Being a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I’m disappointed to see them miss out on two consecutive World Series appearances in a row. But this video, from game 7 of the NLCS, is too amazing not to share. It clearly shows Hunter Pence swinging his bat once, but hitting the ball three times:
Alan M. Nathan, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explains the physics behind what he calls Pence’s “triple double”:
Meanwhile, because of momentum conservation, the bat slows down considerably after the initial impact but continues to move forward. The post-impact speed of the bat at the initial impact point is a little bit smaller than the speed of the ball. However, the barrel of the bat is moving faster than the initial impact point, although its motion is fairly complicated, since it is both rotating and vibrating. The barrel eventually catches up with the ball (remember, the ball is moving slowly) and impacts it a second time.
There’s lots more after the link, including video of Troy Tulowitski doing basically the same thing. Professor Nathan speculates that this might be a perfectly normal occurrence in baseball, but since the cameras capable of capturing it are only now making their way into baseball stadiums, we’ve not been able to see it until now.
Amazing as it is, I’m still hoping for a Tigers victory.