Climate craziness of the week – global warming blamed for increase In Major League home runs

“…thinner air” cited by sports broadcaster

Scene from live broadcast - click for video


From DeadSpin’s Timothy Burke:

Tim McCarver Blames Global Warming For The Increase In Major League Home Runs

We’d normally save this sort of thing for McCarve’d Up (which will be back next week after being pre-empted for NFL draft coverage) but Tim McCarver said one of the stupidest things ever spoken on a television broadcast today, blaming global warming for “making the air thin” and thus leading to a rise in home runs.

Climate change, or in McCarver’s words “climactic change,” is the culprit (and not, say, steroids, the age of which McCarver insists is over). Global warming is a real thing (climate change deniers are already giving McCarver a beatdown online) but the theory it’s led to increased major league offensive production is one of the most insane things ever asserted by a professional broadcaster. And this man is in the Hall of Fame! [Fox]

h/t to WUWT reader Eric Neilsen

=================================================================

Former MLB player and broadcaster Tim McCarver…Image from Wikipedia

Former MLB player and broadcaster Tim McCarver...

Too many balls to the head?

UPDATE: It gets dumber. MLB has blocked the video on YouTube citing copyright violations…except that under fair use exceptions to the copyright law, criticism of boneheadedness is allowed, especially when using short snippets like this video clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSRwnY3eHKU&feature=player_embedded

And these two incidents, combined with exorbitant prices to support exorbitant salaries, are why I don’t go to baseball games anymore. The great American pastime has lost its mojo.

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120 thoughts on “Climate craziness of the week – global warming blamed for increase In Major League home runs

  1. Well it is funny how anti global warmists are called crackpots and alarmists, so it will be interesting to see what the scientific GW community have to say about this non peer reviewed published statement….

  2. I suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry .

  3. Yes but lets not forget that baseball players also think a purely US based competition is somehow a World Series, so comments about ‘thin air from climate change’ shouldn’t come as too big a suprise. /sarc

    (At least when we have a World Series Cricket competition we actually invite around 14 different countries to compete).

  4. Tim McCarver is one of those dumb, ex-jock sportscasters, that, when you hear them on the radio you tune to another station hoping to find a deodorant commercial.

  5. In the NFL passing us up nearly 60 yards per game since 2003:

    “How the NFL Put a Fork in Defense” (WSJ, April 26th) by Kevin Clark

    Two major sports – two data points. Statistics don’t lie, so it must be true. The air is more buoyant. Put Tim McCarver right up there with the other “climate scientists” who know of what they speak. Or maybe not so much.

  6. It’s proof of falling sea levels.

    Its well known in cricket that balls go farther at higher altitude where the air is thinner. Falling sea levels will increase the altitude and thin the air.

  7. Mike Busby says:
    April 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    Yes but lets not forget that baseball players also think a purely US based competition is somehow a World Series, so comments about ‘thin air from climate change’ shouldn’t come as too big a suprise. /sarc
    (At least when we have a World Series Cricket competition we actually invite around 14 different countries to compete)

    In hopes of fielding two complete teams?

    Yeah, I know, I’m going to hell for that,,,

  8. @John F. Hultquist. As the air is more buoyant, aircraft will be able to use less fuel in their flights., but precipitation will be inhibited. Overall, is buoyant air a positive or negative feedback?

  9. This explains a lot, especially the improvements in athletics. We now know that Usain Bolt’s 100m and 200m world records were climate assisted.

    TC

  10. Why, as time goes by it seems to be getting easier to pull theories out of thin air, which proves air is getting thinner indeed, does not it?

  11. Maybe we should just consider ourselves lucky that the King of Baseball Trivia hasn’t yet charted out home runs per ppm CO2 or ACE, along with all he rest of his irrelevant correlations. Sad to say McCarver can really almost ruin a baseball game by insisting on revealing to us his endless nonsensical correlations, and I’m a loyal St.Louis Cardinal fan! [McCarver was a Catcher for St.L. back in the day, and the story the great Bob Gibson told on this same 'climate change' broadcast about the first time he met Willie Mays is still quite funny: until he met Gibson off the field at his home in San Franciso, Mays didn't know that Gibson always wore glasses so that he could see well enough to function normally...except when Gibson was pitching! According to Gibson, Willie was pretty well shook!]

  12. Yep, steroids are long gone, except for those who are poor & ignorant.
    It’s HGH, Aranesp & other biosynthetics now.

