Colorado Rockies: The effect of and fixes for the “Coors Field hangover”

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Apr 10, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Colorado Rockies players and coaches look on during the playing of the national anthem before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies are in a tough division, not only because they have tough teams to play, but because of the vast differences in elevation.

Let’s talk about the Colorado Rockies, the “Coors Field hangover,” and how to fix the issues between playing at altitude and sea level.

Despite some pretty good pitching, the first away series of 2021 in San Francisco was hard to watch. Despite the rhetoric surrounding Coors Field, people forget that Rockies batters are more hobbled than most at sea level. Pitches move much more than players are used to, and batted balls are hit more weakly. This does not mean that Rockies players are only good because of the park they play at (see DJ LeMahieu).

For this article, I researched just how bad the Rockies were transitioning from Coors Field to the Pacific coast stadiums. The statistics are surface level, but the results are usable enough to paint the not-so-pretty picture.

Over the past five years, the Colorado Rockies have accrued a record of 36-60 (.375 winning percentage) in series where they go immediately from Coors Field to sea level. Compare this to their overall away record of 160-195 (.451 winning percentage). If these Coors-to-sea-level-based games are removed, the record improves to 124-135 (.479 winning percentage).

We can compare this to games played at middle elevation parks (such as those in the NL and AL Central), which is an admittedly smaller sample size because of the Rockies playing in the NL West. A much better record of 28-29 (.491 winning percentage) is significantly better than that of when the team starts at sea level.

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