According to a study by Roger Tobin, Tufts University physicist, the use of steroids by a Major League baseball slugger can easily result in significant improvements in terms of home run production along with modest enhancements in the bat-and-ball speed and muscle mass. It was remarked that the production of home runs can be enhanced by as much as 50 percent or more with the use of steroids.
“A change of only a few percent in the average speed of the batted ball, which can reasonably be expected from steroid use, is enough to increase home run production by at least 50 percent,” he says. This disproportionate effect arises because home runs are relatively rare events that occur on the “tail of the range distribution” of batted balls.
“In most any statistical distribution — of people’s heights, SAT scores, or how far baseballs are hit — there’s a large bump where most of the values fall, with the graph falling rapidly as you move away from that region in either direction toward the rarer values,” explains Tobin. “It’s a well-known statistical property of such distributions that a relatively small shift in the center point of the distribution can produce a much larger proportional change in the number of values well above or below the center. Because the distribution’s ‘tail’ is particularly sensitive to small changes in the peak and/or width, home run records can be more strongly affected by steroid use than other athletic accomplishments.”
Tobin was quick to acknowledge the fact that modern-day athletes achieve more than athletes of the past but this improved trend cannot be only due to cheating. He further remarked that Physics is unable to determine whether or not a specific home run is assisted by steroid nor can it indicate if an extraordinary performance is all about the use of steroids. But Physics and Physiology can reveal some untold truths about the use of steroids and improved home run production.
The findings of this study are expected to be of utmost importance as the game of baseball has often been troubled by accusation of steroids.
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