It’s that time of year again…
By the Denver Baseball Observer (DBO)
Every year at about this time (slightly later in 1995 and 2007) the Rockies’ management commissions their paid shills at the Denver Post to roll out their excuses for the previous failed season. They do this as part of their marketing plan for next season, reasoning that if the fans think next year will be better they will continue to buy season tickets or at least plan to attend games and continue to buy licensed merchandise (apparel and other junk emblazoned with Colorado Rockies logos).
This year their paid spokesman is Patrick Saunders, a longtime sportswriter at the Post, whose article “Mile-high madness (20 years of baseball at altitude)” appears on page 1CC of the Sunday, September 16, 2012 edition. There is also another version of the article on the denverpost.com web site, but that version may change, so this article is based on the print version. The Baseball Observer considers Mr. Saunders, as well as most of the other sportswriters at the Post, paid shills because their parent company is also one of the Rockies’ owners, and they are recipients of substantial gifts from the Rockies, including press box privileges, which are not given to objective reporters. The stories written by Mr. Saunders and his peers at the Post frequently contain statements and opinions from Rockies’ management presented as facts, the aforementioned article is no exception.
The article begins with one of these statements “baseball played at high altitude is a game of a very different color”. This is the favorite excuse of Rockies management that is trotted out frequently, but has no basis in fact. There are other baseball clubs at high altitude, Albuquerque and Colorado Springs are two examples, where baseball has been played for much longer than the Rockies have existed and yet teams there have had winning traditions and have continued. The Denver Bears won several minor league championships in Denver before they were banished by the arrival of the Rockies. The Baseball Observer attended numerous Bears games at Mile High Stadium and never heard anyone, from fans to reporters, to players to team management, complain about how difficult it was to play baseball at altitude. Baseball is certainly not the same in Denver as it is in Los Angeles or New York, for example, but the differences are minor and inconsequential. If you believe the Rockies and the Denver Post, then you also believe that if the Yankees moved to Denver, they would never win another World Series.
Patrick (May I call you Patrick?) writes in the article that the Rockies General Manager, “Dealing” Dan O’Dowd, is planning to take extraordinary measures to address the situation of playing baseball at 5,280 feet, or actually 5,183 feet, the precise elevation of Coors (nee Molsen) Field. However, the Post writer found that Mr. O’Dowd’s intentions were not clear, as he illustrated with this quote:
“Number one, I don’t want to make us appear that we are making excuses. Number two, I don’t want to make it sound like an insurmountable problem. I don’t want to convey a sense of hopelessness. That’s not how I feel.” (Actually the Post wrote it as “No. 1 and No. 2” but since they didn’t indicate how O’Dowd made it clear that he was abbreviating, I spelled them out.)
And this one:
“We now realize where we are at and where we play. I think we need to attack it in unique ways that create an opportunity and a competitive advantage for us. … There is not going to be one easy answer to any of this.”
The Rockies have played in Denver for almost 20 years now, and O’Dowd has been the GM for 13 of them. Doesn’t it seem that he and the rest of the Brain Trust must be incredibly dense to take that long to figure out where they play? Did you still think you were in Cleveland, Dan?
Mr. Saunders then brought a Mr. Bill Gievett into the article. Mr. Gievett now shares the GM duties with Mr. O’Dowd, at his own recommendation. It is easy to see why: even though Mr. Gievett claims to have “been in the game forever”, be echoes O’Dowd’s claims that something “nontraditional” must be done in order to win games in Denver. He thinks, along with O’Dowd, that the thousands of fans clamoring for new management are wrong, because they have finally figured it out and good times are coming.
