At the request of parent Los Angeles Dodgers, the Albuquerque Isotopes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) have installed a baseball humidor for the 2013 season in an effort to keep more balls in the ballpark.
It’s no secret that the ball flies out of Isotopes Park: the numbers don’t lie. It’s also no secret that pitchers can suffer because of the high altitude and hitter-friendly circumstances. In the past the Dodgers have avoided sending top prospects to Albuquerque because of the potential damage to a young pitcher’s psyche.
So the Dodgers have done what the Colorado Rockies have done both on the MLB and Triple-A levels: install a humidor at the ballpark to impart some badly needed moisture to baseballs. And, in a show of confidence, the team has sent potential stars Stephen Fife and Matt Magill to Isotopes Park.
The difference is the humidor, a massive safe-like construction located near the visitors locker room. Hundreds of cases of baseballs are kept locked within its 72-degree, 50 percent humidity environment. Conditioned, softer balls will be removed and delivered to game umpires as needed.
Humidors have been used to soften baseballs in other high-altitude cities, including Denver and Colorado Springs. Pitching statistics have generally improved in those ballparks, but Bundy is taking a wait-and-see approach to Albuquerque’s humidor experiment.
“It may take three or four years before we really know how much difference (the humidor) makes,” [said Isotopes manager Lorenzo] Bundy. “If it takes away some of the cheap home runs we get in this ballpark, that’s great.”
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