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‘Climate Change’ Responsible For Increase In Home Runs, Dartmouth Study Claims

‘Climate Change’ Responsible For Increase In Home Runs, Dartmouth Study Claims

Is there anything ‘Climate Change’ can’t do?

Climate crisis claims have managed to target nearly every aspect of American life from the cars we drive to the food we eat.

But a special team of geniuses at Dartmouth decided to make claims about home runs that completely strike out if reasoning and clear-minded analysis are applied.

Over 500 home runs in Major League Baseball since 2010 can be attributed to climate change, a new study that has attracted widespread media attention claims.

The study claimed that the upward trend in home runs in professional baseball is owed in part to rising temperatures making air less dense and allowing baseballs to travel farther when hit. Scientists acknowledged, however, that there are other factors as well to account for the increased amount of home runs in baseball.

It predicted that rising temperatures could end up accounting for 10% of all home runs that will occur this century, provided climate change solutions aren’t implemented.

The assertions are supposedly based on “physics.”

When air heats up, molecules move faster and away from each other, making the air less dense. Baseballs launched off a bat go farther through thinner air because there’s less resistance to slow the ball. Just a little bit farther can mean the difference between a homer and a flyout, said Alan Nathan, a University of Illinois physicist who wasn’t part of the Dartmouth study.

Nathan, one of a group of scientists who has consulted with Major League Baseball on the increase in homers, did his own simple calculation, based purely on known physics of ballistics and air density as it changes with temperature, and said he got the same result as the Dartmouth researchers.

Both Nathan and the Dartmouth team found a 1% increase in home run likelihood with every degree the air warms (1.8% with each degree Celsius). Total yearly average of warming-aided homers is only 1% of all home runs hit, the Dartmouth researchers calculated.

However, there are many complex factors that impact the strength with which a baseball is hit and how fast it flies.

The human factor cannot be ignored. It is an inconvenient truth.

After the 2019 All Star Game, two more discerning scientists (Brian J. Love and Michael L. Burns, University of Michigan) looked at the explosion in the number of home runs.

Their results were . . . different.

Baseball surfaces were smoother.

A 2016 investigation conducted by FiveThirtyEight found that official baseballs were bouncier and less air resistant beginning in 2015.

Using X-ray imaging, FiveThirtyEight’s study compared balls made prior to 2015 with those produced after. It found an average 40% decrease in core density in baseballs produced after 2015. Compositional analyses identified roughly 7% more rubber and 10% less silicon in the later pills. These changes correspond to lower pill mass and increased bounce.

Nearly two years after the FiveThirtyEight investigation, Major League Baseball released its own 84-page report acknowledging there were aerodynamic changes in the baseball – specifically, the balls were smoother. But the league claimed this wasn’t due to any changes in the way Rawlings was making the ball. MLB suggested that it was likely due to slight variations in the materials used by Rawlings, along with the way the balls were being stored.

For example, since Rawlings acquires its leather – and doesn’t process it at its facilities – it’s possible that an alternative tanning process could result in even smoother leather surfaces. Baseballs with smoother surfaces will, once hit, move through the air more easily. It’s a minor change, but it matters.

Baseball players are reviewing videos and determining how to be more effective. As a result, hitters are now focused on “launch angles.”

In recent years, they’ve started to focus on what are called “launch angles.” The launch angle is the vertical angle at which the ball leaves a player’s bat after being struck. Due to advances in analytics, it’s become common knowledge that players have a much better chance of hitting a home run if the launch angle is between 25 and 35 degrees and the ball bounces off their bat at a velocity of more than 100 miles per hour.

With such defined criteria for hitting home runs, it is no surprise that many hitters are tweaking their swings accordingly. So while pitchers aren’t throwing harder, the new focus on launch angles could be contributing to the recent home run surge.

It took me about 15 minutes of research to find some preliminary information on the complex factors associated with successful home run hitting.

I also asked for some input from a real climate scientist, Dr. Matthew Wielicki. This is his response:

Seems pretty linear to me since 1920. I suspect it’s much more to do with strength and equipment than temperature. Plus there are way more night games now than before since many stadiums didn’t have lights back then. So likely the avg temp is down from the 1920s.

The Dartmouth analysis is based on models and projections, rather than observable evidence that the other scientists offered. I assert real data trumps computer-generated numbers.

