Daily Archives: May 11, 2005

May 11, 2005

Scientists Call LaRue ‘Ball Magnet’

COLUMBUS, OH -- Researchers at Ohio State University believe they can now scientifically explain why catchers in general, and Jason LaRue in particular, are more often hit by pitches.

“The 'ball magentism' phenomenon is a revolutionary breakthrough for the science of baseball,” said E. Lensherr, professor of physics at Ohio State. “It has long been observed that catchers are more likely to be hit by pitches. Until this study, it was widely believed that they were just desensitized to pitches coming toward them and were therefore less likely to shy away.”

The project required LaRue to stand in a simulated batter's box connected to voltmeters while hundreds of cameras around the room recorded a precisely calibrated pitching machine sending balls his way. The cameras detected a slight shift in the flight path of the balls toward LaRue in response to an electric current running over his skin.

“The baseball collects electrons as it rushes through the air,” explained Lensherr. “I hypothesize that the brain of the catcher releases a hormone that ionizes his skin, attracting the ball toward him, increasing the incidence of hits-by-pitch.”

But if LaRue actually attracts pitched baseballs to himself, why does he have so many passed balls? And why has his bat been unable to find the ball of late?

“Some things even science cannot explain,” said Lensherr.