Baseball physics

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Pittsburgh’s many scientists probably facepalmed when reading “The Next Page” article on baseball mechanics (“F=ma,” March 30). “The force (F) is generated by the pitcher’s body, and the mass (m) is the weight of a baseball. … Once it leaves the pitcher’s hand, it travels with a certain acceleration (a).”

No. The baseball accelerates as the pitcher applies force. Once it leaves the pitcher’s hand it travels with a certain velocity (v) and no longer accelerates. More accurately, once it leaves the pitcher’s hand, it decelerates because the counteracting force of wind resistance causes a minor, progressive slowing.

Young students of physics might appreciate the clarification.

MICHAEL SOSO
Wilkinsburg


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