Dear Major League Hitters: Curveballs Ailing You? We’ve Got the Cure!

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Texas Rangers' Cliff Lee pitches to the New York Yankees during Game 3 of their Major League Baseball playoff series in New York. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Dear Major League Sluggers: Sorry. This hasn’t been your year. In fact, it’s been dubbed the year of the pitcher (or was that 1963?). Anyways, NewsFeed is here to help. Call us your virtual batting coach.

With Major League Baseball now presumably removed from the ugliness of the Steroid Era, the 2010 regular season saw five no-hitters, two of which were perfect games and another that should have been (Armando Galarraga’s near-perfection ruined by a blown call). Then in the playoffs, another no-hitter was thrown by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay, only the second one in the postseason.

So, sluggers clearly need a little help.

NewsFeed’s bat boys have been researching the answer, and it turns out to be pretty simple: All you have to do is train your foveal vision not to switch to peripheral vision mid-pitch. Duh.

Oh, wait, you don’t understand? We’ll speak more slowly: According to a new report in the online science journal PLoS ONE, when you think a curveball is abruptly diving toward the plate just as it reaches you, it’s actually your brain switching from central (or foveal) vision to peripheral vision and back again. It’s a trick. A devious mental trick. The curve maintains a steady arc the entire time, but the switches in vision create confusion and distorts how you view the pitch.

So, here’s all you need to do (unless you’re with the Yankees, in which case spend your time here instead):

  1. Go here to see the weirdness happening in your mind.
  2. Train your vision not to switch to peripheral vision.
  3. Knock it out of the park.

Good luck, and you’re welcome.

A cut of your championship bonus would be nice. Or at least some box seats.