Stadium Dugout Announcer's Booth Batting Cage Bullpen Behind the Plate

## Path and Range of a Baseball

Editor's note: for sake of simplicity, we will assume that the baseball will hit the bat in the "ideal" place.

## I. What is the Path of a Baseball?

In an ideal situation, whenever a ball is hit, it will fly in a parabolic path (In real life situations, factors like wind need to be accounted for, but for now we'll discuss this if we are in an ideal situation). Before we go in depth as to why this happens, it is necessary to know what is affecting the ball.

A few hundred years back, Sir Issac Newton created three important laws that stands as pillars of classical physics. These laws are:

1. Law 1. An object continues in its initial state of rest or motion with uniform velocity unless it is acted on by an unbalanced, or net external, force.
2. Law 2. The acceleration of an object is inversely proportional to its mass and directly proportional to the net external force acting on it.
3. Law 3. Forces always occur in pairs.
All right, here are the laws in plain English, they are actually quite simple:
1. Law 1. Unless you do something to an object, it will not move.
2. Law 2. F=ma (This will be explained later on, but if you really want to know.
3. Law 3. If you push an object, it will push back.
Okay, so what do all these laws have to do with the path of a baseball?
Well, everything. When the ball is hit by the bat, the bat exchanges its momentum to the ball and the ball flies away. While the ball flies, both gravity and air will exert a force on the ball, with gravity pulling the ball downward. Here are all the forces that are effecting the ball:

Forces affecting a ball

When you derive the equation of the ball through physics, you find out that the ball will travel in a parabolic path.

So, was this a piece of cake for you? If you have some physics experience, you may want to hear what Dr. Dell has to say about this next question: How far will the ball go?