At this point, I, as the Baseball Observer must interject. The fans who think new management is required to fix the problems with the Rockies are absolutely correct. In fact, it is so obvious anyone with a brain should see it. What does that say about the owners? Anyway, here is the considered opinion of the Baseball Observer:
The statements attributed to the Rockies’ co-GM’s are, if true, are simply insane if taken at face value. To explain this, look at the Oakland Athletics and their success chronicled in “Moneyball”. The Athletics, Billy Beane, and others have studied baseball to see how to win and they found it was really very simple. Baseball is a game with fixed rules. There is no room for innovation or nontraditional methods, unless you change the rules to your advantage, which is not going to happen. The A’s figured out that to win, you really only need two things: great fundamentals and good players. All things being equal, the teams with the most effective pitchers win, so most of the emphasis in stocking any team should be to get the best pitchers possible. After that, use scientific evaluation techniques to get the best combination of hitting and fielding at each position. The A’s excelled because their evaluation techniques, based on the principles of Bill James’ Sabermetrics allowed them to find excellent players that were overlooked by other teams. They also imposed their system on all employees including the players, to insure that everyone was going in the same direction and used fundamentally correct methods. These same principles make for successful organizations in any endeavor, they are not rocket science.
The Rockies do not win consistently for one reason: the owners do not want to win and are not committed to it. The Monforts obviously enjoy running the Rockies with all the fun and power that it brings and are not driven to turn the franchise into a consistently high-performing team. That would require too much money, hard decisions, and loss of control – it wouldn’t be fun anymore. So, they are content to hire people they like rather than winners and leaders, and to continue with the same approach they have for the last 20 years and just try to dupe the fans into thinking they are working hard to build a winner.
All of these other “problems” the Rockies consistently cite: the poor record on the road, pitchers who can’t pitch in Colorado and hitters that can’t hit anywhere else, high burnout rates and frequent injuries, dry baseballs, etc., etc., are just diversions to take everyone’s eyes off of the real reasons for the teams mediocrity: owners that will not bring in the best players and administrators because they don’t care about winning. For them, it really is not about winning or losing but how much fun they can have playing the game.
In the end, probably the smartest guy the Rockies every had was Dante Bichette, who was quoted as saying the only thing that made sense in the article:
“It’s going to be tough to ever perform well on the road for Colorado.”
“That’s why you have to hammer people at home.”
There are a number of philosophies that would produce winners here in Colorado. One of them would be to build a team that is unbeatable at home like they were in the early years. That approach filled the stadium and took them to the playoffs in 1995. Another would be to follow the A’s example. But in the end the Monforts will probably follow the same model they have always followed, with the same results. And the only ones that will be happy and satisfied will be themselves and their cronies in the expensive seats down on Blake Street.
But there is one thing about the Colorado Rockies situation that bothers the Denver Baseball Observer. Monfort, the two-headed monster that owns the team, had a similar situation with the Monfort Slaughterhouse in Greeley, Colorado. They inherited the business and didn’t have to do anything but enjoy themselves and rake in the profits, yet they decided to sell it. Why? Maybe they were bored, or they were afraid they would drive it into the ground and have nothing left. In any case, they sold the goose that laid the golden egg, as the saying goes, and ended up buying the Rockies. Maybe that same feeling of foreboding is beginning to creep up on them like the dark shadow of doom, and they are thinking of selling the team or moving it to another location where they will not have to constantly battle the evil specter of high altitude.
I hear Portland is in the market for a Major League team. Maybe Monfort knows how sick the fans are of their lame excuses, losing records, and the same smiling faces, and they are doing it on purpose! Think of the movie Major League, only without the sexy owner, and change the move from Cleveland to Florida, to Denver to Portland. It sounds like just the kind of thing the Monfort would do.
Postscript: The Denver Baseball Observer was confused today, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, when he/she/it noticed an article in the Denver Post by Terry Frei asserting that he was sick of the excuses being made by the Rockies, too. Then the DBO realized that it has begun already, and that Frei is part of the plan to make everyone hate the Rockies and smooth the path for the Monfort to take the team to Oregon. Maybe we can get the Bears back.
Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category
It’s that time of year again…
After the second disappointing year in a row (and 18th of 19), what can loyal fans of the Rockies expect in the future?
We can expect more of the same, because the Monfort brothers are unwilling and incapable of doing any better.
Yes fans, your team owners are running your team more as a pleasant diversion, a hobby if you will, rather than a serious enterprise. They just want to keep it going, making as much money as possible and avoiding using any of their personal funds, so they can enjoy it until they die, then can pass it on to their kids for their amusement.
The only time Colorado went to the World Series was a total fluke, ended quickly by a serious team, the Boston Red Sox. You see, Boston, like most other baseball teams, is owned and run by professional sports managers who intend to use all of their resources to win or know the reason why.
