Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

What a 97 mph fastball looks like coming at your head (video)

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You’ve heard it all before. There’s nothing harder in sports than hitting a pitched baseball. Golfers don’t want to believe it because of how long it takes them to learn to hit from the rough. Football players roll their eyes because of the beating they take on a play-to-play basis, just to gain an inch on a 100-yard field. And have you ever tried to save a Shea Weber slapshot?

And yet, watching this video, it becomes a bit clearer as to why hitting a pitched baseball is the epitome of athletic excellence.

Feel free to watch all the way through, but specifically keep an eye (if possible) on that second throw out of the pitcher’s hand. The ball is moving so fast that the batter doesn’t even have time to move. Perhaps he could sense the ball would be high out of the zone but not close enough to harm him. After all, he has probably seen thousands of pitchers thrown his way. But he still fails to even move, let alone attempt to hit it.

To hit a 97 mph fastball, a hitter must start his swinging action well before the pitch gets to him. In fact, the entire motion must start before the pitch is even released from the mound. It’s a scary thing for non-baseball people to witness just how fast the ball gets on top of the batter.

After watching this clip once or twice or 30 times, I have a much better appreciation of how hard it is to do that pinnacle of sports successes: putting the bat on the ball.

And maybe I’ll lay off Jason Heyward next time he strikes out too. After all, he could barely see the ball!

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Tags: Baseball Hitting MLB