|Wednesday, May 8
Damp balls dropping run production at Coors?
DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies are keeping their baseballs nice and damp with the blessing of major league baseball.
It's not known whether that's why there's been a dramatic and welcomed fall in run production at Coors Field -- a decrease in combined scores by at least 35 percent.
The Rockies, with permission from the major leagues, are storing their balls in a humidity- and temperature-controlled room near their clubhouses, The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News reported Wednesday.
Rockies president Keli McGregor said the room keeps the humidity at 40 percent, compared with 10 percent or less humidity often felt in the city.
"This is something we can control so that the baseball can remain compliant with the specifications set by major league baseball. We're really in the test stage, knowing that the balls dry out," McGregor said.
It seems to be working.
In their first seven Aprils, the Rockies and their opponents combined to score 15.1 runs per game. This April, the average total score at Coors was 9.8 runs.
"I had no clue," pitcher Shawn Chacon said. "Are you kidding me? I guess it's worth trying anything to make it like pitching at other places."
Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd is not a believer. He thinks his team just hasn't been hitting.
"Isn't the scoring down all over baseball?" McGregor said.
Scoring is off in 22 of baseball's 30 ballparks.
Through the first 16 games at Coors, scoring is off 4.69 runs a game -- 2.15 greater than the park with the second-biggest run decrease, San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.
There also have been 1.42 fewer home runs per game at Coors, again the greatest decrease in the majors.