How many times have you heard or read that pitchers get hurt because THROWING A BASEBALL OVERHAND IS NOT NATURAL? A hundred times? Hundreds of times? I have.
It's probably not true. Turns out we're all made to throw. According to a new scientific paper, anyway. We evolved to store energy and elasticity and throw objects much harder than other apes, even though we're not nearly as strong as them. When did it happen? Well, you could ask Bartolo Colon. Or you could read this thrilling article in The New York Times:
Looking at the fossil record, Dr. Roach and colleagues put the moment at which these changes came together in one body at about 1.8 million years ago, when Homo erectus first appeared. “It’s possible that Homo erectus could throw as fast as we do,” Dr. Roach said.
What objects he threw is an open question. The most likely are rocks or some sharp projectile in hunting, Dr. Roach said. Homo sapiens, the species that would eventually form both the American and National Leagues, did not appear until about 200,000 years ago, and did not evolve the intellectual power and wisdom to invent the rules of baseball until the 19th century.
Another scientist thinks those guys 1.8 million years ago didn't have broad enough shoulders to throw stuff 90 miles an hour; she thinks it wasn't until a few hundred thousand years ago. But either way it's been a while, and we lucky Homo sapiens are the only ones who can do it.
Stupid other apes. No wonder we perform experiments and stuff on them.
Meanwhile, that thing about throwing overhand being unnatural?
If it is so natural, then why do pitchers have such problems with their shoulders? “Not because throwing isn’t natural,” said Glenn Fleisig, research director of the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Ala., and a specialist in pitching mechanics.
“What’s not natural is throwing a hundred pitches from a mound every fifth day,” he said. “That amount of throwing at that intensity is not natural."
Stupid pitchers. No wonder we perform surgeries and stuff on them.