I’m not sure when the peak of ROCKIES R CHEATING internet was, but it was so hilariously dumb. The short of it was the Rockies started keeping their balls in a humidor without telling Major League Baseball — which was very George Costanza and “Was that wrong of me? Should I not have done that?” — but then it was regulated and normalized. In between there was Mike Krukow grumbling on morning radio shows and Tim Lincecum with his “juiced balls [redacted],” and everybody got mad at somebody.
Man, that was fun.
Years later, we can say with confidence that baseball is approximately 500 percent better with a humidor in Coors Field. The ballpark is still a gaping hellmouth that will consume your childhood memories and friends, but it’s way better than it used to be. It resembles baseball. Bless that humidor.
This comes up now because the Diamondbacks are going to use a humidor to protect the world from their dry, dry actually-humans-shouldn’t-live-here weather:
“We, for the past five or six years, have talked about the idea,” he said. “We talked to former pitchers, whether it’s J.J. Putz or pitchers who have retired or pitchers we’ve traded, and said ‘what did you like, what didn’t you like?’ They all talk about the grip.
This is fair and rational, and we’ll have to make sure not to jump to too many conclusions. A little more moisture might make a substantial difference with the grip, but it doesn’t have to turn the game into a soggy mess of 1-0 finishes.
On the other hand, I’ve never had a problem with how Chase Field has played. Sure, it’s a litter hitter-friendly, especially in comparison to AT&T Park, but not so much that it makes the game an abstraction of what it’s supposed to be.
In the 170 games the Giants have played there, the average score has been 5-4 — more specifically, the distribution over those games led to an average of 4.96 runs for the Giants and 4.3 runs for the Diamondbacks. This doesn’t take into account the average offense of the league, nor does it take into account the pitchers used by either team — think Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, peak Tim Lincecum, et al — but the larger point stands. If Chase Field is a hitter’s park, it’s not a gross, icky hitter’s park.
But baseball is always better for me when the scoring is just a little tougher to come by. Not Wednesday-night-Giants-and-Padres-in-August tough, but a game where home runs are home runs because they had the snot hit out of them, not because the air is warm and dry, or because the field dimensions made it a home run. So if the Diamondbacks want a humidor, I’m tentatively for it.
Changes I would make to other NL West parks:
- Petco Park fences moved in just a little bit more
- Coors Field moved to a giant 5000-foot-deep pit in a hollowed out mountain, where the air is normal and the mountain creatures lurk
- Dodger Stadium attendants absolutely filling the clubhouse with millipedes (home clubhouse only)
- Free hot dorgs throughout AT&T Park
A change to the relative moistness of Chase Field baseballs is probably way down on that list. But it’s apparently coming, and I’m for it more than I’m against it.