Boulder baseball breakthrough?

Baseball season’s just around the corner, and a press release from Boulder’s RevFire Corp. is on the wires today, touting the RevFire training and evaluation tool for pitchers. The company’s patented system enables precise and reliable measurement of the spin rate of pitched softballs or baseballs.

Many baseball teams use radar guns to measure the speed of pitches. But until now there were no tools to measure spin. Strong spin is required to put ‘movement’ on a fastball or to throw effective curveballs, sliders, sinkers, or screwballs.

RevFire has developed a handheld monitor to precisely measure both the spin rate and speed of pitched balls. The monitor does not need to be pointed, and can be held by a coach or placed anywhere within 40 feet of the catcher.

The company’s $398 system relies on specially constructed leather-covered balls that are official size and weight with yarn-wound cores, but cannot be hit by a bat or used in games (presumably because that could damage the embedded chips inside). The RevFire balls cost $40 each and have black stitching to distinguish them from typical red-stitched game balls.

No word from the company on whether any of the pros are using the system at spring training camps, but a recent Northern Colorado Business Report article reports that Oklahoma State University has purchased the RevFire system for its softball team.

RevFire quotes Mike White, a member of the USA National Men’s Fastpitch Softball team as saying that he envisions spin rate measurements becoming “as common in judging pitchers in the future as MPH is today.”

RevFire founder and president David Marinelli is a former design engineer for AT&T Bell Labs and Ball Aerospace. He says that the highlight of his baseball career was pitching for his St. Linus grade school team in Dearborn Heights, Michigan “many years ago.”

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