Schifman: Do shadows expand postseason play?

From Gerald Schifman at Baseball Prospectus on October 15, 2019:

Sunlight and shadows vividly adorned the Busch Stadium field before the start of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. The outfield and most of the infield were drenched in blinding sunshine for the 3:08 PM game. But with the sun descending over the horizon, the ballpark’s grandstands and lighting banks overhead cast dark shadows down onto the batter. The contrast between lightness and darkness prompted immediate discussion by the TBS announcing crew.

“You could already see the effects of the shadows creeping out over home plate,” play-by-play announcer Brian Anderson said as the first pitch was being thrown. “That’s going to be a story here, as you heard Curtis Granderson mention in the pre-game show.”

Both the Nationals and Cardinals starters mowed through the opposing lineups as the shadows and bright light shifted throughout the first three innings. Max Scherzer struck out six and didn’t allow a hit through the third, while Adam Wainwright struck out three and surrendered a Michael A. Taylor homer for the only run. The starters’ success lent credence to the assertion continually made by the broadcasters: that batters have a difficult time judging pitches when the path between the mound and plate is obscured by shadows, leading to less offense.

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Originally published: October 15, 2019. Last Updated: October 15, 2019.