Home Runs & Hole-in-One
Reported December 2006
DENVER (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Although baseball season is over, and players are taking a break from training, statisticians are in high gear, calculating who had the league's best batting statistics. Researchers at University of Northern Colorado now know for certain just where balls fly farther.
Sports fans suspect it. Pros know it. Now mathematics confirms it. Balls hit at Denver's Coors Field carry farther than in any other stadium in the country.
"We now actually have statistical data supporting this theory of a 'Coors Field Effect,'" Jay Schaffer, Ph.D., a statistician at University Northern Colorado in Greeley, tells Ivanhoe.
They scored big with their latest findings: proof balls fly farther in thin air. That's because the air has fewer air molecules that normally would slow the ball down.
At Coors Field, the purple seats are one mile high. The Rockies' number of homeruns is often thought to be inflated by the Coors Field Effect. Sure enough, research confirms a homerun that travels 400 feet in Miami, in Denver would travel 420 feet, and in Mexico City, 430 feet.
But the batter's advantage is the outfielder's disadvantage.
"You already got this pre-conceived notion that the ball is going to carry so well, so they don't hit it that good," says Colorado Rockies' Brad Hawpe. "You are already breaking back, so you are going to miss the ball then."
This impacts more than just a batter's swing.
"At sea level, it's two clubs for me," says amateur golfer Katrina Steadle. "So, in Vail, I would be hitting a seven iron, and at sea level, I am probably hitting a five iron. It is a big difference." ...But for golfers, their balls are flying high.
Due to the lack of humidity in Colorado, the Colorado Rockies' baseballs are placed in a humidor to keep them from drying out. The moisture is believed to negate some of the effects of the thinner air.
The American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Jay R. Schaffer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Statistics
University of Northern Colorado
The Mathematical Association of America
Washington, DC 20036-1358
American Mathematical Society
Providence, RI 02904-2294
Home Runs & Hole-in-One
This Month's TV Reports
Your golf swing and even next year's Spring Training gets better the higher you go.
Tracking Your Team
Red, blue, silver ... No matter what your favorite team's colors are, they're key to keeping your eyes on the game.
Sports Injury Prevention Performance
A new "motion monitor" prevents injuries and keeps athletes in the game.
What Makes Your Cereal Go Snap, Crackle, Pop
Rice Krispies has been around for nearly 80 years, but scientists only recently figured out why they make that signature sound.
Mercury Detection It's a Ruff Job
Meet Clancy, the only dog in the United States trained to sniff out deadly mercury spills in science classrooms and labs.
Safer Water Worldwide
A "PUR" American technology is making it possible for people worldwide to have drinkable water for less than 5˘ a gallon.
Mission for NASA
Look who NASA is relying on for scientific data: 5th and 6th graders!
CSI X-Ray Fingerprints
Using X-rays to better track down missing children and crime scene evidence.
Is Your Drinking Water Contaminated
Making your drinking water safer, quicker with this new software for first responders.
Detecting Deadly Chemicals
You haven't seen this gun on CSI! It's helping -- not hindering -- investigators by collecting delicate and toxic evidence.
Safer Scans for Pregnant Women
A scan often performed during pregnancy increases the chance of mother and baby developing cancer. This alternative keeps mother and baby safe.
Are You Really Paying Attention
Listen up! Do we have your attention? Be careful, this device can determine when you’re paying attention and when you’re not.