SocraticGadfly: Steroids DO make that much a difference for baseball batters

September 20, 2007

Steroids DO make that much a difference for baseball batters

A physicist’s study says a 10 percent increase in muscle mass can help increase home runs as much as 50 percent.
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.

Depending on the ball’s trajectory, this added speed could take it into home run territory 50 percent more often, said Roger Tobin of Tufts University in Boston.

“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.

So, let’s have baseball realize how serious the problem is.

At the same time, let’s remember it’s not just a hitter’s problem. I’d like to see a similar study for how many mph a 10 percent muscle mass increase can put on a pitcher’s fastball.

And, let’s remember this isn’t just a baseball problem.

How much extra yardage would a 10 percent muscle mass potentially put on a quarterback’s long bomb max? Or on a PGA golfer’s driving range?

That said, this is a good first study, in that, for at least one sports game action, it quantifies just what steroids can do.

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