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Is It Possible For A Fastball To Rise - The Rising Fastball
Is it possible for a fastball to rise? - The rising fastball
Everyone has heard the tale of the rising fastball or at least thought about if it is possible for a fastball to rise.
Well, the answer to this question is both yes and no.
Is there such a thing as a rising fastball? Yes! Is it possible for the flight of a baseball (a fastball) to rise? No. You see, a rising fastball does exist if you are looking at it from the stand point of where a pitcher releases the baseball and where the baseball crosses the zone. There are submarine and side arm pitchers, as well as softball pitchers that do this every pitch.
What we all want to really know is. Can a baseball be thrown from an over hand pitcher on a level plane and rise from that plane. The answer to this question is no. In order for a fastball to rise and be considered a true rising fastball, the lift force (force the laces are generating because of the spin) would have to exceed the weight of the baseball.
Unfortunately, even the best of the gas throwers in the Major League only put out about half the force, which makes a rising fastball an impossible pitch to throw. There are other physics besides throwing the baseball really fast that can determine if it will rise. Gravity, for example, is always pulling the baseball down while drag force is the air pushing against the baseball, which impeads the baseballs path. So there are two things going against a fastball being able to rise. One thing that would help the baseball rise is magnus force. Magnus force describes the imbalance of air flow past a spinning ball. When a ball spins, air is forced to move faster in the direction of the spin. The faster flow results in lower air density, which causes the ball to move in that direction. Therefore, this would be the lift force mentioned above.
Again, the amount of lift force that an above average mlb pitcher can apply to a thrown fastball is almost half the amount of the lift force that is needed to make a fastball rise. So, it is impossible for a fastball to rise and there is no such thing as a rising fastball. Sorry pitchers.