Andrew McCutcheon’s reaction time between a pitch and a swing. The amount of water needed to green the playing field at PNC Park. The odds that Jalapeno Hannah will win the most pierogi races this season.
Besides being fun to watch, baseball has long been one of the most statistics-oriented sports around. Since the Pittsburgh Pirates’ earliest World Championship seasons, kids have followed along in their playbooks, documenting the RBIs, ERAs and batting averages, inning by inning. Now, the Bucs are teaming up with Chevron to highlight the physics, physiology, materials science and mathematics behind America’s pastime to create a new Science of Baseball Program.
Part of Carnegie Science Center’s Science on the Road initiative, the program offers students in kindergarten through eighth grade high-impact science demonstrations., said Jessica Lausch, director of visual experiences at the Carnegie Science Center.
“Science of Baseball will take real science concepts from the classroom and put a fun spin on it,” Lausch said.
Science of Baseball is set to debut in classrooms in spring 2015, with Carnegie Science Center staff leading one-of-a-kind Pirates-themed experiences to illustrate science’s everyday uses. But the public can preview the program in December during PirateFest. And Buccos fans can also catch the Baseball Quiz—science-related questions on the JumboTron at PNC Park—during this season’s games.
Part of the STEM movement (Science Technology Engineering and Math) gaining traction nationwide, Science on the Road visits more than 170,000 students and teachers in the region’s schools every year. The program flips the traditional school field trip, delivering hands-on activities tailored to each grade level.
Carnegie Science Center program developer Mike Hennessy, who’s working on creating the 45-minute theatric assembly for Science of Baseball, said the show will include a STEM career element as well.
“There’s a love of baseball and getting outside and having fun, but then there’s the love of science and even having a career in science someday,” Hennessy said, citing statisticians, athletic trainers and JumboTron programmer as important baseball-related careers.
Chevron and Pirates Charities, the team’s philanthropy arm, will each contribute $150 to the program for every Pirates hit throughout the season. Total raised thus far this season? In excess of $80,000.
Yet another reason to root for the home team.