Rogers doesn't miss Texas humidity
Monday's start a reminder how conditions wear hurlers down
ARLINGTON -- Not only do Kenny Rogers' 54 wins at Rangers Ballpark top the record list, they're going to top the list for a while, considering no one else has more than 37. That doesn't mean Rogers always enjoyed this ballpark as a pitcher.
After getting through six innings Monday with a quality start before the Tigers rallied to reward him with a victory, Rogers remarked on how tough it can be to pitch here.
"This park is not a place where pitchers want to come and stay too long," Rogers said. "I was a glutton for punishment for how long I stayed, but it was home."
Rogers spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Rangers, including the opening of this ballpark in 1994. He returned here from 2000-02, then came back in 2004-05 before signing with the Tigers as a free agent. He has twice as many wins as losses here, including a 17-4 record combined in '04 and '05, but he said it was a challenge for him.
It wasn't so much the dimensions he discussed, but the conditions. They can favor offense, but they can also wear down a pitcher. On Monday, it was the humidity that wore on him after it rained virtually all day.
Between the humidity on some days and the extreme heat more often in the summers, Rogers made the case that this park can be tougher on pitchers than any other in the Majors, including Coors Field in recent years once the humidor dampened the effect of thin air on fly balls.
"The heat and the humidity are extremely difficult," Rogers said, "and anybody that doesn't understand it hasn't pitched here. They don't deal with that kind of humidity, where you walk out of the bullpen thinking how tired you are and how fatigued you already are, and then try to pitch in a game. People don't understand how difficult it is.
"I stayed here a long time. It is a combination that is difficult for any type of pitcher. You could be a finesse guy or a power guy, and the difficulty of pitching deep into ballgames and consistently giving your team a chance to win, it's very hard."
That, he argued, has an effect on the how pitchers view playing for Texas.
"It's a mental grind every time you're out here," Rogers said. "Pitchers that pitch here understand that and I think that's the lot of the reason that when they have an opportunity to go somewhere else, they do."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.