Uhh, I’ve thrown a baseball that rose, although it was thrown from left field in the general direction of third base, and it wasn’t really on purpose.
I was playing left field in a high school American Legion game, and the batter hit a ground ball to me. The runner from first tried to go for third, so I picked up the ball, crow-hopped, and threw. The grass was still damp from a rain earlier in the day, and the ball squirted (for lack of a better word) out of my fingers. Most of my throws from that range probably wouldn’t have gone higher than 8 feet off the ground, and this one started just a little higher, but it was travelling a little slower, too. After the inning, the third baseman said he thought that the ball was going to be a little bit high, but it would be catchable. As the ball travelled, it curved up and to the right, and sailed about 15 to 20 feet over the third baseman’s head, and kept going up as it left the field, and then left the stadium. The angle of flight was certainly increasing as the ball curved up, slowly at first and at an increasing rate, which was confirmed by pretty much everyone that saw the play.
So, barring some X-Files-like conspiracy, it’s certainly possible for a human to spin a baseball enough to make it rise. I’d always thought that those pitchers that threw a rising fastball were simply able to harness the type of throw I’d made accidentally.
Also, I’m surprised to hear that there’s no such thing as a breaking pitch with late action (other than a knuckleball or a slider). After years of having described pitches by at least 3 separate and independent variables – how far they break, how hard they break, and how late they break – it seems sort of silly to think that we were just describing the same action all those times. It’s especially disturbing to think that everyone in the dugout (and the catcher) were essentially laboring under the same illusion.
Maybe this is similar to how 100 people can all see a UFO?