This article is free to access.
Home runs in baseball—fair balls hit out of the field of play—have risen since 1980, driving strategic shifts in gameplay. Myriad factors likely account for these trends, with some speculating that global warming has contributed via a reduction in ballpark air density. Here we use observations from 100,000 Major League Baseball games and 240,000 individual batted balls to show that higher temperatures substantially increase home runs. We isolate human-caused warming with climate models, finding that >500 home runs since 2010 are attributable to historical warming. Several hundred additional home runs per season are projected due to future warming. Adaptations such as building domes on stadiums or shifting day games to night games reduce temperature’s effects on America’s pastime. Our results highlight the myriad ways that a warmer planet will restructure our lives, livelihoods, and recreation, some quantifiable and easily adapted to, as shown here, many others, not.
Callahan, C. W., Dominy, N. J., DeSilva, J. M., & Mankin, J. S. (2023). Global Warming, Home Runs, and the Future of America’s Pastime. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 104(5), 1003–1016. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-22-0235.1