Thursday, August 11, 2011

Life's Unexpected Lessons

Life’s Unexpected Lessons

I could never understand what the announcers were talking about.  “It’s a hot, humid night – the balls’ll be flying out of here” always brought to mind Greenwich Village, not home runs.  It just made no sense to me that the thick, oppressive, heavy – close – air of a humid night would help a baseball get outta the park.  “No way,” thought I, “that thick goo has to slow down the ball.  The announcers are dopes. . . .”

But this morning, on my 50-mile drive from home to the office, I had the first cool-weather motorcycle ride of the season.  Temps were in the upper fifties, no humidity – pretty much your perfect example of a beautiful day.

And I felt like I was getting slugged.

I couldn’t understand how the weather reports could have screwed up; there was a lot of wind, and I just knew we’d have a storm.  Except that at every stop light, I’d notice there was no wind.  Flags hung limply.


I paid a lot more attention on my drive, and I’ve now concluded that cold, dry air won’t just "knock down" a well-struck baseball, leading to a loud out.
  It’ll knock over an elephantine Mule riding his bike. . . .


Mister Parker said...

I happen to have my autographed copy of The Physics of Baseball by Robert Adair sitting here in the office.

He says, "Temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity also affect the flight of a ball. The canonical 400 foot home run will go about 6 feet farther for a one-inch reduction in the barometer and as much as 20 feet farther on a hot 95 degree July day in Milwaukee than on a cold 45 degree April day. The effect of temperature differences on the elasticity of the ball will also have an effect on the distance a batted ball travels."

How about that!

"Humidity per se has little effect on the flight of the ball. Indeed, since water vapor is a little lighter than air, if all other factors are the same, a ball will travel farther, if the air is exceptionally humid -- but only by a few inches. ..."

But, as they say, it's a game of inches.

So there. You do indeed travel farther, faster, Mister Muleboy on a hot, humid day than you do on a cool, dry day.

Juvenile Buffoon said...

Nuthin' fancy, just strenth against strenth...