CHARLOTTE, N.C. (PINPOINT WEATHER) – There are many reasons to cheer at a Charlotte Knights game; some visitors immediately answered: “The food!”
Nachos and hotdogs were fan favorites.
Whether it’s delicious food or a dancing Homer, both are extra-base hits.
But sometimes, pure love for America’s pastime hits it out of the park.
“Just watching the game itself and watching all the players,” one fan said.
Others sit in the outfield trying to catch a homer, and science tells us that your chances to catch a ball in the stands are increasing.
In the last decade, warming temperatures attributed to 58 more home runs per season at MLB parks. With each additional degree of warming going into the future, that could add another 95 home runs per season.
How could that be, you ask?
Well, warmer air just lets that ball… fly!
Scientists at Dartmouth College found that since the 1960s, home runs have been increasing, and it can be directly related to increases in ballpark temperature and decreases in air density.
Colder air is dense, meaning it has more weight and more molecules to move aside, slowing down the ball. Warmer, more humid air is less dense, creating less drag on the ball, allowing it to fly out of the park.
“Look at video; talk about mental approach,” Cameron Seitzer is the hitting coach for the Charlotte Knights.
For him, batting practice includes both mental stamina and physical stance, regardless of fair or foul weather.
“It starts from the ground up,” he explained. “Suppose you don’t have a strong base, whether 50-50, 60-40, 50-50 on your feet, 60-40 on your back and on your front. If those aren’t strong, then it’s more out of sync when it comes to delivering the barrel.”
But when we told him the heat might be on in the batter’s box, “They might try to hit more home runs, that’s for sure,” he laughed, saying that offensive strategy wouldn’t change for his team.
If we keep hitting greenhouse gases out of the park, scientists predict 192 more home runs per year by 2050 and nearly 500 more by 2100.
The park with the biggest “W” in the batter’s box, thanks to scorching temperatures, was Wrigley Field. Researchers found that night games and domed stadiums could cool off the stats.
But “weather” or not, Seitzer says, “that’s what gets me excited to come to the ballpark every day, is hopefully getting somebody to click like that.”
It’s just about making contact… “play ball!”
To read the full study published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, click here.