Allen: Astrophysicist baseball aficionado expounds on MLB blisters

From Jim Allen at Kyodo News on August 16, 2018, with mention of SABR members Meredith Wills and Alan Nathan:

On June 6, Shohei Ohtani was sidelined with yet another blister, and because of a baseball- and knitting-loving astrophysicist, we now understand more about why Ohtani’s blister developed.

Although a shock to his many fans, Ohtani’s injury represented just another data point in an increasingly frequent problem. Since 2016 more and more major league pitchers have been dealing with blisters on their pitching hands, but what was different about Ohtani’s was not the nature of the injury, but its timing.

Only hours before he was forced from the mound at Angels Stadium, someone at last had an answer for the blisters.

Enter Dr. Meredith Wills, an astrophysicist who had made a career of studying the cause of solar storms. Major League Baseball believed its ball had not changed, but Wills discovered the laces on current balls were thicker, and the likely cause of the surge in both home runs and blisters.

“In all my years in astrophysics, I never made a scientific splash like this. It’s slightly overwhelming,” she told Kyodo News soon after her research became a hot topic among baseball fans.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 16, 2018. Last Updated: August 16, 2018.