Monday, June 11, 2012

Downtown destination for the Sky Sox?

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 2:33 PM

A view of the outfield walls at Security Service Field.
  • Flickr/ilovemypit
  • A view of the outfield walls at Security Service Field.

Security Service Field, where the Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox play, has been a hot topic recently, with Mayor Steve Bach saying he'd love to move the team from its northeast location to downtown. It would be great for locals in the area looking for something to do after 5 p.m., and developers who own land around some of the various proposed sites would cash in like it's payday.

But there's another reason to move the outfields off the outskirts: it's, like, crazy windy out there.

For years, the main problem for the team, as well as its Major League Baseball affiliate in Denver, was the altitude and the mountain climate: It was drying out baseballs, making them imminently crushable through the thin air. The Colorado Rockies installed a humidor at Coors Field about a decade ago and saw a regression from football-level scores, and the Sky Sox finally followed suit this year.

So, all the problem are solved, right? Eh, not exactly.

"This park itself is an absolute joke," Sky Sox pitcher Carlos Torres told the Denver Post on Saturday. "Humidor or not, it's bad. More so, it has to do with wind. If the wind is blowing out, the thing is going to fly out a trillion and a half miles. I never saw pre-humidor, but even with the humidor, the ball is still flying all over the place here."

Batters see the opposite problem, reported the Gazette's Brian Gomez last week.

“The scores of the games are down, and the times of the games are down, so it must be doing something,” Sky Sox outfielder Tim Wheeler said. “It’s good for pitchers, I guess.” Recovered from an injured hand, Wheeler struck a ball Monday “that I hit good enough, a lot of parks, it would have been a homer,” he said. “But the wind was howling in, too.”

So, with the humidor issue taken care of, it seems there are still some downsides out there. This is particularly relevant, because Rockies upper management has mentioned potentially looking at other teams and Triple-A cities to partner with because grading up-and-coming players is nearly impossible considering local outside factors. That would mean the Sky Sox having another parent club to serve as Triple-A affiliate.

Of course, Sky Sox ownership has objected to any kind of move for one simple reason: the park's paid off and doing better than ever attendance-wise.

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