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Can you imagine Coors Field as a pressurized dome?

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Baseball at Coors Field is a different beast than baseball elsewhere. We all know that. Altitude makes the ball fly farther and break less and the thinner air tires out players faster than their counterparts closer to sea level.

For years the Rockies have tried to figure out ways to deal with that, changing everything from roster composition to player usage to conditioning to the size of the fences. And, most famously, they have used a humidor in order to attempt to keep the baseballs from flying as far as they do when they get dried out.

In the latest Sports Illustrated Albert Chen has a fascinating story of the history of the Rockies efforts to deal with baseball at altitude. Some of those efforts were basically nuts:

They have hired a slew of consultants. For every idea that has been put in place, dozens have been discussed but either scrapped or set aside. Years ago officials considered turning the ballpark into a dome and pressurizing it to mitigate the effects of the thin air. More recently the front office and training staff discussed converting the entire home clubhouse at Coors Field into a hyperbaric chamber to help players recover in an environment where there’s a lack of oxygen.

That dome idea may be the most insane thing ever. Partially because of the cost and logistics, but mostly because one of the best things about Coors is the view. Good that got scrapped.

Beyond all of that, it’s a fascinating story, with a lot of time spent walking down memory lane. Sometimes their bad memories — Rockies’ bullpen coach Darren Holmes has to relive his memories of getting shelled at Mile High Stadium in 1993 — but some are just funny. Like how the Braves would manipulate their rotation in order to have whichever of their future Hall of Fame starter was having the best season avoid Coors starts so their stats wouldn’t get messed up and negatively impact their chance at a Cy Young Award.

Good times. For hitters anyway.

 

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.