On the other hand, our Rockies are just a fun pastime for a couple of accidental millionaires who made their money the old fashioned way – by inheriting it. They got control of the Rockies the old fashioned way, too – through political hijinks and criminal activity by others.
The Monforts benefitted from the illegal activities of one of the original owners, Mickey “Mouse” Monus. After Mr. Monus’ problems became public, in order to keep the franchise in Colorado somebody whose reputation was at least not totally sullied had to step forward and take his place in the ownership group. Thus, the Monforts and Jerry McMorris were recruited and practically given the team because they weren’t convicted criminals and appeared to have a lot of money.
Jerry later had his own financial problems and was rousted by the Monforts who took total control over the team in 2005 – the rest is history.
Dick and Charlie Monfort have been very consistent in the way they operate the Rockies. They might tell you they are following the “Moneyball” blueprint made famous by Billy Bean and immortalized in the book and movie. “Moneyball” is based on using scientific and statistical methods to devise a playing strategy and then getting players that fit into that system.
“Moneyball” was successful for the Oakland A’s, and later for other teams using the same philosophy, mainly because it involved getting players that other teams using conventional scouting methods were not recruiting, making those players cheaper and more effective.
The Rockies are not using the “Moneyball” philosophy, which is obvious from their draft record, coaching decisions, and style of play.
The Monfort brothers are outspoken proponents of developing talent through their farm system only because it is cheaper. If you look at the trades they have made, notably the most recent blockbuster involving Ubaldo Jimenez, they are usually dumps of highly paid stars, with questionable players in return.
For years they have stuck with Dan O’Dowd as the General Manager in spite of his lack of performance. They only seem to hire mediocre (Tracy, Bell) or totally inexperienced (Baylor, Hurdle) managers, with the notable exception of Jim Leyland who has had spectacular success everywhere else he has been. Makes you wonder what the brothers did to make sure he did not succeed in Colorado, doesn’t it?
The Baseball Observer even suspects that the Monforts only put the humidor in to save money on lost baseballs on homeruns by the Blake Street Bombers. If the fans had a vote, they would probably want to junk the ball moisturizer and go back to the days when the Rockies were unbeatable at home and thrilling to watch. How many times these days do you hear a spontaneous, deafening roar of “GO! Rockies!” as you did in the early years at Mile High Stadium and Coors Field when the Blake Street Bombers roamed the earth?
Don Baylor is moving to Phoenix! http://baseballobserver.blogspot.com/2010/10/baylor-lands-in-phoenix-with-thud.html
April 9, 2010. According to the Denver Post, the Mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, said of the Rockies: “They’re going to the World Series, and I will put their flag on top of City Hall, dye my hair purple for a day, and pour beer before the game at the Sandlot.”
“In 1995, Adolph Coors Company paid $15 M for the naming rights to Coors Field. The deal is for an indefinite period of time. This was Major League Baseball’s first open-ended naming rights arrangement.”
Even though they paid for the whole shebang, the taxpayers of the metro Denver area got nothing in return for Coors Brewing permanently stamping their name on Denver’s baseball stadium. Not only that, but Coors, now Miller/Coors, got the deal of the century. First, the Rockies sold them the naming rights for 15 million dollars for FOREVER! Second, newspaper articles claim that the Rockies were supposed to share the revenue with the Stadium district (consisting of Denver and surrounding cities), but NEVER DID. Let us compare that to other stadiums, shall we? Citizens Bank named Philadelphia’s stadium for $95 million over 25 years, or $3.8 million per year. Since the Phillies opened the stadium in 2004, they have already earned $19 million before this year started. CitiCorp is paying the Mets $20 million per year for 20 years, or $400 million! In fact, even the lowest priced naming deal is almost DOUBLE the amount Coors paid the Rockies! Many of the other stadiums are in much smaller market areas with far less attendance, too! And remember, the average annual price goes down every year, because it is FOREVER!
