San Francisco Giants broadcaster Mike Kurkow once said to the author Amaury Pi Gonzalez about the effects of the weather changes “Let’s see which way the wind is blowing.” In this photo it rains at Oracle Park and climate change has been playing a part in baseball. (photo from shutterstruck.com file)
Study Says Climate Change is Affecting Baseball?
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
A study by Associate Professor of Economics Eric Fesselmeyer found that Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires call pitches less accurately in uncomfortable temperatures, with a performance at its worst in extreme heat conditions. Dartmouth researchers analyzed more than 100,000 major league games between 1962 and 2019 and found about 1 % of recent home runs can be linked to global warming.
It has always been like that, a game in very hot and humid weather will make it uncomfortable for the umpires, players, and even fans, but that is not Breaking News. (More on this towards the end of this article).
Dartmouth is an Ivy League school in New Hampshire ranked sixth most expensive in the US, at $76,480 per year. However, those who follow baseball for years always knew that weather affects baseball more than any other sport.
Universities are centers for learning, but sometimes they do studies like this when we all know that baseball is as much ruled by weather as, for example, there are rain-outs in baseball and not in Football, we all understand that windy conditions make the ball travel further or much less on a field with little or no wind.
If you visited Chicago, especially Wrigley Field, before games the pitchers scheduled to pitch that day or night, are always curious for watching which way the wind is blowing. If it is blowing from home plate to the outfield, pitchers know they might have a tough day, but if it is blowing the other way, it could be a good day for pitching.
Back in the 1990s when I was broadcasting Giants baseball and traveling with the team, I remember one trip to Wrigley Field. On that trip I remember Mike Krukow telling me “Let’s see which way the wind is blowing”, although he was not pitching, doing TV commentary, he always told me he checked the wind, earlier in his career when he pitched for the Cubs and later when he visited and pitched for the Giants.
Baseball parks are all different; they all have different dimensions (unlike most other sports where the field is exactly the same dimension). In Yankee Stadium more than likely you will have a stronger wind blowing to right-center field, but when you go to Seattle or other teams with retractable roofs or permanent roofs, hitting is affected.
You do not need to go to Dartmouth to know that humidity makes the air less dense and a ball will go farther on a humid day than it will on a dry day, so you can save that $76,000. At the Oakland Coliseum is never easy to hit a home run during a night game; however, the first week of this 2023 season a couple of cold nights with lots of wind carried what usually are regular fly balls for outs, to go over the fence for home runs.
If you watch baseball for years, you come to understand that is a unique game that is affected not only by the weather but by many other factors including by the clock beginning this season.
Baseball and Weather Quote: “There are three things you can do in a baseball game, you can win, or you can lose,or it can rain: -Casey Stengel.
Nothing to do with Climate Change: Since the average game, this season is down 31 minutes, MLB teams are now experimenting with extended alcohol sales as game time shortens due to the pitch clock. These teams have extended alcohol sales through the eighth inning: Arizona, Texas, Minnesota, and Milwaukee.