  13. OK, deniers, but what else can explain Baltimore’s 13-8 record, Washington at 14-7 and Pujols’ .226 average? Something weird is in the air.

  14. davidmhoffer says:

    “It is indeed rare that someone says something so stupid that mocking them just seems pointless.”

    Sounds just like a reference to Joe Biden.☺

  15. Graphite says:
    April 29, 2012 at 12:14 am
    “OK, deniers, but what else can explain Baltimore’s 13-8 record, Washington at 14-7 and Pujols’ .226 average? Something weird is in the air.”

    The increased CO2 content clearly enables faster oxygen release in muscle tissue, as hemoglobin is sensitive to the higher acidity caused by the CO2. It has nothing to do with thinner air. ;-)

  16. Take it down to Tim McCarver’s level.
    How can increasing the amount of gas in the atmosphere make the air “thinner”?

  17. So far looks like no one has posted it so here is the list of things caused by global warming / co2.

    http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

    There is a correlation between global warming and the decreased use of steroids in baseball. Oh heck, how about all sports, that’s why the Olympic committee has done away with drugs testing. Silly me.

  18. pat says:

    “I suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry .”{

    Sorry Pat — moist air is less dense than dry air at any temperature.

  19. DirkH says:
    April 29, 2012 at 1:24 am
    It has nothing to do with thinner air. ;-)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Well, obviously not. It’s far greater than that. As anyone who’s followed the O’s since the mid ’90s will tell you, baseballing events of the past three weeks or so have been so astonishing that they may well presage the end of days.

  20. Does “climactic change” mean the end of the ‘No Hitter’? Times were different in the past when pitchers would achieve No Hitters.

  21. “…(At least when we have a World Series Cricket competition we actually invite around 14 different countries to compete)…”

    Eh, I think a very large number of countries are represented by players in MLB…currently 17, I believe, from 5 continents.

  22. Has Tim done a study with leagues in Japan, Cuba, etc? How does he know this isn’t just regional? lol

  23. Well that just proves that statistics is no more meaningful with respect to that children’s sand lot game, than it is to weather and climate; and surprisingly, in both fields, grown men actually watch and write down those numbers as if they actually relate to something meaningful.

    Well they aren’t likely to change the name of the whirled series any time soon; but I understand there is a move in the NFL to change the name of that game to “Please don’t kick the ball !”

    Aussie rules fans would all fall aslepp during an NFL spectacle.

  24. Warmer weather in the spring could lead to more home runs. For those of you who have tried to hit a baseball (or golf ball, or whatever) you know how much it can sting when it is cold out. In addition, players will tend to stiffen up more in cooler weather.

    However, warmer weather in mid summer could lead to more exhaustion and lessen the ability to focus. This would likely lead to fewer home runs.

    I don’t think it’s crazy to say that weather extremes could lead to changes in player performance.

  25. Usually (I said “usually”) when Timmy talks baseball he’s fairly knowledgeable. On any other topic he’s a real dunce.

    Perhaps he should listen more to Gibson, who regularly told him when he would come out to the mound, to get the hell behind the plate and shut up.

  26. While the concept of “GW” may be dubious, we were certainly in the warming portion of the 60 yr weather cycle from ~’75-’05 when HR production was up. Many factors contributed to that: new, smaller parks, lighter bats in use, bigger players, etc. But both theoretical considerations & empirical evidence show that a baseball can be hit significantly farther in warmer, drier, thinner air than in cooler, more humid, thicker air. (Pitched balls don’t break nearly as much either.) Cf: “The Physics of Baseball,” RK Adair,PhD. Pitchers hate playing in Denver. Hitters love it.

    Another good McCarver story: in a tight spot in a WS game, McCarver called time to go out to give advice to Gibson. Gibson came toward him scowling and yelled at McCarver, “Get back behind the plate. The only thing you know about pitching is that you can’t hit it!”

  27. Paradoxically, there may be some truth in what he says. Consider the tortoise, it has one of the most efficient wind resistance coefficients in the animal kingdom, it is just built for speed. And yet it is known for its slowness.
    Surely an animal that evolved for speed in a thick soupy atmosphere tells us that something has changed, the air has gotten thinner.
    And a quick check of the historical records tells us that at one point , in the late aesopolithic, the tortoise was often recorded as being faster than a hare

  28. He’s obviously very confused. The only place the air is thinner is at higher altitudes, due to the lower air pressure. I guess he thinks that the some 75 ppm that C02 has risen the past 50 years has made the air “thinner”, by displacing oxygen. Come to think of it, as I’ve gotten older, I have noticed that with physical exertion I become out of breath more easily. Perhaps he’s onto something.

