Colorado Rockies: Brad Ausmus on “pinball baseball” played in Denver
By Kevin Henry
You can count Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus among those in baseball who are not exactly the biggest fans of Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.
During his pregame media session inside the Detroit locker room on Monday afternoon at Coors Field before the Tigers open a three-game series against the Rockies, Ausmus was asked about his perception of the baseball played in downtown Denver.
"“Pinball baseball,” Ausmus told Rox Pile and other media members. “I know since the humidor came around that the offense has leveled off a little. It’s still a different ballpark than any other ballpark in the country.”"
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Ausmus spent plenty of time during his playing career behind the plate at Coors Field, catching for San Diego (in the inaugural year for Coors Field in 1995 to 1996, with Houston from 1997 to 1998 and again from 2001 to 2008 plus time with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009 and 2010). During that time, in 41 games and 169 plate appearances, Ausmus batted .219 and posted an OPS of .639.
While he has had plenty of time with a catcher’s mask on at Coors, he has a different perspective now as the manager for the Tigers.
"“I think it is going to be a little more stressful,” Ausmus said. “Game swings, I think, are bigger here. As a catcher here, five runs wasn’t safe the last inning or two. It just wasn’t safe. They should change the save rule for this ballpark from three to four runs or something.”"
While he may not exactly be a raving fan of Coors Field, Ausmus does have some history with the Colorado Rockies. In 1992, Ausmus was selected by the Rockies with the 54th pick in the expansion draft. He was a part of Colorado’s first-ever spring training (held in Tucson) but never saw time with the Rockies. He advanced as high as Triple-A before being dealt to the Padres in a July trade (along with Andy Ashby and Doug Bochtler) for Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris.
"“I was young. I hadn’t even played in the big leagues at that point. I had played in the minor leagues. I went to the inaugural spring training in Tucson. It was kind of an exciting time,” Ausmus recalled."
But that was then and this is now. And Coors Field really isn’t the launching pad that Ausmus and so many others seem to think that it is. Ironically, his former team, the Astros, have the park where the most home runs that have neither been barreled nor had solid contact. Coors Field was not in the top five.
Next: Why the Rockies must play the Wild Card game in Denver this season
You can read the great article about where Coors really ranks in terms of homers by Manny Randhawa of MLB.com by clicking here.