Posted by: Bob Gorman | May 19, 2016

Reaction Time

In April HBO Sports with Bryant Gumbel did a program on fan safety at baseball games.  One of the more interesting things they looked at was reaction time to a speeding foul ball.  With the help of Washington State University, they set up a scenario where male and female volunteers of all ages were seated behind plexiglass while a pitching machine located 75 feet away fired baseballs traveling 95 mph at them.  (They determined that the distance was typical of the closest exposed seating at MLB parks and that the speed was typical of how fast a line drive foul travels.)  What they found was truly frightening.  While some subjects giving their full attention to the ball were able to get out of the way in time, a good many froze and did not duck.  Almost all of the subjects would have been struck if their attention was even slightly diverted, such as when eating a hot dog or conversing with the person seated next to them.  It’s simply unreasonable to expect the typical fan to pay attention every second there’s action of the field.  And even if you do, many of us do not react in time to get out of the way of a screaming line drive.  Click this link to see this segment of the show:


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