# What is a backup slider?

#21

I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw a picture of a local kid throwing a baseball where I thought the seams looked weird. I have a digital copy of the pic, if it’s possible somehow to share it here, let me know.

The gist was that it looked like a two seamer going sideways.

I thought it looked familiar, and I found the exact same depiction of a baseball rotation in the book The Physics of Baseball.

In that book, a slider is described as the white part of the ball being the dot as opposed to the seams. Some might say that if you see the red dot, what you’re really looking at is the spin described in the gyro ball articles as rifling spin, or the same spin that a football spiral would have.

So what this kid’s newspaper pic ball looked like was the slider described in the book only spinning in the opposite direction.

I later went out to a game and caught this pitch on video…

I think what is going on is that this pitch was a two seam fastball only released somewhat laterally so that the backspin is now on it’s side. The ball is thrown right down the middle, but backs away from the opposite hand hitter.

The movement is a little like a screwball.

Bottom line is that this lateral rotation is what the Physics of Baseball calls a slider. Since the rotation on this ball is in the opposite direction of the P.O.B.s slider illustration, I called it the back up slider.

pb

#22

These pitches are basically the same, all because of the way the pitcher grips the ball. A mental picture of what the pitcher sees is below.
He grips the ball while thinking of an automatic shifter on a car - D for drive, N for netural, and R for reverse. So he places his “shifting” finger (any finger) on the desired motion of the ball after release. If he, by mistake, keeps his finger on N, the ball goes no where and sticks to his hand.

But, by putting his finger on R, he releases the ball, the ball goes about five (5) feet in front of the plate, SHIFTS in reverse, BACKS UP a bit, the SHIFTS back into drive and crosses the plate. Is this neat or what !

Very few pitching coaches, like myself, have mastered teaching this technique. And with good reason. A pitcher sits down with me or a coach like me, we keep sampling Jack Daniel’s sour mash Tennessee gold, until both the pitcher and I can both say … Well I’ll be, I see it now!"

Great question Chew!

Coach B. :bsmeter:

#23

[quote=“PalmBeachPitching”]I’ve been thinking about this ever since I saw a picture of a local kid throwing a baseball where I thought the seams looked weird. I have a digital copy of the pic, if it’s possible somehow to share it here, let me know.

The gist was that it looked like a two seamer going sideways.

I thought it looked familiar, and I found the exact same depiction of a baseball rotation in the book The Physics of Baseball.

In that book, a slider is described as the white part of the ball being the dot as opposed to the seams. Some might say that if you see the red dot, what you’re really looking at is the spin described in the gyro ball articles as rifling spin, or the same spin that a football spiral would have.

So what this kid’s newspaper pic ball looked like was the slider described in the book only spinning in the opposite direction.

I later went out to a game and caught this pitch on video…

I think what is going on is that this pitch was a two seam fastball only released somewhat laterally so that the backspin is now on it’s side. The ball is thrown right down the middle, but backs away from the opposite hand hitter.

The movement is a little like a screwball.

Bottom line is that this lateral rotation is what the Physics of Baseball calls a slider. Since the rotation on this ball is in the opposite direction of the P.O.B.s slider illustration, I called it the back up slider.

pb[/quote]

I have the Physics of Baseball 2nd edition. Where did you find this section?

EDIT: Sorry for the thread hijack, I thought I clicked PM, not quote.

#24

Page 53. I can scan the relevant pages and email them to you if you’d like. On page 53, there are diagrams of 4baseballs showing the directional rotation corresponding to each different pitch. The slider is shown with a horizontal spin.

#25

Watching the Dodgers play Milwaukee and just heard the announcer use the term backup slider. I’m a boomer who knows baseball and pitcher for 8 years. Baseball is my religion. I belong to the Beloved Church of baseball.

The term backup slider is gobbledygook. We all know what a slider is, and we all know what backup means. A slider is a hard thrown curveball that moves right to left from a right hand pitcher. The word backup would infer that the ball is moving from left to right from from a right hander. There is a name for that pitch , it’s called a screwball. Some pitchers, if they have been blessed by the baseball gods, will have a fastball that tails from left to right or even a little up and to the right. It’s not something you can learn, it’s a gift. Still if you’re gifted with a tailing fastball you have thrown it with the first joint of your two fingers across the high seam in a four-seam grip. The raised seam is the last thing touching your finger joints as it comes out of your hand making the ball spin counterclockwise on its axis. As the seams spin into the air flow it creates high pressure on the side of the ball that is entering the Airstream, and low pressure on the area of the ball that is exiting the Airstream. That’s called lift. The ball will then move toward the low pressure. Curveballs and Sliders are spun the the other the opposite direction from tailing fast balls or screwballs They spend clockwise on their axis and we’ll move in the opposite direction. Since a slider is thrown with a clockwise rotation it can’t defy the laws of physics and move left right. So the point is calling a pitch a backup slider is complete BS. It’s like saying something is moving down in an upward manner. The words backup and slider in this case are contradictory. The announcer appears to have been distracted by a slow motion video of the ball for some stupid reason called it a backup slider when it was clearly a slider. we’re talkin about an 88 mile an hour pitch with a right to left brake thrown by a 95 to 98 mile an hour fastball pitcher that went from a ball just inside to a ball on the inside corner. That was a slider . The right-handed hitter was a bit out front of the pitch because of the speed difference but hammered it none-the-less into the left field corner. The count was 1 and 2, and he had not been thrown a breaking ball. My guess is he was looking for it.

#26

Okay, after all that I may have found where the word backup comes into play. If the slider is thrown inside with the intention of backing the hitter up but then breaks into the strike zone it can be called a backup slider. But I was a curveball pitcher and if I wanted to do that I would start a curveball way inside.

#27

Okay, after all that I may have found where the word backup comes into play. If the slider is thrown inside with the intention of backing to hit her up but then breaks into the strike zone it can be called a backup slider. But I was a curveball pitcher and if I wanted to do that I would start a curveball way inside. I saw I supposed example where Bob Gibson had thrown a breaking pitch for a strike that had fact The Hitter up. It just looks like a big nasty curveball to me and I’ve seen nasty curve balls used in just that fashion.