Do you wrap it around someone?”
The answer: Not really, at least not for a while.
“I can’t do a lot of arm flapping, unless you have a very, very large bicep,” says Robert LeDuc of Florida’s North Broward Health. As a doctor, LeDuc, who has an extensive history of wrist surgery, has witnessed countless instances of injured pitchers flying.
A fastball thrown in flight often travels over the shoulder with little resistance. But when the arm travels more than a foot and a half below a pitched ball—a “cork hop,” as the term is in baseball—the ball accelerates far faster toward the catcher than would be expected.
With the velocity in excess of 100 miles per hour and the pitcher’s momentum accelerating with each move, the momentum of the ball makes its way out the back of his arm and into his body. The movement of the ball, instead of being absorbed by the arm over time as in pitching, accelerates rapidly, and the ball’s path can follow a pattern not dissimilar to a baseball speeding along a baseball, or a car traveling along a road.
“If you throw your arm so fast—and they’re not hard—it will break the skin on his forearm,” says LeDuc, a surgeon and orthopedic surgeon at North Broward and a former pitcher.
He adds that the ball can even break his neck. He tells his young pitchers not to throw their arms in the air like the late Steve Finley, who “blew three men out.”
Funny story: A pitcher named Bob Meetsimovich famously played a game a few years back that LeDuc called “the arm flapping game of the century.” The pitch Meetsimovich threw off the mound was thrown to the pitcher directly behind him, and he quickly hit himself on the back of the leg as it flew past.
And while it’s possible to throw one off right-handed, no pitcher ever does this.
The arm-flapping game is a bit of a mystery, in part because players seem to throw the same type of pitch from across the field. With a fastball, the pitcher throws the ball with velocity to the right and direction of motion.
But as a matter of fact, the pitcher will throw the arm over to his left side, not his right. To get to his left side, he throws the ball with velocity to the left
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