  29. Increased home runs probably have nothing to do with building new ballparks with shorter distances to fences. What is known is that when Fenway Park built the sky boxes on top of the stadium behind home plate it changed the wind patterns and home runs at that park decreased.

  30. Someone should tell Albert Pujols. ;->
    (A home run hitter with zero home runs, earning $12,000,000/season.)

  31. I would have thought, with global warming’s widely known profound effect on trees, that it would be the wooden bats that have changed to allow more home runs. Seems to me that the thinner air would also mean faster fast balls thus cancelling out the effect on hit balls. Has there been a corresponding increase in pitch speed and strike-outs as well?
    Also, we know that the air in a baseball park would obviously have a higher concentration of CO2 because of all the beer. That should mean that the temperature at ball parks would be elevated relative to the surrounding area – I’m going to call this the Beer Heat Island Effect. By closely monitoring BHIE at baseball parks, we’ll be able to see the immediate future effects of higher concentrations f CO2. I’m going to need a grant that includes budgeting for tickets (I’ll need to set up my temperature station somewhere along the 1st baseline), two kosher hotdogs with kraut, a bag of peanuts and, of course, a large test sample of the local beer (unless it’s Busch, this World and everybody in it will burn to a crisp before I drin…. um, test Busch)

  32. Tim McCarver apparently doesn’t know baseball.

    It was noted some years ago at Coors field that balls kept in a humidor did not fly as far. Dry balls fly farther. Over time other clubs learned this and now use this as a means of increasing excitement at games.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13057

    For the first seven seasons at Coors, there were 3.20 home runs hit per gamecompared to 1.93 per Rockies away game. However, beginning in 2002 the Colorado Rockies began to store their baseballs in a humidor at a constant 50 percent relative humidity and 700F, as opposed to the more typical 30 percent humidity in Denver. During the period from 2002-2010 the Coors ratio decreased to 2.39, a reduction of 25 percent, while the away game ratio stayed constant at 1.86. Is it plausible that the reduction in home runs can be attributed to the humidor? The primary goal of this article is to answer that question.

  33. Mythbusters confirmed dry balls fly farther

    http://mythbustersresults.com/episode83

    A dry baseball can be hit farther than a ball stored in a humid environment.
    confirmed

    The Build Team started off with a small scale test by dropping dry and humid balls from a certain height. The results showed that the dry balls tended to bounce higher than the humid balls. For the full scale test, the Grant built his own rig (dubbed “The Mad Batter”) that could both swing the bat and pitch the ball at the same time. They then tested the rig at a baseball field using humid balls, dry balls, and control balls stored in a normal environment. The results showed definitively that the dry balls were hit the farthest distance and the humid balls being hit the least distance.

  34. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100925&content_id=15079018&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

    Humidor once again under scrutiny
    By Thomas Harding / MLB.com | 09/26/10 1:53 AM ET

    DENVER — Accusations that the Rockies have uncorked a dastardly plot to slip juiced baseballs into games at Coors Field when they need a lift have bubbled to the level that Major League Baseball became officially involved by having umpires monitor baseballs closely after they leave the storing chamber.

  35. It would help if you showed how much the change in air density as it varies with temperature COULD affect the trajectory of a baseball hit at a constant force. Increases in temperature do change the air density, which in turn changes the distance the ball will fly. But how much? Yards? Inches? (For comparative purposes it would be interesting to see how changes in humidity also affect distance.) But please, more science and less sarcasm. I don’t believe in CAGW, but lets prove it not spoof it.

  36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coors_Field

    In its first decade, the above-average number of home runs earned Coors Field a reputation as the most hitter-friendly park in Major League Baseball, earning the critical nicknames “Coors Canaveral”[10] (a reference to Cape Canaveral, from where NASA launches spacecraft) and “Williamsport” (referring to the site of the Little League World Series). Prior to the 2002 baseball season, studies determined that it was more the dry air rather than thin air which contributed to the more frequent home runs. It was found that baseballs stored in drier air are harder and therefore more elastic to the impact of the bat.