One other small detail should be disclosed in connection with this travesty. Namely, that Coors is a part owner of the Rockies! Can you say “conflict of interest”? If Coors and the Monforts wanted to show their fans, as well as the taxpayers, that they are not greedy and dishonest, and are grateful for the support of local government and fans, they would renegotiate the deal for a reasonable price and SHARE THE MONEY with the people that made them possible in the first place. Don’t hold your breath, though.
|Stadium Name||Sponsor||Home Teams||Avg. $/Year|
|Coors Field||Coors Brewing||Colorado Rockies||$882,353|
|Tropicana Field||Tropicana||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||$1,500,000|
|PNC Park||PNC Bank||Pittsburgh Pirates||$2,000,000|
|Safeco Field||Safeco Corp.||Seattle Mariners||$2,000,000|
|Miller Park||Miller Brewing||Milwaukee Brewers||$2,100,000|
|SBC Park||SBC Communications||San Francisco Giants||$2,100,000|
|Chase Field||JP Morgan Chase||Arizona Diamondbacks||$2,200,000|
|Comerica Park||Comerica||Detroit Tigers||$2,200,000|
|Citizens Bank Park||Citizens Bank||Philadelphia Phillies||$2,300,000|
|Ameriquest Field||Ameriquest Capital Corp.||Texas Rangers||$2,500,000|
|Great American Ball Park||Great American Insurance||Cincinnati Reds||$2,500,000|
|Petco Park||PETCO||San Diego Padres||$2,700,000|
|U.S. Cellular Field||U.S. Cellular||Chicago White Sox||$3,400,000|
|Progressive Field||Progressive Insurance||Cleveland Indians||$3,600,000|
|Minute Maid Park||Coca Cola||Houston Astros||$6,000,000|
|Citi Field||CitiCorp||New York Mets||$20,000,000|
Data from ESPN and ballparksofbaseball.com, as well as independent research.
©Copyright 2011, The Baseball Observer
Here it is fans, the beginning of another year of baseball with the mighty Colorado Rockies and the Denver Baseball Observer. The 2009 baseball fiscal year, the 17th for the Rockies, started after the last game of 2008 (September 28), and ends with the last game of 2009, probably October 4th in Los Angeles.
It didn’t take long for the Rockies brass, “Meatboys” Frank and Dudley Monfort, General Manager “Squeelin’” Danny O’Dowd, President/figurehead Leslie McVie, and empty hat manager Clint “Gomer” Hurdle to start off a series of boneheaded moves.
On October 7th, they fired, or in their words declined to renew the contracts of Hitting Coach Alan Cockrell, Third Base Coach Mike Gallego, and Bench Coach Jamie Quirk. They also reassigned Bullpen Coach Rick Matthews within the organization (probably cleaning bathrooms in Bend). This was management’s way of saying, “It wasn’t us, it was them, and now they’re gone”. Only these were pretty good baseball men, who contributed mightily to creating the esprit de corps that catapulted Colorado to the World Series in 2007. They cost themselves at least 10 wins by flushing these guys. They kept pitching coach Bob Apodaca and First Base Coach Glenallen Hill.
They also declined the option of a pretty good reliever, Matt Herges.
On October 14th, the Rockies found out that their number one pick in the 2007 draft, strong-armed reliever Casey Weathers is facing ligament replacement surgery and will be out for the entire 2009 season. He probably would have pitched at triple A Colorado Springs.
October 15th the Denver Business Journal reported that the Rockies’ television ratings for the 2008 season were down, with 4% fewer households tuning in, resulting in a 5.5% ratings drop. Ratings are expected to continue to decline in 2009.
Reliever Luis Vizcaino was arrested for suspected drunk driving on October 27th in Tampa, Florida. The Rockies were not happy.
Less than two weeks later, on November 2nd, 3 time All Star and all time Rockies saves leader Brian Fuentes filed for free agency. The Rockies announced they would not try to resign Fuentes, but they will pursue left-handed pitcher Glendon Rusch, who filed for free agency the next day.
November 11th, 2008 will be remembered by many disheartened Rox fans as the day the music died, when the Rockies shipped superstar left fielder Matt Holliday to Oakland for 3 guys nobody has ever heard of. In real life, it was an OK move because the cheapskate management would never have signed Holliday anyway, and they may have gotten nothing at all for him. Instead of next-to-nothing. Actually, the guys they got for Matt may someday prove to be competent ballplayers. By the way, the guys they got for Holliday are closer Huston “Blake” Street, left handed starter Greg “Egg” Smith, and outfielder Carlos “Double Z” Gonzalez.
