C.J. Cron explains his love for Denver and the Colorado Rockies

Apr 19, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron (25) celebrates defeating the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Some are obsessed with it. Some don’t even know it exists. Some think of it only as an excuse and others as one of the most important, unique problems the Colorado Rockies must find unique solutions too.

It is, of course, the Coors Field (Hangover) Effect.

Without diving too deeply into a decade’s worth of research, in the simplest of terms, the Coors Field Effect, and the Hangover Effect, refer to the fact the team plays in the most offensively friendly environment in baseball when at home and in the least offensively friendly environment in all of baseball when they are on the road.

The road part isn’t about one singular ballpark, though. Data accumulated over their entire history shows that the Rockies have an extreme disadvantage when it comes to creating runs whenever they leave Colorado, regardless of the talent level of the team.

There are multiple theories about why this is true and C.J. Cron made sure to learn about them.

But there is no replacement for experiencing it for yourself.

“When you’re actually hitting it you don’t notice it that much,” he says. “But clearly there’s something there. And I definitely got better as the season went on. I think just seeing more of it. And the younger guys were doing it for the first time. All of us made adjustments as we went.”

There have been changes to how the club has approached this issue over the years, including bringing a relatively new pitching machine with them on the road. It’s meant to more accurately mimic the drastic difference in break. For Cron though, the machine and the adjustments may have been a bit too much at first.

“You can hit all the machine you want, at the end of the day it’s not gonna be the same as an arm,” Cron explained. “I know we tinkered with a lot of stuff and it seemed like when we just kinda settled down and just played baseball and stopped worrying about it we played a little bit better. So hopefully we can use that mentality. Know that it’s gonna be different but that doesn’t mean we can’t be successful. I think guys finding that success at the end of last year is gonna help them this year.”

It’s going to be different for everyone. Some guys want as much information as possible, some prefer to simplify things. Either way, after a little bit of a slow start where he hit just .220 and slugged just .390 over his first 18 games, Cron seems to have found a method that works for him.

For the rest of the year, he hit .290/.382/.550 and ended up leading the team in home runs with 28 and RBI with 92. 

And he’s picked up right where he left off this season, sprinting out of the gate with a .333/.365/.813 slashline while currently leading the league in HR with 6 and RBI with 16.

Part of it might well be that for the first time in a long time, Cron feels like he has a home in baseball.

“I was on five teams in five years,” he recalls. “Always trying to introduce myself to new people, it gets a little old after a while. When I signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal, I kinda wanted to prove myself. And then I wanted to stay after that because I knew I love the city, and I love Buddy Black who’s a great manager. When I signed here in the first place I was hoping I could make it more of a longer term thing.”

GM Bill Schmidt made that hope a reality almost as soon as the offseason began, inking Cron to a two-year deal. With stability in his life, he has brought steadiness to the batter’s box.

He also brings steadiness in the clubhouse and reinforces the 2022 mantra of “everyone wants to be here” and all hands on deck.

“I knew I would be able to help the team,” he said as he looked around the clubhouse. “I can help some of these younger players as that veteran presence. I want to do whatever I can to make the organization better.” 

Cron also appears to see the trend in the right direction that brought Kris Bryant to Colorado.

“I think even last year just the progress we made from start to finish was a lot,” he says. “And if we can make that same sort of jump to start this year, I think we will be a pretty good team.”

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