Derrick Hall: D-backs humidor could be ahead of MLB-wide trend
Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall isn’t concerned about a projected decline in home runs at Chase Field.
A humidor at the D-backs’ home field will be operating to begin the 2018 season, all despite the fact that it could take away one aspect from one of the more unique climates — and hitter-friendly stadiums — in baseball.
“We should’ve had it last year and we tried and we just weren’t ready,” Hall told Doug & Wolf Thursday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “I think it’s something that’s been necessary in this environment really from the start. We probably should’ve addressed it like the Rockies did early on.”
Colorado’s Coors Field is the only other MLB team with a humidor, a device that keeps baseballs at a controlled temperature and humidity.
Last year, Chase Field and Coors Field each ranked in the top-5 in home run park factors, per ESPN, a statistic that compares the rate of home runs at home versus those on the road.
One study by Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at Illinois, predicts the humidor could decrease Arizona’s home run rate by 25 to 50 percent.
Hall said it’s more about improving pitching grips, something that could help the D-backs’ staff that was third in MLB with a 3.66 team ERA last season.
“There should be consistency throughout all of baseball with the feel, with the grip, with the humidity that’s involved. It’s only going to help our pitchers,” Hall said. “I don’t know that it’s going to have a dramatic effect on our hitters — it’ll have some effect, it should. But overall, our pitchers are going to be so much happier. It’s not going to feel like a cue-ball. They need to grip that thing.
“And eventually, I think it’s going to be a climate control issue all throughout baseball,” Hall added. “That’s why baseball is behind this, MLB has said, ‘Yeah, we want you to build this as well.’ We’ve got it, they’re going to be monitoring it, they’re going to operate it and watch it each and every day.”
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