This entire media-driven drama leads me to several disturbing conclusions. The lead author of the study is a doctoral student in climate modeling and impacts at Dartmouth. If this is the quality of research that is promoted at this level, then the area of American exceptionalism in science is nearing a sad end.

Furthermore, the American media rapidly promoted this story with no challenge. As I have noted before, this country is suffering from a dearth of serious news coverage, especially in the sciences. We have also suffered for the last three years from the lack of real professional journalists who are willing to ask an array of scientific experts for alternative explanations and then present their answers.

That’s okay, though. As Tucker Carlson noted during his interview with Professor Jacobson . . . Legal Insurrection does real journalism.

I guess when it comes to science news, I will have to step up to the plate, then.


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Answer: It can’t fix stupid.

    Ghostrider in reply to LB1901. | April 9, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Not exactly. It will only be a matter of time before the Democrats introduce new legislation to tax “excess home runs” caused by climate-induced productivity, which increased the salaries of players hitting them.

One variable that seems to be overlooked is Reynold’s Number, which is a ratio of surface area to relative air density. Higher ratio means more surface area and more drag.
The baseball has a Reynold’s number so low that PEDs have a bigger effect than aerodynamics.

    DaveGinOly in reply to scooterjay. | April 8, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    Also, MLB is wrong about “smoother” equals “faster.” Some rough surfaces can lower drag (the skin of a shark, for example).

      henrybowman in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 8, 2023 at 10:33 pm

      And the famous example: the golf ball.

      Arminius in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 8, 2023 at 10:57 pm

      Except a shark’s skin is actually very smooth with the grain; i.e. nose to tail. In other words it’s smooth in the direction in which a shark swims. It’s only rough against the grain which might be a problem if sharks swam backward.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Arminius. | April 9, 2023 at 6:06 am

        But the shark doesn’t swim backwards, and it’s skin feels like sandpaper no matter which way it’s stroked. It is not smooth.

      Stuytown in reply to DaveGinOly. | April 9, 2023 at 3:14 am

      Scratches on a surface and golf dimples, as Henry points out, create “turbulence,” which lowers drag.

Wow. Why can’t climate change increase my chances of winning the lottery!? C’mon . . . Is there someone I can contact at Dartmouth?

    Milhouse in reply to Q. | April 9, 2023 at 1:19 am

    It would have to increase everyone’s chance of winning the lottery, so it wouldn’t do you much good 🙂

To paraphrase another well-known blogging law professor:

“Climate change. Is there anything it can’t do?”

The proper way to do this research is to determine the air temperature at the time every home run was hit over the last several decades. Even if the average temperature of the earth has increased over this timescale, that does not mean that the HRs were hit at times when the the temperature at the park actually average higher than at the time HRs were hit in previous years.

This study is just smoke and mirrors, and no “study” at all. It’s a theory that the “researchers” didn’t bother to prove (or, more importantly, disprove, which is the way science works).

The woke corruption invading science has destroyed any trust of institutional science.

The stupidity of this theory – even for these corrupt lunatics – is a topper. Extrapolate their idiotic theory, and every track and field record ever broken was due to “global warming”. So is every record touchdown pass, so is every record soccer fieldgoal, so is every rocket speed.

The names of these of these people should be remembered and they should be shunned.

I’m confused. How do rising temperatures cause steroids?

JackinSilverSpring | April 8, 2023 at 9:59 pm

Climate change must be responsible for the increasing lunacy at American universities.

If this nonsense were true, would teams in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, very warm islands where baseball is very popular, have higher HR averages?

    Stuytown in reply to fscarn. | April 9, 2023 at 3:16 am

    Yes, unless it doesn’t. In those locations, global warming might be contributing to something that lowers batting success. It’s just how global warming works.

“‘Climate Change’ Responsible For Increase In Home Runs, Dartmouth Study Claims”

That does it! We must immediately stop fighting climate change!
But no matter… Global Vaxxing will bring the numbers back down soon enough.

If, in fact, the ball has less air resistance, doesn’t that imply that pitches will have less movement and be easier to hit? That by itself could explain differences in hitting. If the ball was changed in 2015 surely a statistical analysis of the last 7+ years would be revealing.

