Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pitchers bean more batters in the heat of the summer

Date:
June 20, 2011
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
During spring training, you will find Major League pitchers practicing their pitches, perfecting their technique and strengthening their muscles to endure the grueling 162 game season. A new study suggests that hurlers might also consider the effect these sweltering months could have on their brains.

Pitchers whose teammates get hit by a pitch are more likely to strike back and peg an opposing batter when the temperature reaches 90 degrees than on cooler days. But if no one has already been hit in the game, then high temperatures have little effect on a pitcher's behavior.
Credit: iStockphoto/Matthew Brown

During spring training, you will find Major League pitchers practicing their pitches, perfecting their technique, and strengthening their muscles to endure the grueling 162 game season. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that hurlers might also consider the effect these sweltering months could have on their brains.

Related Articles


The study, led by researchers from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, has found pitchers whose teammates get hit by a pitch are more likely to strike back and peg an opposing batter when the temperature reaches 90 degrees than on cooler days. But if no one has already been hit in the game, then high temperatures have little effect on a pitcher's behavior.

"We found that heat does not lead to more aggression in general," said Richard Larrick, a management professor at Fuqua. "Instead, heat affects a specific form of aggression. It increases retribution."

Major League statistics show there were 1,549 incidents of hit batters last season, an average of .64 hit-by-pitch incidents per game. Larrick said that it is not a necessarily a winning strategy to hit batters, as the plunked player gets to proceed to first base and is effortlessly placed in potential scoring position. However, managers and players alike admit that sometimes they intentionally target batters.

"When a batter is hit by the opposing team, his teammates don't know if it was an accident or deliberate," said Larrick, who also holds an appointment in the department of psychology and neuroscience. "We think hotter temperatures make a pitcher more likely to see the action as deliberate and hostile. And once a pitcher feels provoked, hotter temperatures increase feelings of revenge."

The study examined 57,293 Major League Baseball games from 1952 through 2009 -- roughly 4.5 million matchups between a pitcher and a hitter. Temperature served as a better forecaster of whether or not a player would be beamed if the opposing team's pitcher had already hit one or more hitters. If the temperatures were resting in the 50s during a game, there was a 22 percent chance a pitcher would hit a batter if a hasty pitch occurred in the first inning of the game. This escalated to 27 percent if the temperatures were in the 90s.

The researchers were careful to consider factors that could skew the correlation. They looked at variables such as performance, wild pitches, errors by the other team, the location of the game, and the year the game was played.

"It was important to sort out whether heat tends to increase aggressive behavior, such as retribution, or whether it leads pitchers to be less accurate with their pitches," said Larrick.

As a behavioral science expert, Larrick predicted that he would find a link between heat and aggression. "There are decades of research showing heat leads to aggression, like finding more violent crime in the summer," he said. "But in crime statistics, it's hard to really determine if it's heat or other things. One of the nice things about studying baseball is that we're able to control for factors besides heat."

Baseball fans often believe in the "batter for a batter" mentality, however there may be a secret to this commonly accepted retaliation theory. "Nobody seems to be aware that players apply the rule much more at high temperatures than at cool temperatures," said Larrick.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. P. Larrick, T. A. Timmerman, A. M. Carton, J. Abrevaya. Temper, Temperature, and Temptation: Heat-Related Retaliation in Baseball. Psychological Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0956797611399292

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Pitchers bean more batters in the heat of the summer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310141447.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2011, June 20). Pitchers bean more batters in the heat of the summer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310141447.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Pitchers bean more batters in the heat of the summer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310141447.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Symantec Uncovers Sophisticated Spying Malware Regin

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A Symantec white paper reveals details about Regin, a spying malware of unusual complexity which is believed to be state-sponsored. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hackers Target Business Travellers

Hackers Target Business Travellers

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A newly detected malware, dubbed Darkhotel, infects hotel networks with spying software to steal sensitive data from the computers of high profile business executives, warns a leading computer security firm. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

NY Gov. on Flood Prep: 'prepared for the Worst'

AP (Nov. 23, 2014) First came the big storm. Now comes the big melt for residents of flood-prone areas around Buffalo. New York's governor says officials are preparing for the worst as the temperature is expected to rise and potentially melt several feet of snow. (Nov. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins