Many people have attributed the Rockies rise to NL champions, in part, to their practice of storing baseballs in a humidor. The humidor creates an atmosphere-controlled climate that prevents the balls from hardening and losing their friction, which can happen all too easily in the thin mountain air of Denver. The Rockies have been using it since the 2002 season, and since then the ridiculous offensive
numbers that the park had become know for have declined.
This phenomenon has had numerous benefits for the Rockies. One, Rockie pitchers are less fatigued, both mentally and physically, because they’re not pitching half of their games in an arcade game-style stadium.
Also, as Todd Helton has pointed out, the hitters benefit because they’re more prepared
for pitches that actually break and have movement when they play road games. So, it seems the humidor has been a stroke of genius by the Rockies organization.
Now, the smartest thing they can do is turn it off immediately, bring all those balls out into the Rocky Mountain air, and not touch that humidor again until April. Why? Because a hitter-friendly park favors the team with the better offense, and that team in this series is the Rockies. When you consider the Red Sox will be without one of their key offensive players for the DH-less games in Colorado (either David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, or Mike Lowell will have to sit out), the offensive edge swings even more toward the Rockies.
It would be interesting to see what effect the thin air and hard balls would have on Daisuke Matsuzaka in Game 3. Would his fancy pitches dart and dive like they normally do? Many in Red Sox Nation would tell you that Dice-K doesn’t need any help to screw things up right now, he’s doing fine on his own, but I’m sure the Rockies wouldn’t mind a little extra help. And then there’s the specter of Josh Beckett, the emerging Mr. October Jr., looming in Game 5. Shouldn’t the Rockies be pulling out all the stops to try to throw him off his game, no matter how slight?
The best counter-argument I see is that the Rockies have won 20 of 21 games and shouldn’t be messing with anything right now. That’s fair. But none of those 21 games were against a team as good as the Red Sox and you have to look for every edge you can get.
There’s nothing illegal about storing balls in the normal way, right? So, Rockies, shut down the humidor!
This post was submitted by frequent Umpbump commenter Dan Doogan. If you’d like to submit a post, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If we like it, we’ll publish it.