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Westchester Resident Shows Off 'Fastball' At Picture House

Jonathan Hock will be screening his new documentary "Fastball" at The Picture House in Pelham
Jonathan Hock will be screening his new documentary "Fastball" at The Picture House in Pelham Photo Credit: Picture House

PELHAM, N.Y. -- There are many stories behind a single baseball pitch.

That was the inspiration for Hastings resident Jonathan Hock's new documentary, "Fastball", which will having a screening and Q-n-A at the Picture House in Pelham as part of its Science On Screen series on May 15 at 4 p.m.

Hock's documentary, narrated by Kevin Costner, features interviews with major league hitters and pitchers and goes on into the science of what goes into throwing, seeing and hitting a 100 mph pitch.

"You can boil the whole game down to 396 milliseconds," Hock said. "There is a visual perception as it relates to hitting an object that moves that fast. The speed at which a 100 mph fastball moves is just about the limit of how fast the human eye can race ahead to the next spot where they think the ball is going to be."

Hock said a batter facing a pitcher throwing a fastball is the ultimate human performance on both sides.

"You're seeing the limits of human athletic performance of the pitcher and the batter," Hock said. "It's the only sport in the world where two athletes are competing against each other doing completely different tasks set in opposition to each other, both at the furthest level of human capability."

Looking at baseball like that gives the game an almost "mythic" feel for Hock. A real thrill for the lifelong baseball fan was getting to interview players like Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron and Derek Jeter. He said athletes were eager to open up.

"A lot of athletes don't like answering questions about what you think of the manager's move and should he be fired," Hock said. "But if you get them talking about what they do well, they will tell you about all these things you'd never hear them talking about. You get these fascinating, emotional stories."

Hock said Bob Gibson threw the toughest fastball, while he said Ryan's career is incredible and hard to believe. Aaron is his pick for best fastball hitter.

"They say it was easier to sneak a sunrise past a rooster than to sneak a fastball by Hank Aaron," Hock said.

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