major league

Major League (1989)


Concept featured in film:Bernoulli's Equation

Location of clip:

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: The scene opens with the Cleveland Indians baseball team at spring training. They are showing Sorrono taking some swings at the plate for batting practice. Every pitch that is thrown, he smashes for a homerun. The coaches are amazed that another team hasn't signed a player with such talent yet. Then the coaches suggest to the pitcher to try throwing some curve balls, and they discover why Sorrono was not signed. He swings and misses at every curve ball that is thrown to him.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: This clip illustrates how a curve ball travels. The curve ball can be understood in terms of Bernoulli's equation (and the viscosity of air).

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. The teacher should ask the students to think about the following questions while viewing the clip:

a. Where is the speed of the ball the greatest (relative to air)?

b. Why is it hard to hit a curve ball?

c. Where do you think the pressure is higher: above or below the ball?

d. In what direction is the net force on the ball? Therefore, what direction is the curve?

e. If air had no viscosity, could a curve ball still be thrown?

2. It would be a good idea for the students to draw streamlines, along with the net force and rotation of the ball, to solidify their understanding.

3. Since curveballs are thrown at relatively high speeds, the Magnus effect also applies. You may want students to investigate the Magnus effect so their understanding of the curve ball is complete.