Stories tagged sports science

Haven't gotten enough information about the current football controversy? Here's a quick video that delves into the physics at play in under-inflated footballs.

When yesterday's bombs went off at at the Boston Marathon, chaos erupted. Runners were still scattered about the 26-mile course. But technology was able to keep track of where they all were. You can read about it all here.

Bolting for gold: Jamaica's Usain Bolt (yellow jersey) became a two-time 100-meter gold medalist in the Olympics Sunday. How much has the winning 100 meter time decreased over the 116-year history of the Olympics?
Bolting for gold: Jamaica's Usain Bolt (yellow jersey) became a two-time 100-meter gold medalist in the Olympics Sunday. How much has the winning 100 meter time decreased over the 116-year history of the Olympics?Courtesy Eckhard Pecher
Each Olympics, one of the marquee moments is the men's 100-meter dash finals. Who will be crowned the fastest man on the planet? Did you watch Usain Bolt's gold-medal run Sunday night? Check this New York Times interactive display that "charts" a race between all Olympic 100-meter medalists over the past 116 years. How much has one of the ultimate human performance measures improved over that time? What factors have made humans get so much faster over that time?

Can you beat me?: Think you can outrun a cheetah? Find out how fast they are.
Can you beat me?: Think you can outrun a cheetah? Find out how fast they are.Courtesy Sue Mainka / IUCN
So we're just three days into the 2012 London Olympics and the TV coverage is already predictable. A gymnast or two has cried, an Eastern Bloc athlete has been banned for testing positive for performance-enhancing substances and the guys playing water polo have extremely "ripped" bodies. So how about shaking things up and checking out this fun feature on the animal Olympics, and find out which species, according to the Olympic motto, go stronger, higher, faster.

May
18
2009

House of home runs: Home runs have been soaring out of new Yankee Stadium at a record clip. Is there any science behind the factors causing that to happen?
House of home runs: Home runs have been soaring out of new Yankee Stadium at a record clip. Is there any science behind the factors causing that to happen?Courtesy The Silent Wind of Doom
I wish I would have come across this information a week earlier. I could have passed it along to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and maybe helped the squad avert the disaster it ran into this weekend in the Bronx.

National Public Radio devoted a half hour to discussing the scientific and statistical factors that might be at play in the increased number of home runs being hit at the new New York Yankee Stadium. As any Twins fan can tell you, the homes kept flying out of the park this weekend when the Twins visited the new stadium, resulting in three-straight Twins losses. Most puzzling about this increased number of homers is that the interior dimensions of the playing field were planned to be exactly like the old Yankee Stadium.

You can hear the stadium discussion here. If you don't have audio capability on your computer, I'll quickly summarize the gist of the discussion.

First, the numbers. This report was done on May 15. Up to that point, there had been 47 home runs hit in the new ball park compared to 24 homers in the same number of games played at the start of last season in the old park. This year's average is a whopping 3.6 homers per game.

A wind studies specialist points out that the alignment of the new stadium is slightly different than the old stadium. In the new park, home plate to right field is directly set up west to east. The old park was shifted about 20 degrees in a northwest to southeast orientation. And predominant winds in the area go west to east.

Another wind factor is that the new stadium is shallower from top to field than the old one. That means less deflection or impeding the wind flow into the new stadium than the old one.

And while the posted outfield wall dimensions of the new stadium are identical to the old park, there is a difference in right field. There, the once concave outfield wall is now straight to accommodate a new out-of-town games scoreboard. Six home runs hit this year landed in areas behind this new scoreboard that would have been in the park in old Yankee Stadium.

A sports writer from ESPN on the show also points out that the sample of games to draw any conclusions from right now is just too small. It's standard practice to figure in three full seasons (243 games) to come up with an "even" reading of what's normal for a ballpark, he notes. The 13 games played so far amount to just 5% of that reading.

Two line-up considerations for the Yankees. They've had a couple starting pitchers struggle early this season an injuries to position players have made their line-up be predominantly left-handers, who tend to hit the ball to right field more than right-handers. This year's baseballs might be flying farther in general, too, he said. Home run production is up all across the major leagues so far this season.

So why do you think more home runs are being hit more often in Yankee Stadium? Share your thoughts here with other Buzz readers. I know for me, it gives me one more great reason to hate the Yankees.