Let’s say you’re a pitcher of some repute, and you’re making mad cash at the front end of a long-term contract. You signed with a mediocre team that plays in a hostile environment as part of Revision 12 of that team’s ongoing quest to solve the riddle of their home field.
Continuing our discussion from last week on how to build a team at Coors Field, this time, from the run-prevention side.
This year marks the tenth season of major league baseball in Denver. It is
clear now that none of us fully understood what we were getting ourselves into
when we allowed Rocky Mountain thin air to be unleashed on our national pastime.
Nine years and literally thousands of hanging curveballs, home runs, and
destroyed pitcher psyches later, we’re still trying to wrap our hands around the
conundrum that is baseball at altitude.
(And before you mention the word “humidor”, consider that with the recent run of
explosive offense at Coors Field, the Rockies and their opponents have combined
to score 11.74 runs per home game, compared to 8.61 runs per game on the road –
a 36% increase. It may no longer be the best hitters’ park of all-time – Coors
Field increased run scoring by 58% from 1999 to 2001 – but it’s still the best
hitters’ park of our generation.)
It was an innocent enough question. When I did my column comparing Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel as regards their Hall of Fame resumes (or lack thereof), out of the blue the query came: is Larry Walker a Hall of Famer?
I spent a few hours this morning on the air with Mike Rosen of KOA Radio in Denver. Looking back on the segment–which included Rockies president Kelly McGregor and owner Jerry McMorris–I realize that I probably didn’t articulate just how optimistic I am about this team this year. In an NL West with no great team, the Rockies are a good one, and perfectly capable of winning the division.