But the scariest situation of all occurred the next day, when the Rockies announced they would interview DON BAYLOR on Thursday, November 13th, for one of the vacant coaches jobs. This brought terror to the hearts of all true Rockies fans. Baylor is the symbol of the curse that kept the Rockies from being successful for the first 6 years of their existance. In fact, the Denver Baseball Observer’s first web site was the “Fire Don Baylor” page in 1994, when it was already obvious that he was the worst manager on the face of the earth. Don is also a terrible hitting coach, but it would still be infinitely preferable for him to take Alan Cockrell’s place rather than Jamie Quirk’s. With Jamie Quirk gone, the Rockies needed someone to tell Hurdle what to do during baseball games, and especially to keep him awake. Baylor would be sleeping right next to Hurdle and nobody would be running the team, which is actually fortunate because both of them are far more productive when they are asleep.
On the same day the Rockies interviewed Baylor, they changed their mind about Fuentes, and offered him arbitration. Was this the first bit of advice from Baylor? If so, it was stupid, as usual.
On November 24th, former Dodgers and Pirates skipper Jim Tracy (562-572 wins-losses) accepted the bench coach position with the Rockies, allowing the team to dodge the surely fatal bullet that Don Baylor would represent in that spot. Now the only position left for Donny is the hitting coach position, something he has done dependably poorly for decades. It is understandable that hitters don’t want to take Don’s instructions, because as the most often beaned player in baseball history, Don’s philosophy at the plate is simply to bend over and let those fastballs hit you in a fleshy part of the body. Lucky for Don, all parts of his body were fleshy, including his head.
This is kind of a role-reversal for Clint and Don, as Hurdle was Baylor’s hitting coach when Teflon Don managed the Rockies (poorly). (Very, very poorly).
On the same day, Colorado announced the hirings of third-base coach Rich Dauer and bullpen coach Jim Wright. Both men were elevated from similar positions in the Rockies’ minor league.
Next, on December 6th, Brian Fuentes officially refused the Rockies’ offer of arbitration, making him a free agent and insuring that he would be wearing another uniform in the near future.
On the 10th of December, the Rockies announced a one-year deal with left-handed relief pitcher Alan Embree for $2.225 million dollars with so-called “mutual options”.
The next day, the Padres took Rox minor league shortstop and future star Everth Cabrera with the third pick in the Rule 5 draft. Following with the seventh pick, the Reds stole Rockies righty David Patton, who is projected to be a star middle reliever with Maddux-like sneaky stuff.
December 12, 2008 will be remembered as the day the Rockies unceremoniously dumped Willy Taveras, a slick fielding outfielder, speedster and fan favorite. The Baseball Observer would like to know why the Rockies gave up on Taveras after hyping him as a guy who would revolutionize the offense with his speed and ability to get on and raise havoc on the base paths. More than that it is very disappointing that the Rockies front office couldn’t manage to put together a deal to get something for someone who obviously has a decade or more of productive years ahead of him.
Also on that same cold day in December, the Rockies ended the dreams of long time farmhand Jonathan Herrera, a 24 year-old infielder who had been in the organization since he was signed out of Venezuela at 17. Herrera played 28 games with the Rockies in 2008, after hitting .310 at Colorado Springs. The Rockies apparently decided Jonathan was not good enough.
But, wait! The next day, December 13th, the Rockies re-signed Herrera to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. What was that about?
On Thursday, the 18th of December, Glendon Rusch, left-handed pitching mediocrity, signed a minor league contract with the Rockies for $750,000 for the year. There was no mention of magic beans.
