May 5, 2005

GET A HELMET KID (via John Resnick):

Study Finds Kids Can't Hit Slow Pitches (, May 5, 2005)

You're throwing a ball for a toddler to smack with a plastic bat. You toss it gently, slowly, to make it easier. He just can't hit it.

It's because you throw too slowly, a new study finds.

Kids' brains aren't wired for slow motion.

"When you throw something slowly to a child, you think you're doing them a favor by trying to be helpful," said Terri Lewis, professor of psychology at McMaster University. "Slow balls actually appear stationary to a child."

Add a little speed to the pitch, Lewis and her colleagues suggest, and the child is able to judge its speed more accurately.

But just brush one of the little cretins back with a high, hard one when they're crowding the plate and listen to them run crying for Mom.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 5, 2005 9:01 PM

I remember Steve Hamilton throwing his "Folly Floater" to the Indians' Tony Horton at Yankee Stadium and having him actually crawl back to the dugout in shame when he struck out. So sometimes it's not just kids who can't hit the slow pitches.

Posted by: John at May 5, 2005 10:05 PM

This explains Jaime Moyer's success, I guess...

Posted by: Timothy at May 5, 2005 10:13 PM

Remember Gorman Thomas vs Dave LaRoche and the LaLob?

Posted by: oj at May 5, 2005 10:30 PM

Hitting is about timing. Pitching is about upsetting timing.

Posted by: Greg Hlatky at May 5, 2005 11:09 PM

How about Bill Lee's Ephus Pitch to Tony Perez?

Posted by: George at May 6, 2005 12:53 AM

I owned the inside half of the plate when my son was young.

Randy Jones won the Cy Young with a fastball no harder than most high school pitchers.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at May 6, 2005 3:09 AM

Serious, non-humorous comment: baseball is not suited to small children: it requires neural and motor skills that are undeveloped in most individuals. Basketball is even worse--little children simply can't play it, and trying to teach them does more harm than good.

We all know what the right sport for snall children is--safe, simple, develpopementally appropriate. S-o-c-c-e-r.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 6, 2005 8:06 AM

I DEMAND that 'Lou Gots' be banned from this thread.

'Soccer', indeed!

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at May 6, 2005 9:55 AM

Timothy: that was Jeff Goldstein's thought, too (full disclosure: from whence I pilfered the story link). My first thought was that this explains the knuckleball. But, after review, I'm back to my original belief that it's actually inexplicable.

Posted by: John Resnick at May 6, 2005 10:28 AM

I agree with Lou - soccer is a children's game and shouldn't be played by anoyone older than 13.

Posted by: Shelton at May 6, 2005 12:20 PM

Soccer is also easier on the attention span for little kids because they can be active all the time, not to mention that no position is ever critical to play (unlike, say, first base). As we say in computer science, it fails gracefully in the face of distracted players.

However, my primary measure for the desireability of a sport is whether it tires the tykes out enough that they want to get to bed early. Any game that does that is a winning game in my book.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 6, 2005 5:59 PM