  37. @pat
    “I (don’t?)suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry …”

    Umm… there seems to be some discussion as to whether the ball would fly further or shorter.

    But never mind. Everyone knows that Global Warming can make things both hotter and colder at the same time. So I have no trouble believing that it’s responsible for any unusual run of recent records. Or any run of poor performance. Or even any run of perfectly average performances….

  38. High scoring games are more fun to watch. Viewer ship should go up. So is he saying he’s for it or against it?

  39. He may have earned his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame by using a club (though he got in ahead of some more deserving athletes), but I can assure you that NO ONE will have to stand in line behind this neanderthal to get into MENSA!

  40. Even with its wheels falling off, the AGW bandwagon rumbles on, given a needed push at choice spots by famous talking heads of the mainstream media.

    The source of McCarver’s revelation remains open for speculation: brain spasm or cue card?

  41. pat says April 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm:

    I suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry .

    ???

    shorten the distance

    Do I understand correctly the implication is ostensibly due to “increased atmospheric density”?

    Not a pilot?

    What considerations for load and take-off ‘roll’ does a pilot make for: a) hot, humid day vs b) just a hot day?

    Article: Correcting Density Altitude for Humidity

    There is nothing in any aircraft manual on how to correct for humidity when calculating density altitude. The formulas all assume 0% humidity. We know that humidity is almost always much higher than that, and that it decreases the density of the air.

    Ballooning website with interactive air density calculators: How to Calculate Air Density with and w/o humidity

    Book: Rotorcraft Flying Handbook

    Moisture (Humidity)

    The water content of the air also changes air density because water vapor weighs less than dry air.

    Is there some other factor (not accounted for) that would yield a ‘shorter distance’ (outside of air density), since air density does decrease with increasing humidity?

    .

  42. I am SHOCKED! SHOCKED, I say! By the lack of compassion showed here. You people should be ashamed of yourselves!

    You are ridiculing a person who is differentially enabled. It is not his fault! I expect that he went to public schools and was taught by Democrats! No wonder he would say something like that.

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)
    Hey guys, IT’S A JOKE!

  43. Actually, a warm, moist airmass is less dense than a cold, dry airmass. Water vapor is lighter than air, having an atomic weight of only 18 vs.29 for the air. So adding water vapor to the air reduces the average atomic weight. Otherwise, clouds would sink to the ground vs. rise up into the atmosphere. Cold, dry air offers more resistance to a baseball, reducing its flight.

    However, the theory that GW is resulting in increased home runs is quite ridiculous. In addition, the globe has been cooling for the past 10 years, not warming. Not to mention that adding CO2 does nothing to increase surface temps.

  44. biff33 says:
    April 29, 2012 at 4:39 am

    It is possible — is it not? — that McCarver was joking.
    Possibly. Maybe he’ll even try to claim that, with all the guff he’s been getting about it. That would be a bit anti-climactic.

  45. biff33 says:
    April 29, 2012 at 4:39 am
    It is possible — is it not? — that McCarver was joking.

    It has become so commonplace for the news to run stories about “global warming causes X”, that whenever someone talks about something with no apparent cause, global warming is thrown out as the joke answer.

    Woke up with a pain – must be global warming. The dog is barking – must be global warming. Car is running rough – must be global warming. Crime up – must be global warming.

    See how useful this is as a technique to explain the unexplained?

    In Oz they got rid of weather forecasters because it was discovered that simply forecasting yesterday’s weather today was more accurate than weather forecasts. The same with global warming. We can get rid of all scientists except climate scientists, once we realize that whatever is happening is a result of global warming.

  46. I seem to recall 15ish years ago the league started wrapping the ball differently. Why? They wanted bigger, better hits for the fans. I’m guessing that has more to do with the number of home runs hit today than AGW does but I could be wrong so will need to study this in more depth. Please send grant money!

  47. A higher density altitude will give a curveball less aerodynamic lift, making it a bit easier to hit.
    This might be offset by the denser grass growth due to the higher CO2, making grounders slow down.
    If the hit relies on backspin to generate extra aerodyniamic lift, higher density altitude would be a negative influence.
    Probably too many variables for Carver to keep in his head.

    I expect that sweat on the ball has more effect on the game than density altitude.

  48. Old quote …
    The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. Albert Einstein

    Off topic RE: the degree symbol … °

    For PC users = ° … as in 15°C

  49. Damn .. something went missing because I typed the ° instructions in brackets
    ° = alt + 2, 4, 8

  50. Philip Bradley says:
    April 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm
    It’s proof of falling sea levels.

