The crowd noise at the Minneapolis Metrodome during the World Series reached jackhammer levels and may have affected the motor skills of some players during the second game, according to a report published yesterday in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Dr. Steven Vincent, a Minneapolis physician, wore a noise-measuring dosimeter to Game 2, when Minnesota beat St. Louis, 8-4. He compared his top reading of 125 decibels from a seat in the center field upper deck to the sound of a jackhammer pounding concrete from a distance of five feet.
Based on industrial research done elsewhere, the crowd noise was so loud that "the lopsided score may be related to a fine motor and communication deficit that could have been caused by noise."
So a St. Louis fielder's dexterity may have been thrown off just enough so he couldn't cleanly catch a ball or throw it to first base in time, said Thomas Hawkinson, an industrial hygienist and the report's co-author.
Wouldn't that have hurt the Twins when the Cardinals were at bat? Not necessarily, Hawkinson said.
The crowd tended to erupt in loud noise just as a Twins batter hit the ball. But when a Cardinal hit the ball, there was a relative hush until the ball was safely in the glove of a Twins fielder, Hawkinson said.
Heat also may have helped the Twins, they said. Not only did the enclosed Dome trap noise, but it kept things warmer than at the games played outside in St. Louis. Heat is known to affect some fine motor skills. Heat and noise together can have an added effect on hand dexterity. . . .
General Manager Syd Thrift, the Northern Virginia real estate dealer credited with building the Pittsburgh Pirates from a perennial last-place team into pennant contenders, was named as the city's sportsman of the year by the Post-Gazette Dapper Dan Club.