The distance from the mound to home plate was tinkered with in the 1800s, but it hasn't moved in over a century, because we may have reached the limits of human ability. While it's true that more and more pitchers are pitching in the triple digits, the record for the fastest pitch hasn't moved much at all. The current record goes to Aroldis Chapman, at 105 mph, but when accounting for difference in measurement styles, the record may actually belong to Nolan Ryan in 1974, with his calculated 108 mph, or even Bob Feller, with an estimated 107 mph way the hell back in 1946.
Major League Baseball
That's apparently the speed at which batters begin to swing like drunken cartoon characters.
Scientists who love baseball almost as much as they love defiling corpses tested cadaver elbows to varying degrees of strain to see what they could take. They found that about 100 Nm (Newton meters) of rotational force is enough to break an average cadaver's ulnar collateral ligament. The torque on an elbow throwing one of those record fastballs? About 100 Nm.
On the batter's side, 60.5 feet is also the minimum reaction distance needed for a human to hit one of those fastballs. Researchers have found the minimum reaction time for most humans in a simple computer game appears to be somewhere around 260 milliseconds. A 100 mph fastball takes about 400 ms to get to home plate. Take away the 150 ms it takes to swing the bat, and you're right in the window for cutting-edge human performance. Technically, there is no impossible fastball -- at least, until we finally pull our heads out of the sand and switch all players out with robots, as God intended.
Science On Fiction
Look at how awesome it would be if they could fire eye lasers at incoming pitches!
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