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Quote of the Weekend: Tim McCarver explains increased home run rates

Apr 30, 2012, 8:22 AM EDT

Tim McCarver portrait

If you missed it over the weekend, during the Brewers-Cardinals game, Tim McCarver — winner of the Ford Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence — offered a an explanation for why there are more home runs hit these days than back in his day.

Smaller parks? Worse pitching? A lively ball? Bulked up hitters? Nah. Global warming:

“It has not been proven, but I think ultimately it will be proven that the air is thinner now, there have been climactic changes over the last 50 years in the world, and I think that’s one of the reasons balls are carrying much better now than I remember.”

Joe Buck, somewhat amused at this, made an Al Gore joke, but McCarver didn’t really lighten up, saying “I think they’re going to find that out one of these days, yes I do … that’s a theory, but we’ll see.”

Not sure how I feel about all of that. On the one hand, I am always heartened when I hear people aware of and concerned by climate change and its effects because addressing the problem means first appreciating the problem.

On the other hand, it opens the door for this conversation:

Me: Look, the science is clear, climate change is real and man’s impact on that is damn nigh undeniable. We need to think about how to be better stewards of our planet!

Climate-change-denying friend:  Heh, yeah, but if you believe that, it means you think Tim McCarver is right about something.

Me: OK, fine, you have me there … Wanna go drill for oil in the park?

  1. Jack Marshall - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    “The air is thinner now”? How does increased carbon in the atmosphere translate into “the air is thinner”?

    Now watch: McCarver will get a Nobel Prize.

    • prionogenic - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Using the Ideal Gas Law to model the atmosphere, you find that Temperature and air density have an inverse relationship so that as Temperature increases, density decreases.

      Ideal Gas Law: PV= n RT

      replacing n, the number of moles of a substance, with m/M, which is mass divided by Molar Mass and inserting ρ = m/V where rho is the density and m is mass, V is volume

      You get the rewritten equation as: P = ρRT/M

      Because Pressure, P and Molar Mass, M is assumed to be constant and R is the Ideal gas Constant you find that you have an inverse relationship between ρ and T, where by:

      ρ = 1/T, So that as Temperature increases the density of the air decreases, so that there is less air resistance on a ball that travels to warm air. This is the same reason why a hot air ballon floats, but a cold air ballon would not. So that if there’s a global increase in temperature then the air is indeed thinner.

      Also, in case anyone is saying, “isn’t the problem more carbon dioxide in the air?” Though this is true, the amount of CO2 in the air is miniscule, 320 -400 parts per million, depending where it’s measure, which is about 0.04%! Scientists estimates that in the past hundred years or so the average increase of CO2 has been about 80 parts per million world wide, which all things considered, is just a 0.008% increase.

      • Cran Boy - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:41 PM

        To all the posts below saying McCarver’s a knucklehead: Read prionogenic’s explanation. (Probably helps to have taken college-level physics. Prionogenic, h/t to you.) If you accept that the earth’s been warmer in recent years (and please stuff the political trolling from both sides; I said “if” and nothing about human activity), then it is true that the air’s thinner.

      • seeinred87 - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:41 PM

        That cow looks awfully spherical.

    • marshmallowsnake - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      His brain cells are thinner too…just saying.

  2. phukyouk - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    may as well nominate him for the ” the first annual Montgomery burns award for achievement in the field of excellence “

  3. hasbeen5 - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:39 AM

    So many levels of stupid, I don’t know where to start.

  4. kiwicricket - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Mr McCarver was sitting in a hotel bar, overheard people next to him talking about how the world is ‘growing’ ‘getting bigger’ ‘expanding’…..he somehow relays that into thinking we are all gaining in altitude, hence ‘thinner air’. Simple logic.

  5. mybrunoblog - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    McCarver also offered his thoughts on ocean levels ” You know Joe, there’s lots of water in those oceans, I mean hey, it is really deep out there. It hasn’t been proven yet but the oceans really do contain boatloads of water. Mind you this is just a theory Joe”.

  6. birdsoffthebat - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Geez, he makes my brain hurt. Sometimes I mute the TV when he and Mr. Forehead get to rambling on. I also enjoy the way he randomly slips in and out of his Southern drawl.

  7. heyblueyoustink - Apr 30, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    If you’re talking about drilling in Arlington, we might have a shot at hitting some oil. Plus it would make for some interesting ground rules.

  8. Jonny 5 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    Why is nobody even touching on the fact that home run rates have actually dropped significantly since 2000? McCarver’s theory is based on a “fact” that isn’t even true. This thing dies before you even get to his “thinner air theory” .

    There are over 400 less home runs annually in the AL in 2011 than in 2000

    There are over 600 less home runs annually in the NL in 2011 than in 2000

    • hasbeen5 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      Never let the truth get in the way of a narrative.

