Baseball lovers everywhere have been preparing for baseball season. Ball boys and girls are working on their sprints, hot dog vendors are preparing to walk up hundreds of stairs per night, and even the fans are getting in shape for the seventh-inning stretch.
But since it’s the athletes on the field who are putting forth the major effort, we became curious about how much energy a baseball player uses up over the course of nine innings. And if we could convert that energy into electricity, how much electricity could a baseball player produce each game?
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
How Much Energy Does a Baseball Player Use Up?
According to the Compendium of Physical Activities, a standardized guide of energy expenditures from activities like sports and exercise, playing baseball is equivalent to 5 METs. A MET is a unit of measurement for physical activity that helps with calculating calorie consumption, and one MET represents the physical effort expended by a person who is sitting still.
From METs, we can calculate the calorie expenditure of a player during a game of baseball using the following formula:
Calories = METs x weight in kilograms x time in hours
According to a SBNation analysis of changes in sizes of professional baseball players over the decades, the average player weighed 190.6 pounds in the 2000s, or about 86.5 kilograms. And Sports Illustrated reports that the average professional baseball game lasted 3 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds (which we’ll round off to 3 hours) in 2017.
5 METs x 86.5 kilograms x 3 hours = 1,297.5 calories per player per game
To put that calorie count in baseball terms, one game will burn off nearly five Ball Park hot dogs with buns, ketchup and mustard.
How Much Electricity Could a Baseball Player Produce?
If we could harness that energy and convert it into electricity, what could we do with it? Let’s find out.
Calories can be converted into a unit of energy measurement called watt seconds. One watt second is the amount of energy needed to sustain one watt for one second, and one calorie is the energy equivalent of 4.1868 watt seconds.
So if a player burns 1297.5 calories per game,
1297.5 x 4.1868 = 5432.373 watt seconds
And if there are nine positions on a baseball team,
5432.373 x 9 = 48,891.357 watt seconds
An entire team playing a full game will churn out the energy equivalent of 48,891.357 watt seconds, enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for 8 minutes and 8 seconds.
That’s a little less spectacular than hitting a home run (or even burning off five hot dogs), but the energy output goes an even shorter distance when you move on to appliances. Like a cold beer during the game? The team will keep your 780-watt refrigerator running for a whole 62 seconds. Need to get out of the sun and into the AC for a minute? Too bad; the team could only run your 3500-watt air conditioner for 14 seconds.
The modest number of METs produced by playing baseball may have something to do with the fact that the majority of the game is spent standing around waiting. A 2013 Wall Street Journal analysis found that the average professional baseball game features a combined total of about 18 minutes of real action. To get the juice flowing faster, you might want to try boxing (12.8 METs), hockey (10 METs) or football, basketball or ultimate frisbee (8 METs each).
Or, better yet, just enjoy the game and save the counting for balls and strikes.
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