The Giants are starting their first series at Coors Field in 2016. That means they're closer to playing their last series at Coors Field in 2016. When the Giants play in Coors Field, our souls are removed and stored in a slightly moist environment beneath the stadium.
Except the Giants have had some fun times in Denver. Turn that frown upside-down. It's not all Neifi Perez on their team, Dinger, unlikely comebacks, dingers, and Neifi Perez on our team. There have been fun, thrilling, memorable Giants games at Coors Field. There have been moments.
Look at this dinger, for example:
It hit the Giants sign! Is that a metaphor? Are there still hot takes to glean from it 18 years later? Probably.
Aw, look at that little guy. I hope he didn't feel too bad.
I like watching Bonds hit home runs if we're being perfectly honest.
That was the era of peak Coors Field, when the stadium was truly abhorrent and ridiculous. It's a hitter's park still, and I'm not sure if we'll ever get used to it, but it's a mostly normal hitter's park. With the humidor, it's not that much different from U.S. Cellular or Camden Yards.
So let's travel back to the turn of the millennium. Let's use my favorite tool at Baseball-Reference to estimate what the stats would look like for Giants hitters if they played their entire 2015 season in a run-scoring environment that's similar to Coors Field in 2000.
I love this tool. Click the "more stats" tab under a player's typical page, and then scroll to the bottom. Coors in 2000 is so fun that it's a default setting. We'll just go through the lineup, in order:
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The Giants signed Span to a lucrative yet modest deal because of his injury concerns, but would they have had that opportunity if he were a career .340 hitter?
Probably not! You know that Coors Field inflates stats. The eggheads in the front office know that Coors Field inflates stats. But it would be nearly impossible to dismiss someone like Span, hitting for gaudy averages, stealing bases, and playing a mean center field. He would seem like a star. You would want to believe he was a star.
And you would have signed him to a 10-year deal, and these first 30 at-bats would be freaking you out. Panic!
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I don't know if all of these cats would have threatened .400 every year. Seems that if that were true, the Rockies would have had more players than Larry Walker make strong runs at .400. There's probably a real-life adjustment we should make to these numbers that would take into account human nature, game theory, and the butterfly effect.
But the numbers are fun to look at, so look at those numbers.
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There's our .400 hitter. No big deal, just a plus defensive catcher hitting .413/.490/.672 and leading his team to a championship.
It seems ridiculous, until you remember that actually happened. It was just that the numbers look different because of the context, but Posey was really that good and we got to watch it.
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Fun tidbit: Pence is more than a third of the way to last year's walk total, even though he's 200 plate appearances shy of last year. A sample-size gremlin? Probably! But it's a fun sample-size gremlin.
I really have no idea what it was like to watch 81 games in Coors Field in 2000. It must have messed with your brain.
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This is basically Todd Helton.
/climbs out of window
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In the darkest recesses of Irrational Fan Twitter last year, there were Kris Bryant partisans who were disgusted that Matt Duffy was even getting consideration through July and August. His raw numbers weren't that special!
You don't need Coors to make the counterargument. Here are his numbers through a 2000 lens at AT&T Park.
Add in the Gold Glove-finalist defense, and you get it. Though I suppose that would be the 2000 lens at Pac Bell Park. Wave to Rusty, everyone.
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I'm a little surprised that Crawford's home run total last year didn't spike dramatically, but that's probably evidence in favor of us taking these numbers more seriously, not less. You would draft this version of Crawford in the first round of your fantasy draft. I wouldn't, because my teams are horrible. Let me tell you about the team I put together this y
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Aaaaaand scene. It's not like the 2000 Rockies would have given up on a .316 hitter. So why would the 2016 Giants, he wrote, shaking his head and laughing his ass off, literally?
But this one is a pretty good shorthand for "Coors Field was ridiculous back then" and "this is why all the old-timers still treat Coors Field like a haunted mansion of despair." It made players as awful as Pagan last year look like positives. It made excellent players like Pagan in previous years look like Hall of Famers. It was the funhouse mirror of baseball, and it flew too close to the sun.
I'm glad the Rockies figured out a way to make baseball more normal in Colorado. I'm glad the humidor exists. But there's a small part of me that wants to see Giants hitters put up those kinds of numbers, see them with my own eyes. It would have been a lot of fun.
Also, the 2000 season would just be ending now. But it would have been a lot of fun.
Aw, heck, I'm not made of stone. Here's Barry Bonds.
Barry Bonds's career if he played in 2000 Coors Field his entire career. (This never gets old). pic.twitter.com/LCI0d3UWAD— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) July 25, 2014