The ball and how it is handled has changed far more during baseball’s history. The famed “dead ball” era from 1900-1919 killed hitting, and once the spongy baseball was replaced with a harder one it made Babe Ruth a star.

Modern professional baseball practice replaces baseballs frequently, often several times an inning, whereas in the past baseballs were played until, basically, they were destroyed. Such deformed baseballs were the bane of hitters.

“You are correct that NOAA global temperature since 2015 through 2022 show a relatively flat trend in global temperatures, with little net warming during this period,” ChatGPT admitted.

Clearly, more government funded research is needed. More pointy head Volvo wagon driving profs need grants. Those suede elbow jackets don’t buy themselves.

    kjon in reply to Romey. | April 9, 2023 at 8:31 am

    Of course the research must be totally unpaid volunteer work due to the significance of the research.

If the authors had spent 5 minutes researching instead of generating a model guaranteed to prove their prior belief, they would have found their conclusion to be on shaky grounds. As Roger Pielke Jr has pointed out, although the number of MBL home runs has increased, the number of homers in AAA baseball, college baseball and Japanese baseball has stayed the same or even decreased. My guess, which is probably on firmer grounds than their research study, is that the number of home runs in the Major Leagues has increased because of a change in batter’s strategy which now dictates that stronger hitters should try to hit home runs with an upper cut swing rather hit a line drive with a level swing.

RedWrangler | April 9, 2023 at 8:03 am

Excellent observation regarding night games. A quick online search shows that night games make up about 60% of Major League Baseball games today. Night games were first popularized in the mid-1930’s as a way to expand baseballs audience during the depression. A few teams held out on installing night lights until 1948, with one exception: An interesting control group for any hypothesis would be the Cubs, who played very, very few home night games at home until 1988.

E Howard Hunt | April 9, 2023 at 8:12 am

This is ridiculous. Everyone knows that the increase in home runs is due to racism. The period in question perfectly coincides with the new woke agenda. The ball, being white, symbolizes the white hierarchy. Black players are swinging harder at it to fight white oppression, and white players are swinging harder in hopes of annihilating themselves over their white privilege.

Now there is an oxymoron. Geniuses at Dartmouth. HA!

amatuerwrangler | April 9, 2023 at 9:40 am

And then there is…. Denver. There is little dispute that air is “thinner” at higher altitude. If the density of the air is a significant, or any, contributor to HRs, then a compilation of HRs hit in the Denver stadium (at approx 5000 ft) to see how that compared to ball parks at more conventional altitudes might produce some useful information. Similar comparisons could be made between coastal ballparks and, say, Phoenix (with its patented “dry heat”). Between just Denver and Phoenix much could be learned about the ball’s behavior in less dense air.

This will end up in the same trash bin as footballs full of Helium being responsible for Ray Guy’s hang-time.

    MosesZD in reply to amatuerwrangler. | April 9, 2023 at 7:56 pm

    Coors Field has an exceptionally large outfield and they put the balls in a humidifier to lower the coefficient of rebound to help keep the balls from flying out like rockets. It’s helped somewhat, but it’s still a hitter’s park.

I was watching a news clip and they were talking about the Oroville reservoir needing to release water to make room for snow melt run-off. The spokesman for the reservoir made a comment about climate change and the “extremes” climate is going through due to “climate change.” Yet, the snow pack was still not a record breaker and the current record was over 30 years ago! Which means, the snowfall is still within the statistical variations. Also, just 2 years ago, they continued to talk about global warming. “Researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego say warming will likely hit coastal mountain ranges like the Cascades much harder than their northern inland neighbors.” LOL. The climate change religion just doesn’t have any credibility.

This is wha we get from our institutions of “higher” learning.

Baseball has gone, over the past decade, a hitting revolution. More and more hitters are increasing their launch angles which result in more HRs. But because fly balls, if they’re not homeruns, have lowest BABIP (batting average on balls in play) averages have dropped.

There has also been some monkey business with the mfg of baseballs which has juiced the ball.

healthguyfsu | April 10, 2023 at 1:23 am

I believe the real phenomenon you are referring to, Leslie, can be deemed the “censorship of skepticism”. Critical analysis is key to refining and improving science. Absent that, science is just pseudoscience and might as well be Scientology for the masses.