Back in 2007 Sports Illustrated that jumped on the climate change bandwagon with a cover mock up of a baseball player up to his thighs in water, because of sea level rise don’t you know. Now a new climate threat to baseball has been identified: More on-field brawls, and more home runs. I kid you not. From E&E Daily (subscription only unfortunately):
Climate change is affecting more than just polar caps and sea levels — it could also be changing baseball. . .
“When we’re in an agitated state, we’re more ready to see hostility and want to retaliate,” explained Rick Larrick, a professor with Duke University.
Moreover, different temperatures can also have an impact on the physics of the ball. According to Michael Mann, a climate scientist with Penn State’s Earth System Science Center, the critical factor is air density. Because hot days tend to be less dense than cold ones, this could mean that a ball might travel farther.
“If we change the density of the atmosphere near the surface of the Earth, that will influence the behavior of objects that are thrown or hit through the atmosphere. That of course includes baseballs. Lower density means less air resistance, which would mean balls would get hit farther,” he said.
When I think of the pace of modern baseball (someone quipped on Twitter last night during the Giants-Mets playoff game that “It’s like soccer, only with bats”), what’s not to like?