Three-wheelers can add pitching variety that a one-wheeler can never do. For instance, a one-wheel machine can only throw a straight fastball. On the other hand, a three-wheeler can use either the left or the right wheel to add some curve to the fastball and turn it into a slider. For instance, it can only use Aero-Strike balls – nothing else. There’re no speed adjustments – it’s locked at 20MPH. Only flyballs – no groundballs or even straight fastballs.
An oblique curveball (e.g., a “11-5” curveball)—the processing unit may control the two upper belts to cycle at a higher velocity than the bottom belt to generate a forward spin (also referred to as “top spin”) and also have one of the upper belts cycle at a slightly higher velocity than the other upper belt. This pitch type requires three different belt speeds, where a first top belt cycles a higher velocity than a second top belt, and the second top belt cycles at a higher velocity than the bottom belt. The ratio of the velocities of the two top belts may be adjusted such that the axis of rotation of the pitch is skewed from about 15° to about 45° relative to the vertical.
That’s all there is to the Franklin MLB – nothing shiny or fancy to point out. A sub-$50 machine is a rare breed these days, and Franklin MLB is one 2-seam fastball of them. Anyways, the Franklin MLB has a built-in feeder that holds up to 9 balls. So, you won’t have to worry about your kids hurting themselves.
As mentioned earlier, an unmet need in the prior art was to teach batters to focus on the ball as it is pitched, versus a light shining toward the batter as in prior art. Even when the ball is visible from a distance, it is not obvious to a hitter the exact time that ball will be thrown by a pitching machine. A localized light source at the ball’s exit, illuminating the face of the ball visible to the batter, provides a visual cue to the batter that the pitch is being thrown and drawing attention to the ball. Existing machines have warning lights to indicate an imminent pitch, but the design of the subject invention results in a benefit unanticipated by those skilled in the art, in that it allows the hitter to focus on the ball itself, not an indicator off to the side.
One sport in particular, diamond sports such as baseball and softball, have a type of machine generally referred to as a pitching machine. This pitching machine is a game ball throwing machine that is used to simulate the throw of a ball by a pitcher. These machines are typically used in batting practice but can also be used to simulate a pitched ball for a catcher or a hit ball from a batter to assist players in the field to work on various fundamentals. Typically, these pitching machines have conventionally required a person, such as another player or coach, to stand beside the machine and manually adjust the aim-point, velocity and amount and direction of curve or spin in various directions. This is time consuming, dangerous to the person operating the machine, and does not simulate the typical time required for a human pitcher to throw pitches of diffterent types in a game situation. This practice has evolved to the implementation of automatic ball pitch programmers.
CLift—coefficient of lift, a value used to calculate the ball’s acceleration perpendicular to its travel from spinning. Can be user adjusted to account for air density and ball condition. As an obvious variation to the disclosed novel invention, one can also add a feature to change the displayed units of velocity as selected by the user. The global pitching machine market is expected to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period due to their increased demand from clubs and schools. In addition, the optional frame with the full-sized catch net can be used for soft-toss drills or place anywhere on the field to catch incoming throws.
Once the calculation is performed, the control unit 104 may adjust the individual belt velocities according to the programmed velocity ratios corresponding to the selected pitch type. For example, if the operator selects a “straight fastball”, the control unit 104 may control the variable speed motors 114a and 114b to spin at a same speed that is slightly slower speed at which it directs the variable speed motor 114c to spin. Such a rotational velocity ratio between the motors 114a, 114b, and 114c will cause the two top belts 111a and 111b to have a slower linear velocity through the propulsion path 115 than the bottom belt 111c, resulting in the ball backspinning around a horizontal axis as it approaches the target.
The base 38 can be a base as known in the art that allows for height adjustment of the game ball feeder 10. The support frame 32 is designed to support and stabilize the various aspects of the game ball feeder 10 as are above the base 30. The support rod 36 can be attached at one or more ends of the support frame 32, whereby the support rod 36 can be end supported or cantilevered from the support frame 32 as desired.