DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies would like to air a little
grievance: They’re thin on MVP winners in their history. Even lighter on Cy
Young candidates.They wouldn’t mind a little altitude adjustment when it comes
to conventional thinking at Coors Field. As it stands Kosuke
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, sometimes they feel like hitters get penalized
for hitting at higher elevation half the time and the pitchers don’t get
rewarded highly enough.It’s a scale that doesn’t seem balanced.“Hopefully, that
will start to go away a little bit more,” Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday said.
“Because there are lots of good hitting parks around the league. For people to
just single out Coors Field and write it off is unfair.”The Rockies have had 11
batting champions in their past and one MVP winner — Larry Walker in 1997.
They’ve had one pitcher finish in the top-three in the NL Cy Young race, Ubaldo
Jimenez in 2010.Part of the reason may be this: “It’s a challenge to evaluate
the numbers in Denver,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler explained.And that’s the
mile-high rub for a field situated at 5,200 feet and viewed as a hitter-friendly
venue.Take, for instance, last season, when Charlie Blackmon won the NL batting
title with a .331 average and set an MLB record with 102 RBIs from the leadoff
spot. He finished fifth in the award earned by Giancarlo Stanton, who had 59
homers.This season, it will be hard to upstage Christian Yelich after the
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder won the NL batting title (.326), drove in 110 runs
and hit 36 homers. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado had quite a season with
an NL-leading 38 homers ,
while Trevor Story became the first major league shortstop to ever finish with
at least 40 doubles, 30 homers and 25 stolen bases. They figure to at least be
in the running for the MVP.In Colorado’s history, dating to 1993, only five
times has a player finished in the top-three in MVP voting. The last was
Holliday in 2007, when he hit .340 with 36 homers and 137 RBIs. Holliday was
edged out by Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia.“For me, it shouldn’t matter — a
guy’s got to go out and perform no matter where he’s at,” Nationals manager Dave
Martinez said. “It’s not his fault where he plays. It shouldn’t matter what
field you play on, or if your home field is Coors Field. A lot of good players
have played here and went elsewhere and did well.“If an MVP comes out of here,
more power to them.”As for how much power is generated inside Coors Field? That
remains a lively debate. The team installed a humidor room in 2002 to control
the moisture level in baseballs, which helps keep them from becoming dried out
and more hitter-friendly in Denver’s thin air.For all their power and pop
through the years, the Rockies have never led the majors as a team in homers
(although they’ve led the NL several times). And maybe because of the spacious
gaps in the outfielder, they’ve had six batting champions in the last 12
seasons.“To knock a guy just because he plays in a little bit thinner of
air Ron Santo
, I don’t believe is right,” Rockies left-hander and Denver
native Kyle Freeland said. “In my eyes, I’d love to see everything be an even
playing field through and through, no matter what park you’re playing at.”Or if
it punishes hitters, reward pitchers accordingly.“I think context is always
important,” Kapler said. “But I don’t think that there should be anybody
eliminated from a postseason award based on where they play. I don’t think
that’s fair or reasonable.”Freeland finished with a 2.40 ERA at Coors Field —
the best mark ever by a Colorado starting pitcher. He could be in the mix for
the Cy Young, which figures to go to New York Mets standout Jacob deGrom after
posting a 1.70 ERA.Only Jimenez and Marvin Freeman (fourth, 1994) have finished
in the top five for Colorado.“That’s kind of been what a lot of people have been
saying this year, that if you’re going to be docking hitters, why aren’t
pitchers being elevated?” Freeland said. “I don’t know if it’s because
throughout the course of the Rockies history, we’ve had more dominant hitters
than dominant pitching? I believe with this young core of pitching we have,
we’re starting to turn that page Ernie
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, and have people recognize that just because it’s
Coors Field, doesn’t mean anything.” Bob Levey/Getty ImagesWhen Houston Astros
center fielder George Springer led off the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 1
of an American League Division Series with a home run Friday, Astros fan Eddie
Flores likely went through a wide range of emotions.Flores had plenty of reason
to be excited, of course. Most importantly, his team's lead had just been
extended to 3-0. Not only that, but he also predicted the Springer
dinger.However, according to the Houston Chronicle's Matt Young, Flores had
promised his entire section free beer if Springer went yard. Moments later, the
2017 World Series MVP did just that:True to his word, Flores paid up:Charles
Adams bigangrylaw鈥淚f georgespringer hits a homerun, I鈥檓 buying everyone in the
section a beer!鈥?Springer hits a homerun. He buys us all beer. Heroes don鈥檛
always wear capes. astros #crawfordbox Qvg7p9LNkpPer Young, Flores wasn't able
to buy everyone in the section a beer鈥攂ecause the vendor ran out. He
did ,
however, spend more than $300 to provide beverages for eight rows in his
section.No regrets, either."I just love my team, man. I knew Springer was going
to hit one, and I wanted everyone to know it. I called it," Flores said,
according to Young. "... No way [do I regret the wager]; I loved it. I was
celebrating. It went out, we all went crazy, and I went looking for the beer
man."Springer's home run helped Houston strike first in the series with a 7-2
victory, sending Astros fans home happy. And Section 104 went home even happier,
thanks to Flores.
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