TROY: The science of baseball

Tommy Vessella isn't just a Tri-City ValleyCats pitcher. He's also a baseball physicist.

Vessella passed along his knowledge to a group of children attending Saturday's Physics of Baseball program at Troy's Children's Museum of Science and Technology.

Vessella " a kineseology major in college " and teammate Luis Pardo showed the children the different grips they use on the baseball and how those grips affect the ball's flight.

"When we had to sign up for player appearances, I jumped at this one," said Vessella, who wrote his senior paper on baseball physics. "Physics and baseball go along great."

The museum held several clinics before Vessella and Pardo arrived, including finding the sweet spot on a baseball bat and the bounciness of different balls. Each clinic was designed to teach the children how physics relates to baseball.

"You can sit them in a classroom, you can tell them everything and the words might get into them, but they won't understand until they get their hands on it," said museum educator Dawn Baldwin.

"We try to approach education as entertainment," added Laurie Miedema, the museum's director of member and guest relations. "This is just an example of what we do here."

Some of the physics lessons might have gone over the heads of the children, who ranged in age from 6 to 12, but they enjoyed participating in the activities.

"My little guy just wanted to learn how to throw a curve ball," said Mike Roizman of East Greenbush, who brought his two baseball-playing sons to the museum.

"They're baseball fans, and they want to have a fun time," added Delmar's Scott Tenenbaum, who brought his three sons. "We're all into baseball and science, so this was good for them."

Tenenbaum's oldest son Max enjoyed the baseball bat experiment, where each of the children got to swing at tennis balls aimed for the sweet spot on the barrel.

"When I get home, I'll probably get the hammer out and mark the sweet spot," said Max, who hit a couple of long fly balls.

This was the second year of the museum's "Physics of Baseball" program.""

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