James R. Schmidt, Jr., BSME, Collision Reconstruction Engineering Analyst
Using a high-resolution, to-scale aerial image of Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, an evaluation of the in-game third to home running speed of Phillies outfielder Roman Quinn was performed, as he raced home and scored the walk-off winning run against the Mets on a Bryce Harper single to right field on 8/14/20.
Readily available video footage from the game was analyzed, including breaking the footage apart and synchronizing two different camera views contained therein.
Roman Quinn rounds third and heads for home. When he gets to the edge of the grass surrounding home plate, he goes into a diving posture, then dives and sneaks his hand in, ahead of the tag.
From the video footage, an approximation of the wide path that he followed rounding third was made, and the distance from third base to the edge of the grass around home plate, where he went into his dive, was approximated at a little over 78 feet (78.4). The time it took him to go from point A to point B was measured from the video, frame by frame, at approximately 2.8 seconds. Speed is distance divided by time, so in this instance 78.4 feet divided by 2.8 seconds, equating to a speed of 28.0 feet per second (or 19.1 mph).
MLB’s Statcast lists Roman Quinn as the fastest player in the league, with a sprint speed of 30.3 feet per second (or 20.7 mph). So, either he wasn’t running at his top speed, or our speed estimation is a little low, which could be due to an underestimation of the wide path he followed rounding third from the limited footage. Assuming he was running at top speed, we have independently approximated his speed to within 1.6 mph of actual.
So, what does this have to do with Collision Reconstruction? It’s a down-to-earth example of how we go about approximating speed of objects involved in collisions, namely vehicles or pedestrians, from surveillance videos. Based on these results (and plenty of others you may have seen in previous writings), you can rest assured that when we approximate the speed of a vehicle from video, we are giving you a highly accurate value, typically within a couple miles per hour. The better the footage, the better the accuracy.
James R. Schmidt, Jr., BSME, Collision Reconstruction Engineering Analyst with DJS Associates, Inc., can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.