Mathematics in Baseball
Mathematics is used in professional baseball to determine all the numbers that appear along with every player’s name. Baseball is a famous sport worldwide. Americans even take it as the pastime. Many scientists and mathematicians also have baseball as a class. Mathematics is used in baseball to determine statistics that calculates data in the sport. The baseball players have not been recognized typically as towering intellects (Gallian 14). This does not mean that the baseball players are stupid. This, however, means that one does not need to be a genius to play baseball. The baseball players can use some mathematics to become better players. The baseball managers can also use mathematics to monitor the performances of their players. The baseball players can use simple calculations to monitor the movement of the ball. Thus, they can try and estimate its speed, which may help them to win matches.
In a regular season, Major-league baseball teams play around 162 times. This is not enough to ensure that the best team in the league ends the season with the best record. That would require the teams to play 256 times per season for the National League with 16 teams taking part (Bonner 107). This indicates that for the best team on a league to have an assurance of having the best win and the best loss record, the schedule should have the same number of games as of teams cubed.
If a schedule has many games, it is very likely to overcome any randomness that gives permit to a lesser team to have success in any matchup that they get. When fewer games are played in a league, the underdogs are given some chances to qualify for the playoffs and can sometimes emerge victorious in the World Series. A good example of a team that has achieved this is the Wild Card Florida Marlins in 2003 (Sklar & Elizabeth 118).
Mathematics in baseball helps to model fielding ability in the judges. Alex Rodriguez was the third baseman in the New York Yankees. Some people wondered whether he could go back to playing part shop just as he did for Texas Ranger. The best answer that can be given to this question is that he should play shortstop again. This is in accordance to a mathematical model developed by Shane Jensen, who went to Wharton School at that time, based in the Pennsylvania University (Bonner 107). The mathematical model usually measures factors. The examples of factors measured include how many runs a baseball player has made or how much success he has brought to his team. This ranked Rodriguez as one of the best shortstops in the entire league. This was before the league managers switched him to the third base so that they could accommodate Derek Jeter, who was a longtime Shortstop for the Yankees. According to the mathematical record, Jeter was placed as one of the leagues major’s worst shortstops.
In baseball, mathematics helps the managers manage their players using their statistics. The statistics helps the managers keep close tabs on their player’s performances (Robinson & Brown 36). There were the statistical means devised to keep close tabs on the managers too. This was devised by Steve Wang, who was a vivid Yankee fan and statistician at the Swarthmore College. He examined every data, including the number of lineups a coach uses in a single season and the number of times a coach goes to the bullpen. These factors were taken to an algorithm where they were examined to determine the style of management. He noted that some managerial styles would be more successful and effective when used in some teams. This made him say that a manager who preferred staying with the starters in his team might fit in a team with a veteran starting pitching. He also admits that the managerial style may make a team that has fragile young arms to do best with a manager that uses the bullpen in an aggressive manner (Sklar & Elizabeth 118).
Mathematics in baseball helps the players to realize that the head-first slide is actually better and faster. When a player is rounding third and is racing to beat the throw to the home plate, every fraction of a second is useful since it counts. This raises a debating forum, where people ask whether sliding with feet first is faster than sliding with the head. An explanation is given states that the human legs are heavier than the arms (Bonner 107). This means that when the body rotates, the arms tend to extend a bit further out compared to the human legs. The feet then give the body an extra push. Consequently, sliding with the head first is faster. However, many people prefer sliding with the foot first. This is because of the starters; they can easily pop up rather than sliding by use of the bag. Sliding with the foot first reduces the injury risks for the players.
Mathematics also helps the baseball players to calculate by estimation the amount of time that they need to catch a ball. The players should first keep their eyes on the ball. According to researchers and mathematicians, the best players have to position themselves in a place so as the fly ball appears not to be slowing down or speeding. If the ball is speeding, mathematics helps the player to estimate the speed of the ball, helping calculate quickly the distance that the player should move back to catch the ball. If the ball moves slowly, mathematics helps the player estimate the speed of the ball and the distance where he should move closer. However, the findings could not explain the famous grab made by Willie Mays, which was done in Game 1 of the World Series in 1954. This was where he grabbed the ball over his shoulder without even looking at it. Mathematics also helps in explaining why the hitters usually take a few pitches. In most of the cases, the best sluggers in the world will watch a pitch pass over the home plate and into the limit of the catcher (Robinson & Brown 36). Some of the pitches are fastballs that could have been smacked easily out of the park. This is usually done to calibrate the track of the ball. In an explanation given, the batter leaves the eye contact purposely through a pitch. He then makes an eye movement (anticipatory saccade) to a point where usually the ball crosses the plate. If there is a rise movement in the ball, then the ball travels at a faster speed than the batter have thought initially. However, the batter has calibrated it. This means that if the same type of pitch tends to be thrown next time, the slugger has an added advantage since he may just knock the pitch out (Gallian 14).
Mathematics can be applied to find averages in baseball. Some of the averages that can be found using mathematics are the batting average, the base running average, the earned run average, the slugging percentage, the fielding percentage, and the game backs. The batting average is used to measure how well a player can hit a ball. The base running average shows how well the players steal bases (Simons 75). The earned run average helps in measuring the accuracy and effectiveness of a pitcher by measuring how well a pitcher doesn’t give an allowance of runs in a game. The slugging percentage measures the accuracy in which a player bats, while the field percentage is used to measure the effectiveness of a fielder at creating putouts. The game backs are used to measure the number of games the team behind has compared to the first team.
Mathematics can also be used when one needs to calculate the force needed to apply to the ball. This can be done when the player wants to achieve a certain distance. The baseball player can calculate the amount of time that a certain player takes to steal a base (Simons 75). The results can be used to see whether it can be done a little bit quicker before the ball catcher gets the ball to the base. One can also calculate the height of the arch which is created by the path of travel that the ball uses.
It is vividly clear that mathematics can be used in baseball. Mathematics can help the baseball manager manage their players using the statistics. The statistics helps the managers to keep close tabs on their player’s performances. Examples of situations with mathematics being used include finding the batting average, the base running average, the earned run average, the slugging percentage, the fielding percentage, and the game backs. Mathematics can also help the players in improving their performances and winning matches. A good example is when a player can estimate by calculating the amount of time needed to catch the ball.
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