    Its well known in cricket that balls go farther at higher altitude where the air is thinner. Falling sea levels will increase the altitude and thin the air.
    ————————————-
    no “sarc”?

  51. Don’t ever ask McCarver “How stupid can you be?”
    Evidently he takes that as a challenge.

  52. When I read McCarver’s statement I felt like Earl Weaver in the following clip (warning: very foul language). As a matter of fact, I’m sure many of the partisans in the AGW debate have at various times felt the same way.

  53. goldie says:
    April 29, 2012 at 1:55 am
    Can this guy chew and walk at the same time?

    ~Apparently not at sea-level, Goldie.

    However he Would have a hard time doing both at the top of Rocky Mountain National Park- 12,005 feet. There’s just not enough oxygen to do both. I should know, I tried it. Don’t work too well :P

  54. Can any present or ex artillery, sniper types step into the discussion here for real world experience in atmospheric effects trajectory and distance.

  55. My take is that he believes “the warming is allowing more home runs”.
    Plot home runs as related to temperature and humidity in the stadium.
    It won’t prove “global warming” but it might show more home runs on hot and humid days.

  56. Isn’t Tim McCarver the baseball analyst who sees cause and effect where none exists? When on the air, he is biologically incapable of remaining silent for more than 10 seconds. Someday I expect him to claim a batter swung and missed because his socks were too tight. The next time you’re watching a game with Tim as the color analyst, pay attention to his inane characterizations of what is happening on the field.

  57. Clive says:
    April 29, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Damn .. something went missing because I typed the ° instructions in brackets
    ° = alt + 2, 4, 8

    32 ° F = 0 ° C = 273.15 K

    Using the numeric keypad that works here;using the numbers on the main keyboard not so much …

    (Dell GX270 w/Dell PS2 keyboard and Win Xp SP3)

    .

  58. Could it be that the umps have squeezed the strike zone to boost fan interest much the same as the NFL has put an end to pass rushing?

  59. I just read the snopes in detail. The faster one admits s/he screwed up, the faster the taste of crow goes away. There goes another boyhood myth factoid down the drain

  60. _Jim says:
    April 29, 2012 at 6:15 am
    What considerations for load and take-off ‘roll’ does a pilot make for: a) hot, humid day vs b) just a hot day?

    Don’t forget the in-flight corrections — your true airspeed (TAS) will be higher than your actual groundspeed due to the pressure differential. Less critical in flight than during takeoff or landing, because your stall speed will be higher in hot-humid conditions.

    Not a good idea to judge your approach speed visually when the temperature and dew point are getting within “three degrees of separation”…

  61. We will be back in a minute after this message from our global warming sponsor…

  62. Chris… Cold, dry air offers more resistance to a baseball, reducing its flight.

    I don’t have a problem with your explanation of what you said concerning density but I did stumble on the above sentence. I’m not disagreeing that the lower density of air (which accompanies the increased water vapour and higher temperature of air) doesn’t promote longer flight due to the inverse relationship between drag and air density….but by only looking at just this one aspect, it ignores several other important factors. For one, the viscosity of the air actually is reduced at lower temperatures. For another, the ball has greater buoyancy in the higher density air. Both of these factors should actually promote an increased distance, no?

    I think the difficulty with understanding how things really react is that it is very difficult to look at a specific aspect in isolation i.e. the elasticity of the ball (and the bat for that matter) both change with temperature as does the control of the pitcher’s hands and the stiffness of the batter’s hands to name just a few. This essentially needs a totally controlled test that would eliminate or equalize all the factors in order to just look at the specific factor of what the difference in air does to the flight of the ball. This would mean setting up a machine that could launch a ball at a specific angle and speed (say 15 degrees at 95 mph) on an absolutely windless day. The ball for use in the machine would have to come from a controlled storage where it was kept at specific temperature and humidity. The test would first be done for the low density case of high temperature and high humidity. Then the test would have to be done for the high density case of low temperature and low humidity….. If all the factors were equalized such that the only difference is temperature and humidity, I suspect that the low temperature low density conditions will be the one that gives the furthest distance. My guess is that it is the other factors that make for more home runs in warm weather that have nothing to do with the air……but I’ll also be the first to suggest that such a controlled test could prove me wrong because there was some other factor at play here other than the ones mentioned.

