The Arizona Diamondbacks expect to debut a humidor at Chase Field in 2018, a move that could curb the ballpark’s hitter-friendly reputation.
Over the last several years, the D-Backs have considered installing a humidor at Chase Field. The humidor would store baseballs, with the conditions expected to affect how hard the ball can be hit, and in turn potentially reduce the number of home runs hit at the ballpark.
The D-Backs would not be the first major league team to install a humidor at their home ballpark, as the Colorado Rockies added one to Coors Field back in 2002. Still, it is anticipated that the humidor could have an effect on the action at Chase Field once it is in use. More from The Arizona Republic:
When a ball is stored in a humidor, it absorbs water, decreasing its “coefficient of restitution,” i.e., its bounciness. The lower a ball’s coefficient of restitution, the lower its exit velocity will be. The humidor is also expected to have a more anecdotal benefit for pitchers, who say dry baseballs are harder to grip.
[Diamondbacks General Manager Mike] Hazen said the team would be storing balls “in the range” of 50 percent relative humidity and a temperature of 70 degrees.
University of Illinois physics professor emeritus Alan Nathan estimated last year in a study published online by The Hardball Times that the Diamondbacks’ humidor could make an even bigger impact than at Coors Field, in part because the average relative humidity in Phoenix is far lower than in Denver.
“I am very comfortable saying that, with the humidor running at 50 percent and 70 degrees, there will a reduction in home run production at Chase by 25 to 50 percent,” Nathan concluded. “While it would be nice to come up with a more precise prediction, we should not lose sight of the principal takeaway that the installation of a humidor will reduce the number of home runs substantially.”
According to The Arizona Republic, the D-Backs have periodically discussed installing a humidor at Chase Field since 2010. Plans to debut a humidor during the 2017 season had to be put on hold because of “difficulty maintaining calibrations.”