The Science of Baseball at T-Mobile Park

Explore the fascinating intersection of engineering, science, and baseball!

Welcome to our exploration of the science behind baseball, where we uncover the physics behind every pitch and engineering behind T-Mobile Park.

Don’t miss our Curiosity at Home resources, which bring the wonders of sport science and more straight to your living room!

Science is for everyone, and STEM is everywhere! The Mariners and their iconic ballpark serve as a prime example of how sports and STEM intersect, driving progress and pushing boundaries in America’s favorite pastime.

The Physics of a Baseball Pitch 

Let’s dive into the fascinating physics behind a baseball pitch, starting with the forces that act on the ball.  

But first, what exactly is a force? A force is a push or a pull that can make an object move, stop, or change direction. 

Starting from the beginning of a throw, a baseball moves forward when the pitcher applies a force to the ball by throwing it. 

Newton’s first law of motion tells us that unless something pushes or pulls on it, the ball will keep moving in a straight line. But when it’s in the air, there are things pushing and pulling on it. These forces—like weight, drag, and lift—work together to shape its path. 

Drag is the air resistance pushing against the ball’s motion. Meanwhile the weight of the ball is being pulled downwards by gravity, while lift is an upward force that can make the ball rise as a result of how it’s spinning.  

The stitches on the baseball can disturb these forces, making the ball move in tricky ways, like the famous knuckleball that wiggles around unpredictably.  

Scientists employ sophisticated tools such as wind tunnels and high-speed cameras, along with conducting experiments, to gain a deeper understanding of these forces. STEM drives progress by allowing scientists to develop new tools and techniques, pushing the boundaries of our understanding of physics and sports dynamics. 

Want to learn more? Listen to Science Friday! Dr. Frederic Bertley, the president and CEO of the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio, joins Ira Flatow to talk about the science of sports, and about how sports can be a gateway to scientific literacy. 

Try it yourself! the Science of the Perfect Throw

Have you ever marveled at the precision of a pitcher’s throw or the accuracy of an outfielder’s catch?  

Step onto the diamond and uncover the secrets behind baseball’s fundamental skill – throwing – with our interactive experiment, Following Through. Originally designed for basketball, this activity can be easily adapted to fit the world of baseball. 

This hands-on activity not only offers a glimpse into the physics of a perfect throw but also provides invaluable insights for aspiring baseball players looking to enhance their performance on the field. (Suitable for grades K-8th

Curiosity at Home Following Through PDF image

Engineering Excellence

T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners, stands as a testament to engineering ingenuity, blending state-of-the-art design with environmental sustainability.  

From its retractable roof, which shields fans from the elements while preserving stunning views of the city, to its advanced lighting and irrigation systems, the stadium embodies the principles of engineering and innovation. 

T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington, with its roof open and closed

Did you know? The retractable roof weighs 22 million pounds and spans nearly 9 acres! 

According to the Mariners, the three movable panels are powered by 96 ten horsepower electric motors. They effortlessly glide on 128 steel wheels and can close or open the roof in just 10-20 minutes, weather permitting. Engineered to endure harsh conditions, the roof is self-grounded to prevent lightning strikes and can withstand up to 6-7 feet of snow and winds of up to 70 mph. 

Behind the scenes, a team of engineers and architects collaborated to create a venue that not only enhances the fan experience but also minimizes its environmental footprint.  

Through energy-efficient technologies and sustainable materials, T-Mobile Park sets a new standard for eco-friendly stadium design, showing how STEM can shape the future of sports infrastructure. 

Try at Yourself! Engineering at Home 

Explore the wonders of creativity right at home with our Curiosity at Home activity: Design a Solution! Unleash your curiosity as you embark on a journey to invent and solve real-world problems.  

In this activity, design new inventions that can solve problems, using natural and renewable resources. 

This hands-on experience not only encourages innovative thinking but also fosters problem-solving skills that are essential for tackling challenges in our communities.  

Share your inventive creations with us on social media @pacsci and join the curious community of problem solvers. Let your imagination soar as you design and build solutions that make a positive impact on our world. (Suitable for grades K-8th)   

Curiosity at Home Design a Solution PDF image

Catch a baseball Game at T-Mobile Park

Where Can I Watch Baseball in Seattle?

In Seattle, you can watch baseball at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. This stadium, located in the SoDo neighborhood near downtown Seattle, hosts Major League Baseball games from March to Septmeber.  

Experience AAA Minor League Baseball with the Tacoma Rainiers at Cheney Stadium, rooting for the Mariners’ affiliate team from April to October. Enjoy Class A Minor League Baseball with the Everett AquaSox at Funko Field, where their season runs from June to September.

How Do I Get Tickets to Watch the Mariners Play Baseball in Seattle? 

You can visit the official Seattle Mariners website and purchase tickets directly online. Check the Mariners’ schedule for upcoming games and secure your seats for an unforgettable baseball experience in Seattle. 

What is the Seattle Mariners’ Schedule for 2024? 

You can find the Seattle Mariners’ schedule on their official website, MLB.com, sports news websites like ESPN, and mobile apps such as The MLB App

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