Hitting a home run in Math… at the ball game!

baseball, math

Hitting a home run in Math… at the ball game!

Glen Whitney_MOMath
Glen Whitney

Do you think baseball has nothing to do with Math? Guess again! Glen Whitney has come up with some genius ways to get your kids working overtime in math while watching a ball game. Baseball was never so “educational!”
About Glen Whitney –  founder and executive director of the Museum of Mathematics (www.momath.org), which will open in NYC in 2012 and will boast dynamic exhibits and programs that will stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of math.






Baseball is the sport that says summer – and it’s also one of the most mathematical sports around.  Here are some math puzzles and problems you can think about while you’re waiting for the next pitch.

1) More runs than typical?
Check out who’s pitching tonight.  What’s his earned run average (ERA)?  How many innings has he pitched tonight?  If you multiply the number of innings by the ERA and divide by 9, that’s the number of runs you would expect the other team to have scored by now.   You can tell if the pitcher is having a good outing or a poor outing by whether the actual score is less or more than that average number.

2) Pumping up the average
Is the star hitter for your team up to bat?  What’s his batting average?  Now, estimate if he gets a hit, how many points his batting average will go up; or if he strikes out, how many points he will lose.  This activity is great because often at the next at-bat, the screen will show the player’s updated batting average, and you can check your estimate.


3) Steal or stay?
When there’s a fast runner on first base, check out how many steals he has versus how many times caught stealing.  If stealing a base is worth about one quarter of a run but getting caught stealing hurts the team’s score by two thirds of a run on average, is it worth it for the player to try to steal?  Will the advantage of stealing outweigh the risk of getting caught?

Like this article? Leave a reply. Want more math tips? Let us know and we’ll dig up some more! Make sure you share these with your kids!

Happy calculating!


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