UPDATE ADDED: Bastardi responds to Washington Post (see below)
Washington Post chief meteorologist Jason Samenow vouched for the validity of Fox Sports Major League Baseball announcer Tim McCarver’s weekend comment that there could be a correlation between the rise in home runs throughout the 20th century and the rise in global temperature.
The comment was quickly attacked all over the web.
“It has not been proven, but I think ultimately it will be proven that the air is thinner now, there has been climactic changes over the last 50 years in the world and I think that’s one of the reasons that balls are carrying much better now than I remember,” McCarver said.
Samenow pointed out that McCarver took heat from the sports website Deadspin, Anthony Watts’ climate blog Watts Up With That and Weatherbell.com meteorologist Joe Bastardi, saying that the critics could be wrong and McCarver could be on to something. In a Monday post entitled “Tim McCarver isn’t crazy: the home run and global warming connection” on the Post’s Capital Weather Gang blog, Samenow attempted to make the case that with the temperature, the number of home runs has increased.
“But data and physics are on the side of McCarver … to an extent,” Samenow wrote. “We’ve blogged previously about the fact baseballs travel farther in warm, humid air. And data show the atmosphere has trended warmer and more humid over the last 120-plus years.”
Samenow admitted there were other factors, but he wound up defending McCarver against his critics.
“But it would be naive to discount weather and climate from playing any role,” Samenow wrote. “As such, McCarver’s listing climate as “one of the reasons” for increasing home run totals is not all that far-fetched. Maybe Bastardi, Deadspin, Watts, Berk et al. should dial back their criticism.”
Bastardi took to his Twitter account to make the case that it has more to do with the physical prowess of the modern-day baseball player than the weather or climate:
Bottom line. Athletes because of training arebigger and stronger than they used to be. Baseball weather not as warm as it was 30s-50s
— Joe Bastardi (@BigJoeBastardi) April 30, 2012