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Baseballs Being Stored in Humidor

May 8, 2002

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DENVER (AP) _ The Colorado Rockies are damping their baseballs. And they have the blessing of Major League Baseball.

The payoff has been a dramatic and welcomed fall in run production at Coors Field, a decrease in combined scores by at least 35 percent.

The Rockies, with permission, are storing their balls in a humidity- and temperature-controlled room near their clubhouses.

Rockies president Keli McGregor said the room keeps the humidity at 40 percent, compared with 10 percent or less humidity often felt in the mile-high city.

``This is something we can control so that the baseball can remain compliant with the specifications set by Major League Baseball. We’re really in the test stage, knowing that the balls dry out,″ McGregor said.

It seems to be working.

In their first seven Aprils, the Rockies and their opponents combined to average 15.1 runs per game. This April, the average total score at Coors was 9.8 runs - a 35.1 percent decrease.

``I had no clue,″ pitcher Shawn Chacon said. ``Are you kidding me? I guess it’s worth trying anything to make it like pitching at other places.″

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd is not a believer. He thinks his team just hasn’t been hitting.

``Isn’t the scoring down all over baseball?″ McGregor posed.

While it’s true scoring is off in 22 of baseball’s 30 ballparks, the offensive reduction at Coors Field this season is startling.

Through the first 16 games at Coors, scoring is off 4.69 runs a game - 2.15 runs a game greater than the park with the second-biggest run decrease, San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.

The Rockies are coming off an unusually warm April, yet there have been 1.42 fewer home runs per game at Coors, again the greatest decrease in the majors.

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