09 July 2008

Baseball Better than Politics for Lefties

Only 10% of humans in the general population are left-handed but among baseball players it is 25%. David A. Peters of the Washington University School of Engineering explains why:

For starters, take seeing the ball.

"A right-handed batter facing a right-handed pitcher actually has to pick up the ball visually as it comes from behind his (the batter's) left shoulder. The left-handed batter facing the right-handed pitcher has the ball coming to him, so he has a much clearer view of pitches."

Then, Peters says, consider the batter's box. After a right-hander connects with a ball, his momentum spins him toward the third-base side and he must regroup to take even his first step toward first base. In contrast, the left-hander's momentum carries him directly toward first.

"The left-handed batter has a five-foot advantage over the right-handed batter," says Peters. "And that means the lefty travels the 90 feet to first roughly one-sixth of a second faster than the righty.



Kate The Great said...

I LOVE this post! I'm one of those freaky left-handers and have rather enjoyed the definite prospect of a lefty President (well, I guess we have one already, but I'd like to think he was actually born right-handed).

I've never really pondered the advantages of left-handed baseball players. Unfortunately, I bat right!

WestEnder said...

Dubya is 'sinister?' Did not know that. That means the last 3 presidents were lefties. And now that I recall, Bush #41 played college ball.

My dad is a lefty but he writes righty. The nuns gave him no choice.

I'm a righty but I usually batted lefty. I wanted to bat switch so I kept practicing lefty and eventually became more consistent (but less powerful) from that side. I became a weird switch-hitter: if the pitcher was good then I batted lefty but if he wasn't then I knew I'd get a better look at the ball so I batted righty to go for the long ball.

Lefties have a good tennis advantage, too, because they can serve out wide to a righty opponent. A good lefty serve can drive you mad.

Kate The Great said...

Oy... I stand corrected.

W is actually a righty, so this lefty can rest easy.

But Gore is a lefty... maybe it would have served him well if he publicized that.

And Reagan was a South Paw.

Hey, mark your calendar. August 13 is International Left-Hander's Day.

I know I'll be celebrating...

CincyDining said...

As a lefty, I also know that when we amateurs make contact with a baseball (which is seldom in this case), it also heads directly to first base. Clearly, those lefties with some baseball skill have overcome the embarassment of middle school gym class, but for the rest of us...ugh.