Thunder sends baseball players running

Baseball players took off running after a very close lightning strike and thunderclap at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas yesterday. Folks who were there said it sounded like a bomb went off. Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span's Tweet: "That's the loudest noise I've ever heard. I thought Jesus was comin!" (via Dave Pell's NextDraft)


  1. RealAudio’s legacy is not yet dead, you can always count on YouTube to insert a pause at just the wrong moment.
    That said, apparently baseball players think they’re important enough to be the target of a bomb.

    1. does any sciencey person know if that pause could be the result of lightning interference of some kind? just curious.

      1. It’s possible that it isn’t the lighting as much as the initial thunder.  I know you can hear the thunder when the audio comes back, but it sounds like it is almost echoing off the stadium.  We had lightening hit 100 feet from our house and there was no rumble or after sound.  Just one big boom.  Could just be that the instantaneous sound was so loud the system activated some type of protection circuit.

        1. Maybe, rumble is caused by echo so there might not be any nearby. But I think the flash should be visible, or the reflection/scatter, and it isn’t. The motion also freezes, which can’t be caused by sound.

    2.  How many people were in that stadium?

      They’re packed in just as densely as in an airplane, if not more so. Plus, you might get the added bonus of rubble constricting exits and leading to crowd crushing, increasing injuries and restricting access by emergency crews.

      Terror bombing campaigns don’t always attack “important” targets, sometimes they just target vulnerable targets. This is normally a jump-the-shark moment for an organization because it’s VERY hard to attract more supporters when you’ve obviously descended to cackling-evil-villain territory, but it still happens from time to time.

      And then there’s mad-bombers, who do stuff because they’re NOT thinking logically.

      That said, I’d be more sympathetic if this was in a nation which has far more recent experience with extended bombing campaigns. . .

      But positing if America were the target of a bombing campaign, a stadium isn’t an inconceivable target.

        1.  Yep–the earliest and IMO most plausible book that Thomas Harris has written.

    3. The speed at which everyone on the field does it without thinking makes me thing that MLB has told players to run to the dugouts in case of an explosion of any kind.
      When I was in little league we were told to run off the field the instant you saw lightening or heard thunder and not wait for umpires or coaches to tell you to do so. Being one of 20 or so people in a big open field is not a good idea. 

    4. It has nothing to do with fear of a bomb, it has everything to do with being the only vertical objects  in the middle of a huge open area. Electricity prefers the shortest path, dontchaknow.


        You know it’s going to be bad when the field is named “Lightning Field”

    5.  How many of the victims of 9/11 thought that they were “important enough” to be the target of an attack?

  2. @EH – thank you. i played that clip twice just to make sure it wasn’t hanging at that moment because of something on my end. talk about terrible timing!

  3. Well, this is taken from a live broadcast, right? Does the lightning act as a huge surge of interference? I don’t know if that’s even possible, normally these are at least on tape delay. But I though of it because it just seems like too much of a coincidence for the video just to skip at the exact moment you should see/hear the strike.

  4. Couldn’t help but think of Mr. Carlin’s observations of popular American sports. Wussy baseball players…

    “In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

    In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home!”

    1. Holy Jeebus. I bet parts of that field suddenly became damp before the rain even started.

    2.  No, it didn’t hit the stadium. Watch carefully. The “lightning” that looks like it hits the field is the exact same size and shape as the bolt that hits the building in the background. It’s a lens flare, not a real strike of the field.

      1. That would tend to explain why it doesn’t scorch or otherwise disturb the ground. I’ve seen it (simulated) in a lab blow apart big chunks of wood, so I’d kind of expect it to leave a mark.

  5. The pause is definitely from the lightning.  There are several copies of the live feed on YouTube from different sources – all of them have the pause.  There are a couple that have replays taken from in-house (rather than post-satellite), and you can see the flash in all of its glory.

    Satellite feeds are just directed radio signals, so they’re susceptible to disruption, particularly with something so close to the stadium.

  6. FYI, the story and embedded video are in regards to the incident at The Ballpark in Arlington, TX. The video link referred to in the “UPDATE” is an incident at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO.
    Are you saying that the lightning that struck a building in downtown St. Louis made the players in Arlington, TX run for cover??

    1. yeah, and also the one in the “update” is clealry occurring at night, whereas the one in Texas happened during the day.

  7. … and the home of the brave.

    I guess even thunderstorms are bigger, better and scarier in Texas.

    1. unless you live in the midwest, you have no idea how bad they can get in the DFW area :)

  8. And of course a nice shot at the end of the perpetually annoyed/angry looking Nolan Ryan.

    1. Wonderfully, characteristically unimpressed. The next bolt of lightning probably got one high and tight.

  9. “…we’re going to have an immediate stoppage of play for the safety of the fans, the players…”

    Must be correcting himself there, unless fandom-induced excitement turns spectators into lightning rods like the dudes standing all alone out in center field.

    I was once inside a non-automated car wash in Hollywood when its roof was struck by lightning.  Yeah, that was definitely the loudest noise in my entire life.

  10. The real crash from last night’s game was the blown 3-0 lead (in the 9th no less) the Twins had. I sat through FOUR MORE INNINGS of “free baseball” while they slowly handed a win to the Rangers. GAH.

  11. You’re the highest ion (salt) filled bag of water in any direction for 100m on a field at a storm, why yes, you stick out.

  12. The best part of that is the look on Nolan Ryan’s face.  You can almost hear him thinking, “you bunch of sissys.  In my day, we were struck by lightning and we LIKED IT!”

Comments are closed.