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News to Baseball Fans - The ball doesn't "break" on the batter!

Batters should take heed of the admonition to "keep their eye on the ball". A recent study dispels the myth of the "breaking" curveball. While the curveball does curve, the curve is gradual and always follows a parabolic path. The results of the study are detailed in the online journal, PLoS ONE. The illusion of the perceived size of the break is created by the shifting of the batter's eye between central and peripheral vision. Our peripheral vision lacks the ability to separate the motions of the spinning ball. The eye is unable to process the combined factors of the ball's spin and velocity. When the ball arrives at the plate, the switch is made from peripheral back to central vision and thus the batter sees the ball in a different spot than was anticipated. The combination of a small central vision field and our tendency to follow motion makes it hard for a batter to keep the ball in central vision. Researchers advise batters to know the limitation of their vision and to not trust their eyes.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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