Let’s talk science.
Going into, the San Diego Padres’ bullpen had the best ERA in the league at a rock-steady 3.00. In case anyone forgot that, watching them butt heads against the Rockies last night, note that San Diego gave up just one hit between the time they pulled Jake Peavy (in the 7th) and the time they called in Trevor Hoffman (in the 13th). One hit in six innings.
Hoffman, who holds the record for saves, proceeded to give up two doubles, a triple, and then walk the runners into position for Matt Holliday to score the game-winning (and still disputed) run.
Why did Hoffman break down so spectacularly? ???? ???? You can talk about the pressure; you can pin it on an off night. But we wouldn’t be Nerds on Sports if we didn’t at least consider the well-documented “Coors Field Effect.”
Coors Field is located 1 yard shy of a mile above sea level, the highest ballpark – by far – in the Major Leagues. The air thins at that altitude. Will a baseball, which is significantly hollow, tend to travel further in such a park?
Howard L. Penn of the U.S. Naval Academy, in the course of figuring the home-runniness of various ballparks, came across an answer. ???? ????? Using Halley’s rule, a centuries-old formula for determining the amount of powder needed to land a cannonball on a given target, he came up with some interesting figures.
A home run ball hit at Coors Field as an average velocity of 110.82 feet per second, the highest in the league. A baseball hit in Colorado travels 10% farther than it would near sea level.