    • Jack Marshall - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      Ah HA! So global warming IS a myth!!!

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Well, we’re clearly in a thick air cycle now. While overall air levels are thinning, it still ebs and flows.

      Air was at it’s thickest during the 1900s and 1910s. It was followed by a long thinning period until the Johnson administration, which culminated in the uber-thick aired year of 1968, in which the air had the viscosity of lumpy mayo. Nixon vowed to put an end to now perceived too thick air, but like Vietnam, really had no positive impact. The air slowly thinned until the Clinton came into office. Turning his back on his party’s New Deal, pro thick-air history, he unleashed an unprecedented level of thin air. I mean, it was like outer space out there. For fuck’s sake, Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs

      As you can see, McCarver’s hypothesis makes perfect sense. Before we make fun of this man too much, he is the one to discover that Mount Everest was a volcano (science will come around on that one yet). .

  9. frankvzappa - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Anybody who thinks man has a huge impact on climate change is an ass, plain and simple. Despite all the propaganda, anybody who takes 5 seconds to realize that the same things are happening on THE OTHER PLANETS IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM will realize that THE GODDAMN SUN is what dictates climate. Turn off your brainwash box, do some research, and wake up before the eco-fascists enslave us all under an Agenda 21 dystopian global totalitarian state.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      “Turn off your brainwash box, do some research, and wake up before the eco-fascists enslave us all under an Agenda 21 dystopian global totalitarian state”.

      It’s true. The scientists who study global warming are all in the pocket of Big Granola. You’re theory makes total sense. It’s all a ruse to make us smoke marijuana cigarettes and find the Grateful Dead tolerable. Kudos sir.

      • frankvzappa - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        Thanks for sticking to the facts.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM

        “Big Granola”…I love it.

        Frank V. Snapperhead’s frothing tirade is a perfect example of right-wing projection.

        They know deep down that their side is almost entirely funded by impossibly wealthy plutocrats and oligarchs, so they naturally assume that, hell, the left must be as well!

        That’s why they continually raise the “George Soros” bogeyman when, in reality, the guy’s been a fairly minor player in U.S. politics, at least when compared to people like Richard Mellon-Scaife, Joseph Coors, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, etc.

        It still baffles me how they can continue to believe that a bunch of pencil-neck, melanin-deprived climate geeks are conspiring to overthrow capitalism and impose “eco-fascism” on the planet by falsifying climate data, and yet they scoff at the notion that oil barons and other big corporate players WOULDN’T do everything in their power to muddy the waters and maintain the status-quo when it’s clear that they have billions (hell, maybe even trillions) of reasons to do so.

        But then…these are the same paranoid schizophrenics who believe there was a global conspiracy to plant a forged birth notice in a Hawaiin newspaper so that the KenyanMarxistSocialistStalinistMaoistFascistHitleritePolPotlovingBlackPantherMalcomXFarrakhanAyersWrightCarrotTop usurper known as Barack Hussein Obama (nice innocuous middle-class American name, right?) could one day be elected President destroy ‘Murrca from within.

        Jesus wept.

    • kiwicricket - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      And all that before 9.30am. Does your head hurt before you wake up in the morning?

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      It’s just amazing how you see fascism in everything.

    • Tim's Neighbor - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      This is satire, right?

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        Sadly, no, it is not satire. But I do have to hand it to zappa that he did not blame the government for all the ills of the world this time. Damn that orb in the sky all bright, hot and sunny!!!!

      • Tim's Neighbor - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:35 PM

        Me: /prays hard

        God: There is no help.

        Mankind: /weeps

    • kalinedrive - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Of course, because the widespread use of coal and oil to burn and create energy has been going on since the dinosaurs invented air conditioning, and there have been no significant changes in man’s use of any natural resources since Wilma Flintstone and her baby elephant vacuum cleaner.

      • frankvzappa - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM

        Name-calling and irrelevant remarks don’t change the fact that the polar ice caps are melting on other planets in the solar system. If I wanted to hear what any of you are attempting to pass off as your own thinking, I would just turn on the news and let them tell me what to think. Since they told you your thoughts to begin with, I may as well go straight to the source. Wake me up when any of you spend 5 minutes doing some actual research.

      • Tim's Neighbor - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        I’ll bite…

        Where are your sources? If you want to prove things that are considered outlandish by the masses, you need to show, you know, proof.

        Example: I think listening to Nickelback leads to brain damage and possibly death (or worse!) I could leave it at that and no one would believe me OR I could show the video of my grandpap-pap listening to Nickelback and dying immediately. That would be my proof.

        RIP grandpap-pap

    • ezthinking - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      The most amazing thing is that Frank Zappa has been dead for nearly a twenty years and has Internet access! Awesome!

