METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Weather has an important influence on a baseball game. Weather is not so much of a factor within indoor natural grass stadiums but weather
can have a huge impact on outside games in natural grass conditions. Below are several factors and how they can influence the game:
Rain: If rain is heavy enough, the umpire can call for a rain delay and then continue the game later once the rain reduces in intensity
or ends. The rain though may not quite be heavy enough to delay the game. Rain can produce problems such as getting a good grip on the
baseball, having good traction when running the bases and can interfere with seeing and throwing the baseball as well. To counteract
these issues a tarp will be placed on the dirt infield portion of the field during rain. A substance that is highly absorbent can also
be placed on the dirt portions of the field such as on the pitching mound and in the base running areas to increase traction and reduce
the buildup of mud on cleats. Rain can make the grass areas of the field slippery and players can adapt to this by wearing
the proper cleats.
Wind: The wind can have a profound influence on a game. In a game of inches, wind can cause the baseball to change course by many feet. Homeruns
are much easier when the wind is blowing out as opposed to blowing in. Windy conditions can make the ball more difficult to catch. Wind
can make the ball more difficult to field and throw accurately. Windy conditions generally make the game more difficult to play
accurately for all players involved. Players can adjust to this by factoring in wind speed and direction as they go after a ball
in the air.
Sun: The sun in the eyes is the bane of all baseball players trying the catch a ball. Losing the ball in the sun even for an instance can
mean the difference between catching and not catching the ball. To counteract this, players (especially outfielders) will wear sun
glasses. The caps also help shade the sun. Eye black can be placed under the eyes to decrease the intensity of the sun glare. The
stadium lights can also create a similar effect such as when the ball comes from a similar path that the stadium lights are shining
toward a player.
Extreme Temperature: Very hot temperatures can make the game more difficult to play, especially for the pitcher. The pitcher may not be able
to throw as many pitches during a hot game. Hot weather can lead to general fatigue for all players thus it is important to drink
plenty of fluids. Very cold weather is even more difficult than hot weather. Cold weather can reduce flexibility, decrease reaction
time and decrease concentration. Players can counteract this by wearing an extra layer of clothing and warming up in the dugout
between innings. Extreme cold is made much worse when it is combined with other factors such as wind and precipitation.