Last Thursday ESPN and San Francisco Giants announcer Jon Miller appeared on KNBR-AM in San Francisco and said the Colorado Rockies may be manipulating the supply of humidor-stored baseballs at Coors Field to suit their needs in certain game situations.
More specifically, Miller inferred that the Rockies may be providing umpires with harder, humidor-free baseballs when behind, to give the home team a better chance of scoring runs.
It wasn’t a coincidence that Miller’s accusation came the morning after the Rockies scored nine runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Cardinals 12-9. Miller used that game as one example of his theory.
Excerpts of Miller’s comments:
“There’s a feeling that the Rockies are doing something with the humidor-stored baseballs, and sometimes late in games when the Rockies need help, that some non-humidor baseballs slip into the mix. Nobody has been able to prove it.
“It would be interesting to see what Tony LaRussa has to say about it right now. The Giants felt like something was going on when they were there in that regard. … To me it’s something that baseball needs to address.
“Maybe the Rockies are just doing extremely well but there is some question here … and I’d like to see baseball take some action in that regard.”
Miller suggested that in order to prevent any alleged impropriety with the Coors Field baseballs, balls to be used during games should be stored out in the open behind home plate.
One problem though with Miller’s theory: Before each game attending umpires rub up the baseballs to be used that night. The umps use a special kind of mud that’s rubbed into the balls to help remove the slickness from the new balls.
Of course, if the Rockies wanted badly enough to slip in their own baseballs, I guess they could rub some up themselves and drop them into the umpire supply during a game, but does Miller really think Colorado is taking it that far? (Apparently, yes.)
Though MLB has always claimed to monitor the humidor, the league could do a better job in the transparency of process - and not just take the Rockies word on how the baseballs are stored and what balls make it to the umpires each evening.
Though as noted by Troy Renck of the DENVER POST, it’s more than a little ironic that the man who called countless Barry Bonds‘ steroid-era games is now advocating for transparency as it pertains to the rules of baseball.