If the words of baseball statesman Jeff Cirillo weren’t convincing enough, you can add Orioles analyst Buck Martinez to the chorus of those suspicious of the Rockies’ humidor habit. From the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders.
“A 2-1 game, in 18 innings? That’s dramatic proof that something’s going on,” Martinez said. “I don’t understand why nobody is looking into this.
“To me, it’s changing the fundamentals of the game. It’s like going to a pitcher’s park and letting hitters use aluminum bats.”
Martinez did concede that the Rockies’ pitchers are better than in the past, but the use of the humidor disturbs him.
What disturbs O’Dowd is the idea that the Rockies are somehow altering baseballs to meet the team’s needs.
“I think there is some national perception that we are doing something different with the baseballs,” O’Dowd said. “That’s just nottrue. We are storing them to the (baseball) manufacturer’s specifications like we have always stored them before.”
The humidor, technically an environmental chamber that was first used in 2002, is set at 40 percent humidity so that baseballs don’t dry out in Denver’s arid, high-altitude climate. Dry baseballs are harder, fly farther and are difficult for pitchers to grip.
O’Dowd pointed out that Rockies starters had logged nearly 750 innings, more than any other team in the NL. He also said the Rockies’ strikeouts (358) to walks (190) ratio at Coors Field displays how well the staff is pitching.
“I would hope people are giving our pitchers credit for their performance,” he said. “I think that’s where there’s been dramatic improvement.”
As for the 18-inning, 2-1 game, O’Dowd viewed it more as a prime example of the Rockies’ offensive ineptitude. The Rockies were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position