Talk about your bitter, angry, no-talent sportswriters! Bernie “Linci” Lincicome, the soon-to-be-unemployed hack sports “writer” for the Rocky Mountain News, memorialized earlier on this site for his extremely boorish behaviour, has trumped his earlier forays into the depths of crude writing and rude manners with his latest foray into attempted satire. Saturday, when his paper is the only one published in this one-rag town, “Burnie” took the opportunity to make a weak, spineless attempt at trashing former Broncos coach, Mike Shanahan. In the article, Linci said he was withdrawing his own name from consideration for the position (ha, ha), and then proceeded to suggest alternate careers for Mr. Shanahan, including:
“Ferret impersonator. Or is this too obvious?”
“Furnace repairman. Just as long as someone else takes care of the draft.”
“Opera singer. The game ain’t over till the little man’s eyes turn to slits.”
You get the picture, lame attacks that are as unfunny as they are inaccurate and poorly written. Shanahan is a sure Hall of Fame coach who earned his way with sometimes brilliant coaching that brought two Super Bowl victories to Denver, a gargantuan achievement that is beyond Linci’s ability to comprehend.
Linci is just reinforcing the obvious: that he is a bitter, untalented, know-nothing hack who didn’t have the balls to ask Mike any hard questions during his 14 years in Denver, but now thinks it is cool to pile on with cheap shots now that Shanahan can’t defend himself.
All sports fans will do a little dance when Linci is finally fired and leaves town in ignomy.
The Baseball Observer
November 11, 2008. Strong rumor has it that the Rockies have traded flawed superstar outfielder Matt Holliday to the Oakland Athletics for what amounts to the proverbial bag of beans. As you may recall, another genius predecessor of “Dealin’” Dan O’Dowd, a certain Jack, traded a prized cow (no word on the bovine’s range in left field) for a bag of beans that turned out to be magic and grew into a huge beanstalk, enabling Jack to embark on a life of crime, which in some way involved Oakland’s cross-bay rivals, the Giants.
No such luck in this case, as the Rockies got three young players of dubious talent, according to the “Official” Colorado Rockies web site:
“The Athletics have agreed to send the Rockies relief pitcher Huston Street, left-handed pitcher Greg Smith and outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez.“
Current Rockies players couldn’t even wait until Holliday was out the door before trashing him:
Todd “Gramps” Helton: “How we’ll replace Matt, who is a great guy on a team and a good guy in the clubhouse, I have no idea.“
Troy “Turaluralura” Tulowitzky: “We are going to miss him because he is a great person, a great friend and a great player.“
Ryan “Rye Bread” Spilborghs: “Matt, in my opinion, is the best all-around left fielder in baseball — I can’t think of a better hitter and outfielder.“
The Rockies’ Owners, the unemployed former slaughterhouse operators Mel and Fred Monfort claimed they couldn’t afford Holliday because the franchise wasn’t making any money the last few years after paying the Monforts a billion dollars each as co-chairmen/presidents/poohbahs.
The Monforts, under the promise of anonymity, also verified rumors that they would be dumping the salaries of Atkins and Taveras and replacing them with low paid players currently on the Colorado roster or discarded by other teams. They guaranteed when the 2009 season begins, they would put 9 uniformed players on the field for every single game. After all, they said, after the opening day series with the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, we will already have made a profit for the year because of the sweetheart stadium deal the citizens of Denver have given us. Suckers! Oh, did I say that out loud?
In the past, there were plenty of ex-Rockies in the Fall Classic, leading to easy predicability based on the “Ex-Rockies Factor”. This year is quite different, mainly because the two teams involved, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, are mostly home-grown, built by drafting and developing players rather than trading for or otherwise obtaining players from other teams. This year we have to go beyond the players to the coaching staff for the Rays, where one of the Rockies most beloved coaches now plies his trade, which always seems to lead him to the dugout of one of the World Series participants. I refer, of course, to “duckie” himself, Don “Popeye” Zimmer, the Senior Baseball Advisor for the Rays. Don was the bench coach in the early years with the Rockies until Don Baylor made him so mad that he walked out in the middle of a game and resurfaced that same season in the World Series with the Yankees. Don has won 6 World Series rings and probably wouldn’t mind getting another one this year. He certainly deserves it, because his fingerprints are all over the current Tampa Bay Team. Zimmer’s baseball career can only be described as awesome, as you can see on Wikipedia here.
