#909 The crack of a bat hitting a baseball explained

For some reason people either love or hate baseball. The Haters say it is too slow. “At least with football every play is a potential scoring opportunity.” Yes, as is the case with baseball so their point is invalid right?

baseball 3 bat bats

Personally I think baseball is supposed to be a leisurely game even though no one is really sure where or how the game originated. I enjoy sitting outside on a warm summer night with a hot dog and a soda, maybe some peanuts or Cracker Jacks chatting with friends during the slow parts. But the one thing I do know that always brings me back to the action is that sound when the ball hits the bat just the right way producing that sharp cracking noise.

Jim Hunter, the voice of the Orioles on radio station WBAL said, “”When you’re at a ballgame and a guy gets good wood on the ball, there’s a sound that it makes that kind of reverberates throughout the ballpark. It’s almost a violent sound. You can tell when that occurs, as opposed to when a guy just puts the ball in play.”

baseball 2 bat bats

Dr. Robert Adair, a Yale physicist wrote in “The Crack of the Bat: The Acoustics of the Bat Hitting the Ball” that the crack of a well-hit ball is not just louder or sharper than the clunk of a ball hit off the end of the bat or off its handle, but a different sound completely.

He said that when struck at most points along the length of the bat, it vibrates as does a guitar string, resonating with waves too small for the human eye to see. Yet those vibrations, involving frequencies at around 170 oscillations per second and higher generate a dull thud.

baseball 3 bat bats

By contrast, he said, a crack is the explosive sound of outrushing air when, for less than a millisecond, or thousandth of a second, the baseball is hit so hard that it flattens out and literally wraps itself around the front of the bat.

Joe Carpenter, lead mixer for Fox Sports’ MLB games said, “The sound of the bat is at the heart of the game’s sound.” I could not agree more. It is the sound that alerts everyone, including the players, that something big just happened.

I could not agree more. And it is the part of the game that always makes me smile the most.

Do you like baseball? Is it too slow for your taste? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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23 Replies to “#909 The crack of a bat hitting a baseball explained”

  1. Nothing to say but baseball is a great sport for me. Everything has its own sound and even that’s just the crack sound of a bat. I think when baseball fans focus on the moment of the ball coming and hitting, and then the sound of that sound driving you crazy. Just close your eyes, open the ears instead and feel it. I bet!
    Frankie recently posted…Infographics – Baseball FolliesMy Profile

    • Glad you found it usefull.
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  2. This is spot on. Found this article really interesting and useful. I have been covering various sport news and these tips really helps. Kudos Troy! Keep posting.