as silly a test as their current one, because its obvious without even testing it that the corked bat, with the same mass, and the sweet spot at 30 inches, would hit the ball further.

    Again, this is something anyone who has ever swung a bat knows instinctively.

    Another test would be to drop a golf ball on the driveway and then on the grass and see which one bounces higher. Think that might indicate that using superballs might have some bearing on the ‘bouce factor’? The composition of the bat?

    I guess after 83 episodes, you have to start inventing some new myths so that you have some myths to bust in your 160th episode, when everyone has forgotten why they ‘always thought corked bats were a myth’.

  85. malique says:

    You could curve a bullet if 1 side of the bullet was heaver Han the other beacuse the mass of 1side will tilt

  86. alex says:

    i have personally busted the guts out of a homerun ball… but obviously ten years ago little league was not changing balls like the mlb. id say average bat speed is 85mph, factor that in with average 12 yr old pitch speed, say 75mph, your close to 200 mph. put a ball thats been hit 20 times, friction thru bat, sand, grass and leather gloves, plus the impact on pavement over the fence… def realistic. i dont care if you believe me or not, but i think under realistic non-mlb conditions its not that hard.

  87. Alex says:

    Check out chipper jones knocks cover off the ball. Its not about the speed of the ball its hitting it in just that right spot!

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