Sweepland
Curveballs

A New Cosmic Underleague Team


The SWEEPLAND CURVEBALLS represent mathematical curves











Curves & Curveballs

In his introduction to his book The Crooked Pitch- The Curveball in American Baseball History Martin Quigley writes, "The various curveballs and their deceptions have become the most important element in making baseball a fascinating game of uncertainties-- our national pastime. The story of the curveball is the story of the game itself. Some would say of life itself."

In mathematics a "curve" can be defined as a one-dimensional continuum of points in a space of two or more dimensions, such as a parabola. Another definition calls a curve a finite number of arcs combined together. The study of curves has been a frequent focus of mathematicians from ancient times to the present.

In baseball, the curveball is a deceptive pitch; one that does not come straight at the batter. Candy Cummings is enshrined in baseball's Hall of Fame as the originator of the curveball. But like other aspects of baseball's past there is an admixture of truth and myth about when the first curveball was thrown and who threw it. Nevertheless, the official point of view is that Cummings got the baseball to curve in 1864 and used the pitch in actual games in 1866.

On the other hand the existence of the "curveball" has been disputed. Life magazine in its September 15, 1941 issue examined high-speed photographs to document the claim that the curveball was really just a batter's eyes playing tricks. The curveball, Life pronounced was an "optical illusion." This opinion was repeated forty years later when the November 1982 issue of Science 82 magazine referred to the "apparent break in a curveball" as an "illusion."

However the laws of physics provide an explanation for the reality of the curveball. The swerve in a spinning ball is the result of something called the Magnus effect which causes the ball to accelerate both horizontally and vertically. The observed drop in a thrown baseball is a result of the combined effect of the Magnus force and good old gravity. It can be deceptive to the batter, but it is no illusion.

Connecting baseball's curveball with the study of curves by mathematicians is completed by pointing out that the shape of a curveball can be described by a parabola, one of the curves playing for the SWEEPLAND CURVEBALLS.





1999 Sweeptown Curveball Roster
Astroid

Firstbase
Cardioid

Catcher
Cartesian Oval

Secondbase
Cycloid

Thirdbase
Devil's Curve

Shortstop
Durer's Shell Curves

Leftfield
Epicycloid

Pitcher
Fermat's Spiral

Centerfield
Hyperbola

Pitcher
Involute of a Circle

Rightfield
Kappa Curve

Pitcher
Lituus

Infield
Parabola

Pitcher
Plateau Curves

Pitcher
Spiral of Archimedes

Pitcher
Talbot's Curve

Utility
Trifolium

Outfield
Witch of Agnesi

Utility
Alicia BooleStott
1860-1940

Field Manager
Nathaniel Bowditch
1773-1838

General Manager
Maria Agnesi
1718-1799

Team Owner
Home Park
Magnus Field
Seats: 3,141
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1999 Sweepland Curveballs- Official Team Roster
URL: http://www.cosmicbaseball.com/99scr.html
Published: December 18, 1998
Updated: July 1, 1999
Copyright © 1998-1999 by the Cosmic Baseball Association
email: editor@cosmicbaseball.com

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