Dorian: Home run weather analysis

From SABR member Paul Dorian at Project Prospect on August 28, 2012:

It has long been contemplated that weather conditions have an effect on the distance a baseball can travel. More home runs are seemingly hit on hot days or on days with the wind blowing out.

Who can forget the many games at Wrigley Field that have featured numerous home runs as the wind raced out towards Waveland Avenue? Mike Schmidt cranked four home runs on just such a day at Wrigley Field in April of 1976. That game featured nine home runs and 34 total runs and a wind blowing out strongly ahead of a cold front. Not surprisingly, most of the games with four home runs hit by an individual player have occurred with temperatures of at least 80 degrees or with a strong wind blowing out. Conversely, most people would agree that fewer home runs are hit on cold days or with the wind blowing in. Candlestick Park in San Francisco frequently offered such weather.

The distance that a baseball travels is indeed impacted by atmospheric conditions. In general, the less dense the air is, the farther a baseball can travel. Hot air is less dense than cold air and higher altitude air is less dense than air at sea level. It is for this reason that so many home runs were hit in Colorado before the humidor was put into place. Humidity is crucial as well. Air with higher humidity is actually less dense than drier air. This may be contrary to perception and many baseball fans have no doubt heard baseball announcers incorrectly use the phrase “heavy humid air” on a hot summer night.

Utilizing sophisticated math and physics, meteorologists and software engineers at The SI Organization, Inc. have investigated this topic, which mixes science and baseball. And the results of their efforts are now available in a real time baseball weather application, Home Run Weather 2012. Developed for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, the app relates live temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, field orientation, wind direction, wind speed and the drag coefficient of a baseball to the user to determine if local weather conditions, for any big league park, are favorable for home runs being hit. Twenty-four hour forecasts are available in addition to live weather.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 29, 2012. Last Updated: August 29, 2012.