Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Effects of Physics in Baseball

Last Monday my friends and I went to play basketball at the park. It was extremely humid outside. It made me into a horrible shooter. When playing in Efrat I can always hit the outside shot but Monday in New York I couldn’t hit any. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't hit any shots, until I realized that I was probably effected by the humidity. Being used to playing in the cool, windy and on the elevated hills of Efrat I guess made me suffer even more from the humidity.

Humidity weighs you down and the sun tires you out. In Israel the sun is very strong and in New York the humidity is ridiculous. I wonder if the Rockies have a hard time adjusting to New York weather also. Humidity weighs down your body and other objects and also messes with your vision. This could effect a baseball game very much. In a humid place the ball will drop faster because the ball will be denser. It will also make your arm tire faster because your arm is heavier and denser. All this together is a big deal and you can now understand why I played poorly while playing basketball in New York.

The Colorado Rockies have the ballpark most favorable to hitters in the MLB. Because of their high altitude the ball travels faster, drops sharper, travels further, flattens and unwinds. This means it’s harder to field, there are less foul balls(more balls in play), more homeruns and curveballs are basically ineffective at Coors Field. A ball hit 400 feet at Sea Level would travel 430 feet in Coors Field. This works the other way around in New Orleans since they are below Sea Level(everyone probably already knows that). The place with the highest altitude in North America is Mexico City and a ball hit 400 feet at Sea Level would travel 450 feet in Mexico City.

Why is any of this relevant to humidity? Because in 2005 the Colorado Rockies decided to experiment by putting all their baseballs in a humidor to make them more dense and therefore lessen the effects of Colorado’s high altitude. This works because, like I said above humidity weighs objects down so it would make sense for the Rockies to try this. Since 2006 the Rockies homerun totals are still favorable but have decreased heavily. I’m not sure about its other effects but Coors Field is still very much a hitter’s park.