Sockmonkey wrote:According to baseball rules, what does happen if the pitcher kills the batter with the ball? Do they just have a do-over or does the next guy in the linup take a base?
Well, the original analysis of the problem was posted in an extremely finite timescale, so I'll try to do the same with the ruling on the field.
We're going to make two quick assumptions. First, we're going to assume the pitch is on-target and whatever remnants of the ball remain will cross home plate in the dead center of the strike zone. We are going to, as this is an important distinction in the way the question was asked, assume that the ball remains whole so that it can be hit. Second, the batter is actually going to hit this sucker (again, part of the way the question was originally asked).
Zero time: Ball races outwards at .9c
t = 1ns (approximate): Ball creating plasma field, pitcher begins to disintegrate. Halfway through this disintegration, there would theoretically be a possibility for an injury timeout after the play. After the pitcher is disintegrated, the pitch would still be played, but play would halt to replace him.
t = 67ns (approxmiate): Ball reaches home plate and is struck by the bat. Our erstwhile batter is now ineligible for a hit-by-pitch under 608(b) because he has made contact with his bat. The ball is now considered to be in-play.
t = 67ns (approximate, but slightly later than the time the ball hits the bat): Batter disintegrated by nuclear fire. But because he hit the ball first, it will still be played. As the batter apparently can swing at and hit lightspeed projectiles, he may be super-human and immune to this firestorm. However, unless his bat is as well (and it can't be, it's a regulation MLB bat, made of wood), this timeline is not bothered by his survival.
t = 68ns (approximate): Catcher fails to catch ball as it whizzes through him at near-lightspeed. He disintegrates too. Play will definitely stop to deal with fatalities after the pitch is played out.
t = 69-73ns (approximate): Home plate umpire disintegrates, thus meaning that the pitch cannot be called a ball or strike. Thankfully, in this scenario, the bat made first contact. The failure of the catcher to contain the ball and the backwards motion of the ball make the current call foul ball (which is a call that, in the event that the home plate umpire doesn't have a good view, can be made by the other umpires)
t = 69-79ns (approximate, depends on depth infield playing at and umpire position): The other two umpires (and several infielders) disintegrate. With the departure of the final umpire from the field before any are able to react and actually make a call, this incident is now ruled a no-pitch. Play resumes at the discretion of the league.
t = 134ns (approximate, depends on the ballpark): Ball shoots through home plate backstop. If there was anywhere still alive to call it, the ball has clearly left the playing field and is out-of-play and foul. The play is now dead so that we can sort out all of this mess.
Note: The speed of the ball from the pitcher all the way to the batter is reckoned at .9c, using 3E8 m/s as the approximation for c. Under the circumstances asked in the question, I assume that the ball holds this speed from the pitcher's mound all the way to home plate (and that, paradoxically, any related events also propagate at .9c rather than c). Times are rounded to the nearest full nanosecond. I messed up a decimal point and screwed up my times, but I think they're fixed now.