Questions for ‘Due to global warming, major league hitters are slugging more home runs’

A photo of Aaron Judge swinging at a baseball with spectators out of focus in the background.

Here’s New York Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge at bat. His 62 home runs in the 2022 major-league season set a record.

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To accompany Due to global warming, major league hitters are slugging more home runs  


Before Reading:

  1. A marshmallow’s foam-like texture is due to tiny entrapped air bubbles. If you microwave a marshmallow, it starts to swell. As the temperature increases, the marshmallow gets bigger and bigger. As the entrapped air heats, the air molecules spread out. Based on this information, how do rising temperatures of a gas affect the density of that gas? How do rising temperatures of a gas affect the amount of space taken up by that gas? 
  2. In baseball, what is a “home run”? What is the goal of “going up to bat”? List two weather-related factors that might affect the batter’s chance of scoring a home run. For each, briefly describe what effect that factor might have on the batter’s chance of scoring a home run.

During Reading:

  1. Since 2010, how many extra home runs does the new study attribute to climate change?
  2. What is sabermetrics?
  3. What “speculation” did Christopher Callahan hope to address by digging into sports data?
  4. According to the ideal gas law, what happens to the density of air as temperatures rise?
  5. On what date in 2019 was the record set for most home runs in a single game? Identify the two teams that participated in this historic game.
  6. Describe two ways that baseball might adapt to rising temperatures.

After Reading:

  1. According to this study, what specific impact does lower air density seem to have on home runs in baseball? How does climate change contribute to that change? Based on these findings, what is another sport that might be affected by climate change? Describe one specific impact that increasing temperatures might have on this sport. Explain your reasoning. 
  2. The surface gravity of the planet Venus is very similar to Earth. But Venus’ atmosphere is about 90 times denser than Earth’s. Imagine you were to play baseball on the surface of Venus. Based on this story, would you expect to hit more home runs than on Earth or fewer? Explain your reasoning.