Magnets. That is pretty much the only explanation I can come up with for this gif.
Indians shortstop Jose Ramirez has a super powerful magnet affixed to the back of his head and another inside his helmet and that’s how this physics-defying sequence happened.
“That thing does not obey the laws of physics at all.” pic.twitter.com/XyXLdfnbLU
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) May 10, 2016
This gif is simply incredible. At first, you laugh as you watch his helmet careen off his back, butt, calf and finally, the heel of his cleat. The force of the incidental kick is enough to elicit a chuckle as you watch the helmet fly off into space — presumably towards the outfield. Then, just a moment later, your eyes widen and your jaw hits the floor as the helmet improbably flies back into the screen, landing smack dab on Ramirez’s back.
I watched that gif play out probably 15 straight times, and I still can’t figure out how that helmet made its way all the back to Ramirez (other than magnets, of course). But a few Twitter physicists offered some more logical explanations.
@MLBGIFs yes it does. It has forward momentum, just like he does. It bounces up off his foot and continues in its forward vector.
— Aaron Crabtree (@aacrabtree) May 10, 2016
It appears to go backward when we see it relative to his movement. But it in fact goes forward relative to the base! https://t.co/WxVUUq8Qca
— Hank Green (@hankgreen) May 10, 2016
Green’s explanation actually makes sense. Ramirez is moving faster than the helmet, so it does not appear to be moving in the same direction, even though it is — just at a slower pace. As it turns out, we did not actually see a brief lapse in the natural order, our eyes simply betrayed us. Chalk one up for physics.