“A coach I played under in college always said, ‘You’re going to play your most important games in cold weather … He was wrong on this one.”
~ Dodger outfielder Andre Ethier
The first game of the 2017 World Series, here in Los Angeles, was the hottest World Series game played in the history of major league baseball. Not only did the Dodgers’ win make it so but when the first ball was pitched it was 103 degrees. Santa Ana winds roared across Southern California on the first day of the series, pushing temperatures to a record breaking 104! And then, by Game 6, the thermometer had dropped by 40 degrees. Thankfully at least the Dodgers remained hot! Exciting few days …
The impact of weather on a baseball game may not always be as immediately recognizable as a heavy storm causing a rain-out or a late October heat wave. As the MLB season spans three of the four meteorological seasons – spring, summer and fall –baseball players are on the field during many types of weather conditions. A player may sweat, shiver and face the wind; but, most likely, the ball’s response to the wiles of weather will be the game breaker. Weather dictates every aspect of our life, even sports.
A fly ball in April could turn home run in October. On a cool spring day, a batter launches a pitch deep towards the fence, only to have it fall into an outfielder’s glove. If the game is played on a hot autumn day, you could see a ball struck similarly, only this time the outfielder must position himself farther back as the ball carries farther than expected.
Air temperature changes a balls trajectory. Physicists conclude that with every 10 degrees increase the ball can travel 2.5 feet further. A few other baseball and weather-related factors: Cloud coverage can impede the ball’s visibility or a bright blue sky may affect depth perception. Humidity and sweaty hands can make the ball difficult to grip. Cold and slightly numb fingers may also hinder grip. Finally, depending on direction and velocity, wind adds another touch from Mother Nature.
The final game time and the CV Weekly deadline are the same, so the Dodgers’ fate is unknown as of press time. What about the upcoming weather? Our chance for rain has diminished to just a drizzle for the weekend. Come Tuesday, a warm-up and blue skies are predicted. Dodger blue?
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at email@example.com.