  10. randygnyc - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    Whenever McCarver and Buck broadcast a Yankees game, be it regular season or post season, I synch the tv with the Yankees local radio cast. I haven’t listened to those arrogant, insipid, bloviating, biased dirtbags in many years. Every year, I send unanswered emails to fox sports asking them to replace them with neutral professionals.

    • mybrunoblog - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      McCarver and boy toy Joe Buck are a tough listen but you have to be kidding me! Yankees radio team Sterling and Waldman? I’d rather have eye surgery performed on me with a spoon than listen to those two but hey, that’s baseball Susan!

      • Kevin S. - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        I mute ‘em both and loop “The Sound of Silence” for three hours.

        Unless, of course, they’re playing the Mets. Gary Cohen is a joy to listen to.

  11. yahmule - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    No worse than the great scientific minds who claimed athletes (and people in general) are bigger and more muscular now due to evolution. I saw more than one sportswriter advance that theory over the years. I’m sure most of them typed this nonsense while they were stuffing their faces with food derived from livestock who had been administered steroids to increase their growth.

  12. eriknatsfan - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Uh, that would be “climatic changes” Tim.

  13. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    It is rare that I have an opportunity to appreciate Michael Kay. I don’t generally like him, but every time I hear McCarver/Buck I realize how much worse things could be.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      I kind of wish they’d just ditch him, though. Whenever he’s out and Ken Singleton moves into PBP I find I enjoy the broadcasts a lot more. Flash, O’Neill, Leiter and Cone are all pretty decent color guys, and working a rotation out of them should do just fine.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 1, 2012 at 12:57 PM

        I like Bob Lorenz as a play-by-play guy too. Maybe they can move Kay back to radio when they go to FM next year. Kay would still be an improvement over Sterling/Waldman.

  14. augustgutting - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    There is a petition on change(dot)org to have him pulled from Fox broadcasts!

  15. tuftsb - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Does AGW exist? Yes?
    For what percentage of climate change is it responsible? We do not know.
    What changes we will we have to make and what will the costs be once we determine the degree of change that we can make? We don’t know.

    Like sabermetrics, quantifying a problem and the proposed solutions is the best way to arrive at a practical solution. Until that point, pure climate change/golbalwarming absolutists are acting more like Murray Chass than Dan Syzmborski.

    • hasbeen5 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Asking the Left to be rational rather than reactionary? Good luck.

      And yes, the Right is often less than rational as well. I’m an equal opportunity hater, rather than blindly sticking with one side.

  16. micbg77 - Apr 30, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    can we leave the left wing politics off of the sports blogs please? thanks

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      I suppose right wing politics are OK?

  17. Utley's Hair - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    I question whether he actually said that the air is thinner now. Maybe he actually said that his HAIR is thinner now, and then he slipped off into some dementia-induced tirade that has no correlation to what he was—or should have been—talking about.

  18. lew24 - Apr 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Where is Deion to pour more water on this guy?

  19. wpjohnson - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I have always thought that McCarver suffered brain damage when Neon delightfully dumped the liquid on his head some years ago. I believe he is proving me right.

  20. philliesblow - Apr 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    McCarver actually said the air between his ears is thinner now. You just couldn’t understand it becasue he was using that Autotune contraption to appeal to a younger demographic.

  21. anxovies - Apr 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    No reasonable person doubts that the air is thinner now, and that global warning is the cause. However, McCarver’s theory about baseballs traveling farther because of the tinning air is wrong. Thin air means lower atmospheric pressure causing baseballs to expand. The larger baseballs are easier to see and hit, and the batters are making better contact, thus causing balls to fly farther.

    • ezthinking - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      Thanks Tim.

  22. chumthumper - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Not to be outdone, Buck asked McCarver to explain what “shagging balls” means. Guess he knows informed baseball fans hate listening to these bozos and thinks his audience falls into the baseball illiterate category.

    • jimbo1949 - Apr 30, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Nice Austin Powers reference

  23. ndrocks2 - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I thought everyone put the TV on mute or listened to radio broadcast whenever McLovin was on the tube. Biggest waste of time ever, unfortunately for him he is going to say something stupid sooner rather than later that will cost him his career…

    • ezthinking - Apr 30, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      McLovin’s sweet! McCarver, not so much.

      Does the players’ union have a rest home they can put this guy in?

  24. foreverchipper10 - Apr 30, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I blame ManBearPig.

  25. ugglasforearms - Apr 30, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Poll: vote thumbs down if you wish Fox would replace McCarver. A thumbs up vote means you like his style. I’m not asking about Joe B, only McCarver. My comment counts as one thumbs down vote… I can’t bear to hear him on the air. Thumbs down anyone?

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