  63. As with claims about climate change, it’s always useful to look at the actual statistics.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/bat.shtml

    National League
    year HR/game
    2012 0.81
    2011 0.88
    2010 0.93
    2009 0.96
    2008 1.01
    2007 1.04
    2006 1.10

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/bat.shtml

    Americal League
    year HR/game
    2012 1.10
    2011 1.00
    2010 0.97
    2009 1.13
    2008 1.00
    2007 0.99
    2006 1.12

    So obviously, Naltional League cities are cooling while American League cities have the same temeprature as in 2006.

    Does UEA give honorary degrees?

  64. nc says:
    April 29, 2012 at 8:19 am
    Can any present or ex artillery, sniper types step into the discussion here for real world experience in atmospheric effects trajectory and distance.

    Yes. Artillery accuracy (from a surveyed point) depends on such esoteric variables as the temperature of the stored propellant, prevailing winds, free air temperature, altitude of of the projectile’s flight, barometric pressure, ambient temperature, relative humidity, and the curvature of the Earth, all of which will affect range and time of flight, which in turn, affects projectile drift.

    Then, after you’ve made all the necessary computations and plugged in the corrections (actually, a computer takes care of that these days), normal dispersion steps in and you miss hitting the pickle barrel by ten feet. But since the bursting radius is fifty meters or greater, you still turn it into splinters…

  65. Let me be more blunt: any ballplayer, including me who continued playing league ball until age 61, will tell you that you can hit a ball farther in warm weather than in cold and farther at higher elevation than at lower– considerably farther, like 50 feet, not just a few inches.

  66. Perhaps the climate induced shortage of Bulgarian prostitutes has enabled the players to concentrate more on their training?

  67. The ball always seemed to carry better for me when it was hot and humid out. I don’t have a model to tell me what to think, only my observations :)

  68. Smells like another limousine liberal. Him and his algoric ilk know what’s best for everyone else not for themselves though, they’re wealthy jet-setters.
    “Hurrumph! I wonder how large is the maid’s carbon footprint?”

  69. pat:

    I suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry .

    This is only true if there is no spin on the ball.

    Batters try and get “under the ball”, generating back spin. This actually produces lift, and you get more lift in warm, moist air than in dry, cool air, exactly because of the increased viscosity, and this results in a longer flight trajectory than for with “no spin”. (Hence there are more homers in the hot summer months than in say April, at least in outdoor stadiums.)

    This goes under the moniker of the Magnus effect. (The illustration at WIKI shows the example for a ball moving with “forward spin”, which applies to e.g., “sinkers”, and is drawn in the framework of the ball being stationary and the air moving around it, which might be a bit confusing at first. A normally thrown ball has back spin, resulting in a visible “hop”, assuming the thrower has any throwing arm at all).

  70. As a lifelong Cardinal fan and WUWT follower I heard the remark from Mccarver. I immediately remembered that he was a catcher. Catchers equiptment in the baseball community is known as “the tools of ignorance”. Only the ignorant play the position. Even if you’re not ignorant when you put on the equipment a few foul balls or 50 foot curve balls quickly knocks the good sense out of you.

  71. WRT Carrick. I remember Ted Williams always talking about swinging up.
    And I can’t help but show this link if the moderator doesn’t mind.

  72. Bill Tuttle says:
    April 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Don’t forget the in-flight corrections — your true airspeed (TAS) will be higher than your actual groundspeed due to the pressure differential. Less critical in flight than during takeoff or landing,

    Recall, from your atmospheric studies, balloon/rawinsonde ‘soundings’ (Skew-T diagrams/plots etc) and personal observations during SLF experience aboard commercial airliners even that above ~ 10,000 ft (this can vary) you’ve got dry air (note this is where fair-weather puffy cumulus ‘terminate’ during their rise from ground-based thermals) … so unless you’re limited on flight ceiling RH at cruise altitude is not so much a factor for TAS …

    .

