Baseball celebrates Earth Day by ruining the environment


Mike Zunino, left, of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by Robinson Cano at Seattle’s Safeco Field, one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums in the U.S. (Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images)

Planning to go to a baseball game this season? You better not drive there. And you better not go after dark. The amount of electricity needed to illuminate those stadium lights is staggering. And don’t forget about the scoreboard. Even to light up the LED scoreboard at one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums in the nation, Seattle’s Safeco Field, it takes 130,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per season, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. But considering the old incandescent board devoured 1.2 million kilowatt-hours, that’s a heck of an improvement.

But still not enough to make it less dirty than hockey and basketball, according to Slate:

Hockey and basketball are cleaner than baseball mostly because their games take place in smaller venues and they play shorter schedules, thus attracting fewer fans; the average NBA franchise gets 728,037 paying customers per year, while the NHL average is 678,440. Basketball is almost certainly the greener of the two indoor sports, since keeping an ice rink frozen requires more energy than maintaining a hardwood court.

And if you’re wondering where football falls on the list, it’s somewhere between baseball and hockey, Slate writes. It offers all the big carbon-footprint of a large stadium, but without the frequency of play. Plus, the Jacksonville Jaguars demonstrated their regard for the environment by tweeting this today:

The one omission from the Jaguars’ celebratory #EarthDay post:  The mighty jaguar is classified as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers, the MLB team whose mascot isn’t just threatened, but endangered, tweeted nothing. Earth Day strike out.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Matt Bonesteel · April 22

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