For the Phillies, Hitting Coach Milt Thompson played for Colorado for three months in 1996, being released on August 2nd, after only batting 15 times in 14 games, mostly as a pinch hitter, batting .067. Even so, Milt was considered one of the best hitters in the game, hitting .288 or better in 7 of his 13 years in the Major Leagues. The Phillies offensive statistics have improved sharply under his tutelage. We will see how he gets his troops to hit in the clutch when they return to Philadelphia after only going 1-28 with runners on base in the first to games of the World Series.
Mick Billmeyer, the Phillies’ Catching Instructor was released by the Rockies in the Spring of 1994, ending his playing career.
Rudy Seanez, a relief pitcher who is currently not on the playoff roster for Philadelphia, actually pitched for Rockies organization in 1993, primarily in Colorado Springs, though he did spend some time on the Major League roster.
Infielder Andy Tracy is also on the Phillies’ inactive roster, who was a September call-up with the Rockies in 2004, hitting .188 in 16 at bats.
Is this enough to invoke the “ex-Rockie Factor”, which, as you recall, the Baseball Observer noted several years ago, which dictates that the team that wins in the playoffs is the one with the fewest ex-Rockies. In other words, ex-Rockies are a jinx in the playoffs, but do inactive ex-Rockies players and active coaches count? The result of the Fall Classic will tell.
Back in May, the Baseball Observer published this observation:
According to this article in NewsOK.com , the Humidifier was a failure from the beginning, contrary to what the full-time nut case and part time sports reporter for the Denver Post, Troy E. (the “E” is for ) has been vociferously claiming for years:
Rockies’ experiment with baseballs backfires
By Bill Sones and Rich Sones, Ph.D.
Strange but True
Q:What was the point of the Colorado Rockies baseball team placing balls in a high-humidity chamber for several months before games? Were they trying to cheat?
A:It was actually done in the name of fair play, New Scientist magazine says. The Rockies play in high-altitude Denver, where the thin air means batted baseballs travel up to 20 feet farther than at sea level. So, the humidity chambers were an attempt to tame down the overexuberant orbs. Then a team of University of Colorado researchers reported that the Rockies may have gotten things backward: Moisture may make the balls fly even farther. They found that two months in humidity of 30 to 50 percent increased the diameter of the balls by 0.24 percent and their mass by 1.6 percent. While it’s true the bigger, heavier, “squishier” balls come off the bat slightly more slowly and experience more drag, the extra mass more than compensates for these effects as the balls “take longer to decelerate,” and so carry farther. Moreover, the moist balls are harder for pitchers to curve and thus easier for sluggers to hit.
This proves, once and for all, what the Baseball Observer has said from the very beginning: there is no scientific or empirical evidence that storing baseballs in a humidifier makes the slightest bit of difference, except, obviously the psychological one.
Since then, a little more information has come afloat from newspaper articles and television reports. It turns out that Major League Baseball decided, in the interest of fairness, that all baseballs, in all parks, should meet minimum requirements for size, weight, and other, less obvious characteristics. Though neither side will admit it, this caused a change in the humidifier procedures at MillerCoors Field. In the above article, you will notice that they talk about storing the balls in the humidor for months (you may also note that we referred to it as a “humidifier” whereas the Rockies insist it is a “humidor”). What is happening now, at the direction of MLB, is that all balls are required to meet factory specifications. So, the heavier, “squishy” balls referred to above, would not be allowed today. Neither would the balls the Rockies used in the first few years at what used to be called Coors Field, because they were improperly stored and too old, dried out, and light weight to meet the standard.
Ideally, the teams should use balls that are as fresh as possible from the manufacturer and store them in a manner that does not change the condition of the ball in any way. If any team stores the balls such that moisure is added or removed, it is illegal. So, the humidor, when it is used legally, has no effect on the baseballs. The widely varying effects we saw in the Rockies first 10 years were likely a result of improperly buying and rotating the balls, then over-humidifying them when they began using the humidor. The Baseball Brass had to step in because of complaints from other teams, so now the Rockies are not altering the baseballs, with more normal results. Which of course means losing. The Baseball Observer wishes they would go back to the hard, dry, slick balls of the early years. They shouldn’t try to think, because they are not good at it. Things were good in those days, they should have left it alone.