I Find No Humidor in That

The General Managers meetings begin in Naples Florida tomorrow. It is a chance for all 30 teams to come together and it officially signals the beginning of the off season trading period. From now until February baseball fans everywhere will surf the internet, scan the sports pages, and spend countless hours digging through any communications they can find from their favorite team to try to try and understand what they are doing to be better than last season. But it’s not all parties and talking to players agents at the GM meetings, there is some serious business to be conducted by groups within the commissioner’s office. One such item is being led by former Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. Joe Jr. is to address all of the clubs to discuss the potential addition of a humidor in each stadium.

Before anyone gets too excited thinking that Major League Baseball may be opening a cigar bar at each stadium, we probably ought to clarify what is going on. Last season the Colorado Rockies began storing their baseballs in an environmentally controlled humidor from the time that the balls arrived at the stadium until they were used at game time. The result was that the average number of runs allowed at the launching pad Cape Coors dramatically fell making Coors Field (I shudder even saying this) a neutral park for hitters and pitchers alike. For the first time in their history the Rockies had a starting pitcher with an ERA of less than 4. Major League Baseball is now considering adding a humidor at every stadium for storing baseballs to make the parks consistent throughout the league. It will be interesting to see how well this is received by both the teams and the fans. Most casual baseball fans like high scoring games with lots of home runs. If adding a climate controlled baseball to the mix and games go back to 2-1 pitching duals it may have a negative impact on attendance and fan interest. In Colorado last season several managers and players complained that the ball seemed almost mushy or soft so there are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the practice of storing baseballs in a humidor. This may be a short-term study or may be the beginning of an effort by MLB to further homogenize baseball to be as consistent as a hamburger at McDonalds. Let’s hope the game doesn’t become that bland.

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