Bean Balls

The Thermal Theory Of Beaners

The information source for this blog is from The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

The article is titled “Temper and Temperature on the Diamond: The Heat-Aggression Relationship in Major League Baseball.” [1991: 17:580-585]. Authors Alan Reifman and Richard Larrick claim to have done equal work on this study. Alan has since turned his professional attention to alcoholism. He may yet return to the stadiums of America if the old guys replace the replacements. The notion that temperature is somehow related to aggression is explicitly found in literature of those two greats Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) and Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing). I am sure that some LTER PIs have been steamed, hot under the collar, or have suffered from “boiling blood”. It apparently occurred to our erstwhile researchers that the bean ball was a fine demonstration of aggression and not only that, but baseball "statisticians" have dutifully recorded each beaner since at least the 1962 season. In addition, our National Weather Service has temperature records for each day that every baseball game was played.

In the 1,056 selected baseball games in 4 years ('62, '86, '87, and '88) there was an average 0.4 beaners per game! To me that seemed like a replacement level of beaners delivered from the mound. Reifman and Larrick report that beaners are positively correlated (.11) with game-time temperature. That is not a great correlation but it is significant at the p

The temperature correlation individually for each year and for all teams is also available. Annual total beaners might, one day, become an index of global warming. Heat-aggression, as you well know, is usually attributed to excitation-transfer/misattribution and cognitive neoassociation. Zajonc, Murphy and Inglehart implicate vascular emotional effervescence due to elevated brain temperature, which in turn is under the control of the venous structure in the nose. Without a firm understanding of the PSY/SOC literary background of these theories, CED offers the hog-mate theory extracted from Sunday night TV: Sixty Minutes!


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