  73. Carrick says April 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm:

    Batters try and get “under the ball”, generating back spin. This actually produces lift, and you get more lift in warm, moist air than in dry, cool air, exactly because of the increased viscosity …

    I will have to exception to, and challenge this last assertion on the basis of previously cited characteristics of ‘moist’ humid air (higher RH air, which is less dense) vs dry (lower RH) air (at the same temperature) which possesses a higher density. The ‘spin’ does effectively what the extra length on an airfoil does; providing for increased ‘velocity’ (ball wrt to air) above the ball and hence reduced pressure above the ball; per the Bernoulli principle, allowing the net ‘pressure’ exerted on the bottom of the ball to force the ball upward (this we term ‘lift’). For the same reason that some aircraft must recalculate an acceptable minimum speed for take-off (for higher than normal humidities) to achieve a necessary lift figure, I contend that the ‘lift’ of a baseball hit with back-spin would also be reduced on a ‘humid’ day.

    Other factors which were cited above such as the environment the baseballs are stored in (I would call it an ‘environmental soak’ wherein the leather and other ball materials either absorb or release moisture that affects the impact characteristics of said ball when in contact with the bat) before use per ‘experiment and observation’ provided by the Mythbuster crew provides compelling insight into a very important factor affecting the distance a baseball may be hit.

    “Curve of a Baseball”: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/pber.html

    Airfoil and lift: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_(force)

    .

  74. On a less encouraging note, I’m pretty sure that Climate Change is responsible for the marked decline in the number of young ladies I have scored with over the last thirty-five years.

  75. Jim, the Magnus effect depends on the skin thickness around the baseball. The larger the skin thickness, the greater the effect. The skin thickness is a function of the viscosity of the atmosphere and increases with increasing absolute humidity. For a relatively slow moving ballistic object like a baseball, I think the extra lift you get from Bernouli’s effect will outweigh the increased drag on the object.

    The lift on a jet plane’s wing (including commercial jet airliners) isn’t primarily from the Bernouli effect, but from the angle of attack of the wing (supersonic-capable jet fighter wings cross sections are nearly symmetric for example). If you rely on asymmetric wing shape for lift, you get too much drag at high speed.

    For a propelled object like an airplane that relies on momentum transfer generating lift, the thicker skin depth is just a drag term, and since it doesn’t contribute to the plane’s lift, I can see how it would require a larger net force for takeoff. I don’t have a reference that says humidity affects the take-off speed though. Do you have one?

    I agree of course there are a lot of other facts that are at play besides humidity and temperature in how far a baseball will travel, given an initial set of conditions (e.g., velocity and spin vectors).

  76. DirkH says: “The increased CO2 content clearly enables faster oxygen release in muscle tissue, as hemoglobin is sensitive to the higher acidity caused by the CO2. It has nothing to do with thinner air. ”

    Aha. That explains the many times I’ve seen guys sitting in the dugout, inhaling CO2 from a compressed gas cylinder. : ]

    BTW, I think McCarver was trying to be funny.

  77. Alvin W:

    I remember Ted Williams always talking about swinging up

    No doubt the angle that the ball leaves the bat affects its trajectory too, lol.

    I was just considering places where humidity (and other state variables of the atmosphere) affect the trajectory of the baseball, given an initial velocity vector. I doubt humidity has any direct effect on the angle that the bat is swung at for example. :-P

  78. Yeah. The players juicing it up has NOTHING to do with it. Right……

    Wow. I thought Tim was smarter than that. Guess I was wrong.

  79. Kind of answering my own question to Jim. Here’s the FAA manual covering the relevant part. See in particular the discussion of “density elevation” versus “pressure elevation”, some interesting content there.

    It mentions that water vapor, being less dense that dry air, will decrease the density of the air, hence the airfoils will produce less lift. Since warmer air can hold more moisture (before it precepts) a higher temperature with the same RH will have a lower density. But the effect is very minor.

    There’s a calculator here that let’s you play with this.

    Some numbers (Temperature in °C, density dry air and density saturated air in kg/m3, and % difference, assuming P = 1000 hPa ≈ 1 atmosphere).

    T rho_dry rho_moist %diff
    0 1.2753 1.2724 -0.2%
    5 1.2524 1.2484 -0.3%
    10 1.2303 1.2247 -0.5%
    15 1.209 1.2013 -0.6%
    20 1.1883 1.178 -0.9%
    25 1.1684 1.1546 -1.2%
    30 1.1491 1.131 -1.6%

    Quite obviously, even in high temperature environments, the effect of moisture on lift (via angle of attack anyway) is very small, and much less important than the air temperature in determining how much lift you get (e.g., the “density elevation” discussed in the FAA manual.]

    It would be interesting to look at effect of temperature on airframe drag via the change in viscosity for moist versus dry air. Fun stuff.

