Baseball and Weather

How Weather affects Baseball Games

Besides Rain or Snow being a factor on field conditions and possible game delays or cancellations, Weather has an important influence on how a baseball travels when it is hit. Air pressure, wind, temperature and humidity are important to note for games.

Air pressure: Air pressure depends on the elevation (Sea-Level) of a region and the current weather. Air pressure is usually the most important factor in determining how far a baseball will travel in the air when hit, all else being equal. At higher elevations, air has a lower density. When the air density is lower, baseballs can travel further. Air rubbing against a baseball produces a frictional force. The lower the air density, the smaller this frictional force becomes. Air density also changes depending on whether high pressure or low pressure weather is influencing the region.

Wind: Wind can either amplify or reduce the amount of friction the baseball experiences during flight. Air flowing toward the baseball in flight acts as a force to slow the forward motion. This slows the ball down and reduces its flight path. Wind flowing with the baseball helps it fly longer distances.

Temperature: When air warms, it expands. This warming and expansion lowers the density of the air. This produces longer flight distances, all else being basically equal. The hotter the weather, the greater the distance a ball will travel. At 95 degrees the air is 12 percent less dense than at 30 degrees. For example, if a home run travels 400 feet at 75 degrees, it would travel 408 feet at 95 degrees.

Humidity: At the same temperature, air with a higher dew-point will be less dense. At a higher humidity, baseballs will travel a little further, all else being equal.

Clouds: Yes, even clouds play a part in baseball games. On a day when it is cloudy or even partly cloudy, the batter see’s the ball differently when it leaves the pitchers hand than he does on a bright sunny day. When clouds are affecting the sunlight shining on the field from minute to minute, this causes a delay in the reaction time for a hitter and even-though this delay may be minor, it still has an effect.

Optimum weather for longer baseball hits: Sunny day, high stadium elevation, wind blowing out, warm humid air.

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