Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tell Me the One Again . . .

about how Barry Bonds still deserves to be considered a record holder because steroids couldn't make him a better hitter.

Steroids can help batters hit 50 percent more home runs by boosting their muscle mass by just 10 percent, a U.S. physicist said on Thursday.

Calculations show that, by putting on 10 percent more muscle mass, a batter can swing about 5 percent faster, increasing the ball's speed by 4 percent as it leaves the bat.
"A 4 percent increase in ball speed, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, can increase home run production by anywhere from 50 percent to 100 percent," said Tobin, whose study will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physics.

It works for pitchers, too, but not as well.

He calculated that a 10 percent increase in muscle mass should increase the speed of a thrown ball by about 5 percent, or 4 to 5 mph (6.4 to 8 kph) for a pitcher who throws a 90-mph (144-kph) fastball.

That could translate into one fewer earned run every other game.

"That is enough to have a meaningful effect on the success of a pitcher, but it is not nearly as dramatic as the effects on home run production," Tobin said.

"The unusual sensitivity of home run production to bat speed results in much more dramatic effects, and focuses attention disproportionately on the hitters."

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