Imaginary humidor effects…
Troy E. Renck has a tough job. He’s a baseball writer in what is quickly becoming the smallest professional baseball market in the US, due in large part to his own efforts. He also writes for a paper that considers mediocrity the ultimate goal, much like the Rockies’ management team. Worse, he seems to know very little about baseball in general and has no interest in learning about it. Worse yet, he apparently has no imagination and has such contempt for his readers that he just keeps writing the same old stories over and over again. His favorite these days is the fable that he has concocted, saying that the so-called “humidor” has revolutionized baseball in Denver.
This week’s pathetic installment is entitled “Deflating Coors levels playing field” in the Sports section of Sunday’s Denver Post.
Vague quotes from dubious experts…
Renck starts out by taking a quote out of context from former Rockies outfielder Preston Wilson, referring to Coors field “playing so much different”. Wilson doesn’t refer directly to the baseballs being humidified, but Renck pretends that he does. Next he tries to legitimize his source by saying “Wilson knows power. So when discussing how the game has changed on Blake Street, he has credibility”. This assertion is absolutely ridiculous. How would Wilson know power? What does that mean anyway? Is he saying that any player that hits 30 homeruns or more â€œknows powerâ€?
If Troy E. thinks Wilson is a power expert because he once hit 36 homeruns for the Rockies, than why does he say in another article â€œWith 30 homeruns again meaning something in baseballâ€? He obviously thinks that, during the last few years, hitting 30 homeruns didnâ€™t mean anything, except in the case of Wilson, because he wants to use him as a power expert.
Wilson isnâ€™t really known as a power hitter. This year, he hit 15 in 71 games with the Rockies (10 at Coors) and only 7 in 52 games with Washington, so far. Yes, MORE homeruns at Coors field than anywhere else, so actual statistics with Wilson contradict Renckâ€™s theory.
Next, the vapid Post reporter states: â€œthe humidorâ€™s role canâ€™t be overstated in the transformation of Coors Light Fieldâ€. That statement is obviously false, as he overstates the effect of the humidor (actually a refrigerator) to the extreme continuously.
Lies and Statistics
In an amazing display of just making up numbers to prove his point, Renck says â€œScoring is down 16 percent this season. Homeruns have fallen by 33 percent.â€ Apparently he is comparing this yearâ€™s figures against last year. The Rockies have been using the humidifier since 2002, so any variance can only be attributed to other factors, not the humidifier. Or is his contention that by storing the balls a little longer in the same humidifier, these drastic changes were wrought? If he believes that, he needs more help than we thought.
Actually, Troy also attributes some of the scoring drought to â€œlonger infield grassâ€. Maybe they are using grainier dirt and putting chemicals in the water, too. Anyway, his next conclusion is that it is â€œbeneficial to the franchiseâ€™s long-term healthâ€. That is biggest contradiction of them all. With this new level playing field Renck is so pleased with, the Rockies have the worst record in the National League and their attendance is down over 20% under last yearâ€™s, with less than half the paid admissions of just 7 years ago. Thatâ€™s not healthy for any business.
Another insane statement
â€œThe Rockies can employ one style at home and on the road, instead of constantly trying to reinvent themselves when they board a plane.â€ Yes, and that style is known as LOSING. The Rockies have not improved their record on the road, they reduced their percentage of victories at home. So, they are lousy, but at least they are consistent. Now thatâ€™s what we call â€œbeneficial to the franchiseâ€™s long-term healthâ€.
â€œBefore, with Coors Field hosting Arena Baseball, there was little reason to think the Rockies would ever reach the World Seriesâ€. But now there is, girls and boys, because they are going to have the worst, or second worst win-loss record in franchise history, the lowest attendance ever, and the second to the worst pitching staff in the National League. There are not many people that expect to see the Rockies in the World Series in their lifetime.
And Yet anotherâ€¦
â€œNow itâ€™s possible to consistently pitch well at Coors Field,â€ says the confused scribe. That would be news to anyone who can read statistics, as the Rockies pitching staff is the third worst in Baseball, ahead of only Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City.
And finally, in closing, utter banality
â€œItâ€™s easy to bash the humidor, but the reality is few teams ever slug their way to championships. It (the humidor/refrigerator) appears the best solution to creating a more level playing field at 5,280 feet.â€ That is just another in a long series of unsubstantiated, and erroneous statements. Troy doesnâ€™t give any indication of what he means by slugging, but I would say that both teams in the World Series last year, in large part slugged their way there. And, the same is true for at least one of the teams in the World Series for as long as I can remember, back to the 1959 classic between the â€œGo-Goâ€ White Sox and the punchless Los Angeles Dodgers.
Last, but not least, a word from the pitching coachâ€¦
Renck closes with a quote from Bob Apodaca, who has coached the Rockies pitching staff to near the bottom of the heap: â€œYou look at all the teams in the playoffs every year and the common thread is pitching and defense.â€ Great observation, Bob, so I guess that means if you took Chipper and Andru Jones away from the Braves, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox, and Alex Gonzalez and Gary Sheffield away from the Yankees, etc., they would be just as good. Try this: name a great team with no sluggers, then name a great team with at least two sluggers. Good luck on the â€œno sluggersâ€ teams.
Here is the real truth, which Troy E. Renck should see if he wasnâ€™t living in some dream world.
â€¢ The humidor has little, if any effect on games at Coors field. Any decline in offensive numbers at Coors is more than explained by lack of talent on the Rockies and in the all of Baseball, particularly the NL West, and the end of the Steroid Era, which Renck conveniently ignores, unless it suites his purpose.
â€¢ If the humidor did cause the results attributed to it by Renck, it should obviously be banned by Major League Baseball. No team should be able to manipulate the tools of the game for any reason, even if it isnâ€™t to their own advantage.
â€¢ Nobody wants to see shorter, low-scoring baseball games, as the 2,000,000 plus fans who no longer attend Rockies games will attest.
â€¢ With possibly the worst pitching staff in baseball, the Rockies will not win for years, if not decades without spending money. But the owners wonâ€™t do it.
â€¢ No team wins on pitching and defense alone, and even if they did, no one would come to the games.
â€¢ Renckâ€™s job should be to make baseball more interesting and thus more compelling to fans. Constant harping about electrical appliances and their supposed effect on the game has the opposite effect. Renck and his cronies at the Post are, in large part responsible for the decline of the game in Denver. Thanks, Troy!