I got to step inside the Coors Field humidor.
Unless the Rockies quickly do something dramatic, I fear that may be my highlight from this World Series. In the deepest recesses of this massive ballpark, just down the hall from the Rockies' clubhouse, sits a nondescript silver vault with duct work leading into its roof. Colorado PR head Jay Alves agreed to let some writers peer inside and even walk into one of the most controversial rooms in any ballpark in recent times.
In an effort to cut down pinball-like scoring at Coors, the humidor was brought into the stadium in 2002 almost by accident. An employee in the team's engineering department noticed his leather boots had dried and shrunk over the summer in Denver's thin air and suddenly wondered if the same thing was happening to baseballs. Turns out he was right. A dryer, smaller ball flies further, and was usually sailing over the fence. Colorado pitcher Josh Fogg said Friday pre-humidor balls here felt like cue balls. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca has called them "Titleists".
In 2001, 13.4 runs per game were scored here and there were 268 home runs hit. This year, by contrast, the runs were down to 10.7 and the homers to 185.
The humidor is a 9 foot x 9 foot room kept at 70 degrees with 50 percent humidity. There was room for about five of us in there at a time. The ceiling was only 7 1/2 feet high. How do I know this? The Rockies provided us with an information sheet on the humidor! Too funny.
There were 48 dozen boxes of World Series balls on the metal racks and at least 10-12 are needed for one game. It was eerie. But it was pretty neat to see a place that will get a lot of talk the next few days even though few people will have actually seen it.
(Photo: Associated Press)