Springer: The future of ballparks in a climate crisis

From Stephanie Springer at The Hardball Times on August 7, 2019:

The climate crisis — more specifically, the extreme heat it will cause — is going to be an issue throughout the U.S. over the coming years and decades. For the nation’s favorite summer pastime, the effects of climate change could be particularly pronounced.

The heat and extreme precipitation events that have already arisen over recent years haven’t gone unnoticed in baseball, and heatwaves and rain delays always inspire thoughts on the relationship between baseball and weather. We talk about fan comfort during games as the weather changes —  something each of us can relate on own individual level. We talk about how the heat and humidity affect play — the way the ball moves, not to mention the composition of the ball (and bat), which wick moisture from the air. We also talk about how the heat affects players — hydration is extremely important to a player’s health, possibly affecting injury risk. To some extent, these discussions implicitly acknowledge that something must be done to return the game to the pre-climate crisis times, to continue to make baseball comfortable and familiar for fans and players.

We need to zoom out a bit, though, and consider not only how the players and the game will adapt to climate change, but how the stadium can adapt. It’s not just about keeping fans comfortable through deadly heat — it’s about the effects of devastating fires and extreme precipitation on stadiums and communities. And it’s not just the frequency of these precipitation events, but the severity which must be considered.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-future-of-ballparks-in-a-climate-crisis/

Originally published: August 7, 2019. Last Updated: August 7, 2019.