The Weather Factor In The Playoffs


Boston in October is a very pleasant place to be. The crisp fall air and the tinge of winter that is to follow. A month that usually brings the first days of frost, another harbinger of winter. It is great football weather, but this is baseball.

The first two games in Boston the weather will be ideal. Higher than average temps and partly cloudy. But this is New England and Boston baseball where you can wear shorts, a sweat shirt and a parka to the same game and use all three.

I dislike baseball in the cold. I avoid April and early May since my idea is to enjoy a frosty adult beverage and not a steamy hot coffee. I want to sit in a seat without several layers of clothing protecting me from a wind chill that gets under the thirty mark. And mid to late October can be a bookend to April. Wally in earmuffs is quite a sight.

Sep 22, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Felix Doubront (22) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The chart shows the temperatures, precipitation and humidity figures for October. It gets chilly. 50s during the day with drops as the sun sets. Heck, MLB games were already canceled in the 2013 season over snow, and that may not happen in a Boston October, but you will be chilly.

So I wanted to find out what studies had been conducted regarding temperature and its affect on a baseball. What happens to a baseball when it is cold?

Simply put, the baseball travels farther in warm weather and has less distance in cold weather. This is the result of a study performed at the University of Massachusetts Baseball Research Center in 2004 by P.J. Drane and J.A. Sherwood.

Meteorologist Jeff Haby wrote an article that details weather and the flight of a baseball. Think Colorado when reading the article. In Boston in October humid days are quite rare so that factor may be out, but wind can be another issue. The wind picks up to the range of April and May.

Weather can be a significant factor in baseball and most certainly will be in the mix as October gets closer to November. If the eventual World Series is played in a northern climate you will see the weather forecasters rolled out.

If the Red Sox progress through the playoffs what can one expect weather wise? What was it like for the last two World Series visits for the Red Sox?

I remember at Fenway in 2004 and it was cold – very cold. And windy. In game one of 2004 the temperature at game time was 49 degrees with a 18MPH wind from left to right. Game two was 48 degrees with a 15MPH wind from CF. Sox won both games. The first by 11-9 and the second game 6-2.

In 2007 a warming trend took place in game one with a balmy 55 degrees at game time and a mild breeze from left. Rockies got hammered 13-1. Game two saw a more seasonable 48 degrees at game time. Sox won 2-1. In Denver the first game had a game time 45 degrees and the Sox won 10-5.

Now I said I don’t care for baseball in cold weather but I’ll toss in a caveat. I’ll sit in a ice bath if it was a Red Sox World Series and I suspect the players are the same. This is what the long march was for. They’ll wrap up and so (if fortunate enough to get tickets) will I. This is the World Series!