The shortest distance between two points is a line, most mathematicians will tell you. But researchers at Williams College have shown that upon hitting a potential double or a triple, baseball players would be wise to take a curved path.
Ballplayers intuitively know this, but the new study offers precise suggestions for the optimal angles to take, and it suggests that baserunners ought to start the cuve right off the bat, but most often they don't.By cutting off the corners, an average runner can round the bases 20 percent faster than one who might try taking a straight path from base to base, the new calculations show."If you hit that ball and you know you're going to go farther than first base, you shouldn't run straight for first base," said Frank Morgan, professor of mathematics at Williams College. "Right from the beginning, you should head to the right, 25 degrees off to toward the dugout, right from the base path to the outside. Don't wait. Do it right away."
The approach is within the rules for Major League Baseball, the researchers say.