The Coors Field Hangover Effect is real. And the only logical conclusion is for the Rockies to petition MLB to play their first 81 games on the road and their final 81 games at home.
Boom! Purple Hazed Ideas is back!
I am not the first person to suggest this idea. I am, at minimum, the 112th person for whom such an absurd proposition has crossed the brain like Frogger dodging cars.
There has been a ton of great research done on this topic including this recent look from Just a Bit Outside and this excellently researched piece from Matt Gross that shows that if the park adjustment component of wRC+ and other park-adjusted stats are to be trusted, then playing half their games at Coors Field is a distinct and almost overwhelming disadvantage for the boys who play in Denver. Though exactly when and how The Coors Field Hangover Effect manifests is still a mystery for minds far greater than my own.
The Opening Day beat-down of the Milwaukee Brewers could stand out as a huge sign of encouragement for the Rockies road offense this season, but many of us couldn't help but realize that it came without yet having played any games at Coors Field.
When you ask Rockies players and coaches about the effect of playing in Coors Field, they tend to focus much more intently on the effect of playing outside of Coors Field. Everything from the way pitches move to the physical recovery time players need in order to play games every day seems to be just off from the way it is in the mile-high altitude of Denver, Colorado.
That I was not alone in immediately putting 2015's Opening Day onslaught into a category of "yeah, but it didn't come after playing a home series" suggests that this has, at the very least, become an integral aspect of Rockies fandom. This is how ingrained this has become and how jaded it has made us. Good offense on the road? Doesn't count, didn't do it after playing at home.
It can be difficult to tell if the Rockies recent strong starts followed by miserable . . . everything else besides the start . . . may be a result of injury prone players, lack of depth, lack of general talent, or poor management on the field or in the front office.
But today we choose to believe that it's because our players are asked to play in an environment unlike any other in baseball, or even in all of sports. And the environment we speak of is not the one they call home, but the alien world that is everywhere else once their bodies and eyes have acclimated to the mile high altitude.
This being the case, I suggest we petition Major League Baseball to allow the Rockies to play their first 81 games on the road and their final 81 at home, mitigating the effects that seem to come with going back and forth between the two. Before acclimation to altitude occurs, don't play any games at altitude! Problem solved!
Might players and their families be a bit upset over having to spend two-and-a-half months straight away from home? Maybe?
Might the MLB balk at giving the Rockies a different schedule than everyone else? Sure.
And could this whole thing be a staggering overreaction from an exasperated fan(base) who at this point would consider spending more money on scientists to solve this dilemma than on the final five spots on our roster? All possibilities.
But ... to the seven hells with their pragmatic issues! Give us an 81 and 81 schedule and we'll show you what Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, and Corey Dickerson can really do. C'mon everyone, take one for our team.