The retirement of Kevin Brown vaulted Jeff Cirillo near the top of the ranks of Professional Sports’ Lamest Public Figures. Earlier this week, Cirillo spoke out against Colorado’s ball-soaking, a practice he alleges is directly responsible for Coors Field hosting more shutouts than any park in the big leagues this season. While Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheenan admires Cirillo’s candor, Bad Altitude’s Mark Donoue isn’t so easily impressed. After all, this is still Jeff Cirillo.
Sheehan has written before, and reiterates here, that he believes that nothing should be done differently to baseballs in Denver than anywhere else. As a baseball fan, he likes the existence of unique environments. As a Rockies fan, however, I strongly disagree. I’d really like to see my team in the playoffs one of these years, and the scoring sprees of the Planet Coors of old were doing the Colorado franchise no favors with the psychological and physical toll it was taking on pitchers and hitters wearing purple.
Of course, proving that the humidor is turning Coors into a pitchers’ park is one thing. Claiming that the Rockies are using two separate groups of balls, one from the humidor for the visitors and one dry set for the home team’s at-bats, is another thing entirely. That’s what Jeff Cirillo was trying to pin on his former team, and as the Rockies broadcasters have been pointing out at length during the last two games, it’s completely ridiculous. The umpires take the balls directly out of the humidor. There’s no possible way the Rockies could cheat in that manner even if they were sleazy enough to try. Which I don’t think they are. Doesn’t anyone remember two months ago when everyone was talking about the Colorado Clubhouse for Christ?
So, in short, Joe Sheehan is smart, although I disagree with his contention that pre-humidor Coors was in any way, shape, or form good for baseball. (And Cirillo, as an immense number of angry Rockies fans have represented to me over the past few days, is a terrible excuse both for a third baseman and a human being.)
The Red Sox beat the Devil Rays, 3-2 at the Trop this evening, with Jonathan Papelbon picking up his 30th save after pitching a 1-2-3 9th inning. David Ortiz hit a pair of solo home runs, the second of which broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 8th, and Curt Schilling (7 IP, 4 K’s, 2 walks, 9 hits, 2 earned runs) earned his 14th win. Though this defeat put Tampa Bay 20 games under .500, D-Rays OF Rocco Baldelli can take considerable solace in the artistry of styrofoam cup carving. (link courtesy Joel Hunt)
(Lugo, Hall and Hendrickson, a virtual Mount Sucksmore of beverage cups)