clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Coors Lite?

So what is up with Coors Field? In 2005, an average of 11.09 runs per games were scored in Denver. Coming into this series, the average through the first 56? A mere 9.07, more than two runs per game less. Perhaps the most striking stat is that before this year, there was one 1-0 game in Coors Field history. There have been three already this season. And overall, output has declined severly, both for the Rockies and their visitors:

                 BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Rockies: 2005  .300 .366 .460 .826 
         2006  .279 .346 .437 .783 
Visitors: 2005 .295 .365 .457 .822 
          2006 .267 .333 .421 .754 

This shows that the dropoff is significantly more for their opponents than for Colorado, which has inevitably led to the arrival of some conspiracy theories - most recently, according to the Milwaukee Brewers' Jeff Cirillo:

Cirillo said that on Monday he compared a baseball from Milwaukee that Brewers first base coach Dave Nelson used to hit fly balls to the outfielders with one from that night's game. The one from Denver was spongy, puffy and heavy, he said. "One looked like a round ball and the other looked like an oblong ball," Cirillo said. "And even some of the infielders said when they were throwing across the diamond, the ball felt a little heavy."

My first instinct was to take a look when Cirillo comes to bat - you might be able to see the edge of his tin-foil hat peeking out from underneath his helmet. ;-) However, Baseball Prospectus looked into his claims and while doubting balls are switched depending on the team, they concluded, "Jeff Cirillo is right. The baseballs in use at Coors Field have been modified in a way that completely changes the game played there. Where batted balls used to go for hits, extra-base hits and home runs, they now become outs. If you want to give some credit to the Rockies' pitchers, you can, but the primary reason is the humidor."

In general, this is not something I think should be permitted - while I've mocked the "pinball" played in Coors Field, it is a natural result of the location. If MLB didn't want it to happen, they shouldn't have put the franchise there, it's as simple as that. Memo to baseball management: Colorado has not been at sea-level since the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and Cher was on her first farewell tour. Changing the game to fit into a specific park, is almost as stupid as those suggestions to amend the rules on intentional walks, because of Barry Bonds.

I note that Chase Field now has the second-highest park factor in the majors. So in the interest of homogeneity [today's two-bit word], perhaps we should store baseballs in Baxter's sweaty armpits before the games? Or just keep them at the bottom of the pool? [Better yet, keep Baxter at the bottom of the pool...] The differences between parks is part of what makes baseball the great sport it is. All NBA and NFL games take place within the same dimensions, but Fenway's Green Monster, Wrigley's ivy and even Chase's outfield caroms are intrinsic to their character, and the altitude of Coors is no different. These variations should be embraced and celebrated, rather than authorities seeking to diminish their impact.