“Anything you can do I can do better…” was a famous quote by Annie Get Your Gun that’s been used for many years, and has become relevant in the debate of softball versus baseball. The game of baseball was invented during the summer of 1839. Softball was later created in 1887 when a group of men joined together in Chicago’s Farragut Baseball Club to listen to the Harvard-Yale football game. Although these two sports seem identical they both have their own significant differences, but the game of softball is by far more difficult. Considering the differences of the fields’ length, bats, and ball the reaction time has become more crucial for softball players than baseball players. For instance when looking at a baseball field in comparison to a softball field, there are a few things that will stand out that could make someone believe softball is harder.
For one a baseball field is extremely larger than a softball field, your average baseball field measures four hundred and forty-five feet from home plate to the outfield wall . Whereas on a softball field the distance from home plate to the outfield wall is roughly two hundred and twenty-five feet. Another distinction between these two fields is the fact that a baseball field is seventy percent grass and thirty percent clay which allows for baseball players to have an advantage when it comes to reacting on a ball put in play. Meanwhile on the shorter and smaller softball field its thirty percent grass and seventy percent clay, which doesn’t allow for much reaction time during a play due to the lack of friction the ball has with the clay. Since we have these size differences, this means the pitchers are at different distances. A softball hitter has a reaction time of .349 seconds to react to a pitch coming seventy miles per hour from forty three feet away . On a baseball field the pitcher is sixty feet and six inches away from the batter, and on average the batter has roughly .350 seconds to react to the pitch .
Notice that there is a twenty three feet difference and only .01 second difference in the reaction time. Softball players have quicker reaction time due to the fact that there is less friction on the field and a pitcher is a lot closer. Bats are another reason why softball players have to have a quicker reaction time than baseball players. Softball bats and baseball bats are different in many ways. For example softball bats have a smaller barrel than baseball bats. The barrel diameter for a softball bat is 2-1/4 inches, and for a baseball bat the barrel diameter is 2-5/8 inches. Having a smaller barrel in softball means that making contact with a ball from a shorter distance is much more difficult. With a baseball bat you have a larger barrel which allows a wider range to make contact with the ball. In comparison to baseball bats which are made out of wood, softball bats are usually made out of composite. A composite bat is mad out of carbon, glass and Kevlar Fiber. A famous bat for softball is an Easton two piece composite bat.
An Easton bat is one of the lightest bats used for softball, allowing the batter to get her hands out faster for the pitch. What it means by two piece is the handle and the barrel are connected by a two piece connexion system. The two piece connexion system is to prevent vibration flowing from the barrel to the handle. Also to prevent a breakage. As for baseball players wooden bats are a player’s number pick. Wooden bats with a diameter of 2-5/8 inches and a heavier weight allows a baseball player to make better contact allowing the batter to drop his hands due to the weight. Baseball players tend to have heavier bats due to the fact that they see a pitch coming over hand rather than under hand. A major change in bats has become how much a bat is dropped. In the softball and baseball world the more dropped the weight is the lighter it has become. For example for a softball player if the bat weighs twenty eight ounces and it is drop ten the bat originally weighs eighteen ounces. Therefore making a girls hands quicker than before due to the much lighter weight.
As for baseball a drop ten means the same. By having a drop weight this makes the sweet spot even greater. The sweet spot is the middle of the barrel were the ball pops off of. On a softball batter you have a greater length but a narrow range. With a baseball bat you have a wider range making it easier for the ball to pop off the sweet spot for a long hard hit to the outfield.
Although a baseball is smaller than a softball, a softball is much harder to make contact with. A baseball has always been one size and weighed the same. Given this fact baseball players do not have much to adjust too. A baseball must weigh between five and five-one fourth ounces and have a circumference of nine and nine-one fourth inches. On the other hand a softball changes as the league changes. For a youth softball pitcher the ball must have a circumference of eleven and seven eighth inches and weigh six and one fourth ounces. Now for a college pitcher the circumference is twelve and one fourth inches and weighs seven ounces. The velocity between a baseball and a softball pitch are similar in many ways but also have some difference. For softball as the pitcher releases the ball she applies a force toward the batter.
As the ball travels, a backward force is applied because it encounters air resistance. Not only do you have the backward force but also the forward force. The forward force is cause by the pitching motion you decide to throw. On the other hand, the movement of a baseball through the air is due to the pitcher’s arm coming frontward, gravity stirring it down, and air resistance from the rotating seams. Gravity will always pull a pitch down as it moves toward the plate due to the hill. Although baseball has more downward pitches the movement of the ball is caused by the force. This force that pushes the ball in the opposite direction, whether it be sideways like a slider, down like a sinker, or causing it to sink more slowly than normal.
This giving a baseball a quicker reaction because it is normal for a baseball player to just drop his hands. Now for a softball player due to the fact that a softball is released under hand girls are at a disadvantage because the pitcher is allowed more movement. For example softball pitchers have a rise ball which is a ball that tends to rise up as crossing the plate, a drop ball that drops, a curve ball that curves outward, a changeup that seems like it’s coming at full speed but actually coming 15 mph slower, and a screw ball that curves and drops inward, and a sinker that looks like its dropping slowly. A girl’s reaction time has to be precise whether they want to hit a pitch moving 15 mph slower than the last pitch or a ball that sinks out of nowhere.
Throughout the history in both sports in comparison to each other softball players have had higher batting averages. This showing that the reaction time for a female is better than a male player. The differences in the fields, bats and ball goes to show how softball is much more crucial than baseball. Although the reaction times are very much close the distances are more than double for a baseball player.
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PR Newswire. The game of Softball Originated in Chicago125 Years Ago. 21 November 2012. 30 October 2013. Repanich, Jeremy. Physics of a Baseball Pitch. 01 September 2010. 30 October 2013. Ventures, ESPN Internet. Hitting a Softball. 26 May 2011. 30 October 2013. Whittemore, Frank. What are the dimensions of a wooden baseball bat? 17 September 2013.