9/26/2010

Humidor 101: (For Freaks Only)

No matter what happened to the Giants at Coor's Field, it's not the humidor's fault. Friday night, Tim Lincecum, in the middle of a sixth inning where the Rockies scored their only run, was caught by Giants television tossing a ball back to home-plate umpire Laz Diaz, and mouthing the words "juiced balls," with a couple of expletives added in. 

What did the Giants think, or speculate? Well, for the last few years, the Rockies have used a humidor to store baseballs, which keeps them from drying out and takes away some of the Coors Field effect that caused so many crazy games in the park's first few years. The speculation was that the Rockies might have mixed in some non-humidor balls, to use when their batters were at the plate.

This week, after the issue was raised twice in the San Francisco Chronicle , including a Scott Ostler column that flat-out said that "The Giants are about to get cheated in Denver," the Giants talked to MLB about it. Just before Friday's game began, MLB official Mike Port spoke with umpire John Hirschbeck, and asked him to keep a close eye on the balls.

Saturday, Hirschbeck planned to walk to the humidor and oversee the process of bringing the balls to the field. But even on Friday, when Hirschbeck was umpiring at second base, he kept an eye on the ball bag during the game.

"There's nothing going on," Hirschbeck said. "I'll watch so MLB has their mind at ease, so the people at MLB headquarters can sleep easy."

Lincecum, allowed the Rockies just two hits (and no home runs) in a 2-1 Giants win Friday Night. On Saturday, Lincecum and the Giants seemed to understand that raising the humidor issue didn't really suit them in the middle of a pennant race. I went to the game Saturday against the Giants and arrived early in hopes I could get some pictures at batting practice. Usually the players and pitchers who aren't scheduled to start end up shagging the balls during the batting warm ups. Lincecum was one of them in the outfield and when they were done he ran into the dugout while the media people and fans called out his name and asking him to comment on his speculations. He just smiled and put his head down and didn't make eye contact with anyone. 
One side note, Lincecum said he ran into Tulo in the weight room before Saturdays game. He said that Troy told him 'Good game', and that they couldn't even get them with their juiced balls.


Colorado going to the playoffs? Doubtful. They are four games back, even after the win Saturday night against the Giants. The wild card? Who knows. But one thing about the Rockies, they played Saturdays game as if they WERE in a playoff position. When Tulo hit the walk off double in the 10th inning, they celebrated like they had won the World Series! 


 

1 comment:

  1. The thing I find slightly weird about this is that no one else has to put their baseballs in a humidor. So it's not like they're doctoring the balls. It's strange to think a non-doctored ball would be thought of as a "juiced ball". And how many years did they play at Coors without the whole humidor thing? Obviously, the stats support the huge offensive surge that comes with playing there, but it's venturing into pretty weird territory when you suddenly have a controversy because a team is supposedly not preparing their equipment in a certain non-standard way that no one else has to deal with.

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