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Monday, January 30, 2012

Sky Sox humidor not dead, not living

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 2:23 PM


Back in October, our executive editor Ralph Routon opined, using info from the Denver Post, that the hometown AAA team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, may be in danger of being moved.

To their credit, the Rockies finally have decided to do something they should have done years ago: They're planning to install a humidor for the Sky Sox, similar to one they've had since 2002 at Coors Field. When game balls are stored in a humid environment, they don't dry out and, because they're heavier, don't carry as far. They also act more normally for pitchers.

The local humidor would be a huge benefit to the Colorado Rockies club, because, while there's one softening up the "pop" of baseballs in the thin air of Denver, there's nothing for pitchers and hitters down here. This means, on the downside, pitchers' numbers balloon; on the upside, hitters' numbers balloon.

But great or not, Troy E. Renck told us yesterday that no action has happened on the issue.

There's no greater example of how tough pitching in Colorado Springs was last season than Clayton Mortensen, shipped to Boston for new starting second baseman Marco Scutaro. The sinkerballer went 2-4 with a 3.86 ERA with the Rockies last season but 2-8 with a 9.42 ERA for the Sky Sox.

The lack of progress by several pitchers and the difficulty of evaluating hitters prompted discussion of adding a humidor to store baseballs in Colorado Springs. As of now, the Rockies haven't committed to the idea, but it has not been dismissed either.

"We are still studying the possibility," [general manager Dan] O'Dowd said. "We are not sure yet."

Meanwhile, at least the Rockies have extended their player-development contract with the Sky Sox, meaning their relationship will continue at least through 2014.

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