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Thursday, September 24, 2020

How empty ballparks would have changed MLB history—and could alter games this October

A baseball hit at a typical home run trajectory travels farther in warmer air, physicist Alan Nathan has shown. A change in temperature of one degree Fahrenheit affects the distance of a batted ball by about four inches, which means a half-degree would matter for two inches, a quarter of a degree for one inch—and baseball, we all know, is a game of inches. In the biggest moments, it’s often a game of even less than that.

Would 2,500 space heaters running nonstop for 3 hours, 46 minutes and 13 seconds have a collective effect on air temperature in a partially enclosed outdoor stadium by one degree Fahrenheit? “It seems plausible to me,” Nathan tells us. “I can’t say that I know with any authori-”

Let’s stop you right there, Nathan. Plausible is enough for us. If humans’ bioenergy could power the machine city in The Matrix, we believe it can power a baseball. It’s an indirect power, not exactly propelling baseballs so much as freeing them to travel more easily through less dense air. And when David Freese hit a baseball to deep right field in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, we can believe that the 47,325 Cardinals fans weren’t just wishing that it would carry slightly beyond the reach of Nelson Cruz, but they were actually causing it.

All hail the fan. All hail the crowd.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 08:58 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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