  80. _Jim says:
    April 29, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    @me: Recall, from your atmospheric studies, balloon/rawinsonde ‘soundings’ (Skew-T diagrams/plots etc) and personal observations during SLF experience aboard commercial airliners even that above ~ 10,000 ft (this can vary) you’ve got dry air (note this is where fair-weather puffy cumulus ‘terminate’ during their rise from ground-based thermals) … so unless you’re limited on flight ceiling RH at cruise altitude is not so much a factor for TAS …

    Generally speaking, that’s true for altitudes greater than 10,000′ MSL (above mean sea level), unless you’re doing mountain flying — it can get pretty humid in river valleys with bases at 13,000′ MSL; above 13,500, not so much. Most of my flying is at altitudes below 1,500′ above ground level (AGL), and the difference in power requirements between hot-dry and hot-humid is usually less than 3%, but if you’re operating at a high power setting to begin with, that extra 3% requirement can be a show-stopper.

  81. Well, if the improvements in the players are due to AGW and not the coaches and trainers, then those people, and their expensive salaries can be fired.

    But since we all know that is wrong, the coaches and trainers should instead be encouraged to sue Tim McCarver for defamation of character.

  82. On the stupid sports statement front, a blast from the past.
    So Bum Phillips was only partially right. It wasn’t helium, it had to be the global warming running amok when Ray Guy was punting for the Raiders. For those who may not know, Bum Phillips, coach of the NFL’s Houston Oilers in the 70’s, accused Ray Guy, punter extraordinaire, of filling footballs with helium to get the massive hang time and distance he, Guy, attained throughout his career. Phillips even sent a football he retained from a game against the Oakland Raiders to Rice University to have it tested and the results were naturally negative. He should have blamed global warming, except at the time we were headed for another Ice Age. Well, according to all the peer-reviewed work, and the authorative Time magazine..

  83. So what’s wrong with this? The previous warm period in the US was in the 1930s, and that was when Jimmie Foxx would have shattered Babe Ruth’s home run record, but for some netting installed that robbed him of 9 home runs.


  84. Deion must have been just trying to cool McCarver off what with the global warming and all.

    Mike Busby says:
    April 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    Yes but lets not forget that baseball players also think a purely US based competition is somehow a World Series,
    ———————————————-
    Never mind that Canada too fields a major league team is there a particular baseball team in the myriad other countries that play baseball that could challenge the MLB WORLD Series champion?

  85. Most of you must not be baseball fans. Tim McCarver has been saying stupid things for years. On the subject of baseball. Why would anyone think it surprising for him to say something stupid about climate change? For anyone who has listened to McCarver broadcasting a baseball game, a statement like this is to be expected and given as much attention as it deserves – none.

  86. An actual reply defending this silly assertion:

    Climate Stories…

    Tim McCarver Isn’t Crazy:

    The Home Run And Global Warming Connection. It may seem counterintuitive, but as moisture levels go up, as humidity and dew point rises, air density drops, and (yes) a ball can travel farther through the air, all other things being equal.

    Meteorologist Jason Samenow at The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang has more:

    “Over the weekend, baseball announcer Tim McCarver became the source of ridicule when he blamed global warming as a reason for the increase in home run totals in recent years. But it was the criticism of McCarver rather than McCarver’s comment that was over the top. “There have been climactic changes over the last 50 years in the world, and I think that’s one of the reasons that balls are carrying much better now than I remember,” McCarver said.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/tim-mccarver-may-not-be-crazy-the-home-run-and-global-warming-connection/2012/04/30/gIQA1hI1rT_blog.html

    Deadspin called McCarver’s statement “one of the most insane things ever asserted by a professional broadcaster.”

    Graph – Homeruns vs global temps

    Graph credit above: “Temperatures compared to a 1951-1980 baseline since 1880 and the average home runs per team per game since 1880. (Temperature data from NASA GISS; home run data from Baseball-Reference.com ).”
    </blockquote.

  87. pat says:
    April 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I suppose that I need tell anyone with an education that a warm, moisture laden atmosphere would actually shorten the distance of a baseball given equal bat launching energy and trajectory as opposed to cold and dry .

    OReilly? H2O is lighter than O2 and N2, whereas CO2 is heavier. “Thinning” would mostly result from warming — or altitude. Pitchers hate tossing in Colorado; the balls curve less and get hit farther.

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