Tulo Fans

From our armchairs, we as fans can get frustrated. Many of us will watch a baseball game and see a pitcher walk the bases loaded. Perhaps we’ll see one of a handful of “all glove, no hit” shortstops scraping by with a .250-ish batting average come up to bat with the bases loaded. We might, in not-so-polite words, call them something similar to a “scrub”, lament that our team “always loses because of guys like these”, then curse their contract, the front office, the manager or the baseball gods.

Lest we forget that the guy who is “scraping by” spent their entire lives at the ball field, away from their friends and families and children, to be one of the 700 best people on the planet at a game. Their late high school afternoons and early college mornings spent not as often at a party or at a coffee shop, but in the batting cage, doing fielding drills or in the weight room might result in nothing more than the honor of becoming the first strikeout victim of a future Hall of Famer.

We also forget that there are tens of thousands of ballplayers who don’t even earn the cup of coffee that even the briefest major leaguer savors a sip of. According to a 2013 report by Sports Interaction posted on USAToday, only 0.6% of American high school players and 11.6% of college players ever make the major leagues. For those lucky enough to stick, the average major league career is just 5.6 years long. Some of us have spent longer trying to graduate from college.

Baseball is a rough sport, probably much rougher on the players than the fans that root (or heckle) those ballplayers. The truth is there’s a lot of failure in baseball. After spending their entire life pursing their dream, they dig in their fingernails to hang on as tight as possible to their major league opportunity, all while “failing”. For hitters, they “fail” to reach base in over 60% of their at-bats or drive in a run maybe once every two games, if they are good (and lucky). For pitchers, they “fail” to win most of the games they pitch in. Ballplayers often fail. Some fail permanently.

Why do they go through that? If it’s the pipe dream of making money, the aspirations of many of those high school and college players get thrown out with the bathwater. Then perhaps, what motivates players to play, to put up with the slumps and the failures and push through them, is that very competition. The chance that on any given night, that they can do something good, if not great.

You have to love baseball and the competition it brings to keep you fueled enough to make it through the daily, monthly, yearly, life-long grind. Yeah, a grind, punctuated by long hours away from home and hearth, flying out to an East/West Coast game, plodding through offseason workouts just to be greeted in the trainer’s room after a hard-worked day riddled with missed opportunities, bad bounces and being a split second late on a 95 mile per hout fastball.

Troy Tulowitzki is one of those fortunate few who has not only worked, but studied his whole life, to become a great baseball player. Few players in recent memory can dominate both the offensive and defensive side of a baseball game like he can. Yet, even he has had his own struggles and failures, including a demotion to the minor leagues shortly after helping to lead the Rockies to the World Series in 2007.

So, I was curious how he got to be the player he is today and was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to ask him. I wanted to get some insight into how one of the best players in the game “got good”. And, as an aside, I reflected on the answers he gave because I truly wanted to learn, not just about him, but about this game of baseball that I grew up loving. I put my thoughts in italics to make it a little easier to read.

Richard Bergstrom: What were you like in Little League in High school? Were you always a shortstop?
Troy Tulowitzki: It’s the only position I ever played. Even in T-Ball I was a shortstop.

RB: You lived in the Bay Area when Rockies Manager Walt Weiss was a shortstop with the Oakland Athletics. What do you remember of Weiss as a player?

TT: I remember him vividly, I watched all those A’s shortstops. I’d always go to batting practice and watch those guys take ground balls. So I remember Walt. He was a good player. A good winning player, a piece of the team. He’d be the first one to tell you he wasn’t a superstar but if you take Walt Weiss off those teams, I’m not sure they win.

Head over to Rockies Zingers to read the rest of the interview!

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (CBS4) – He has yet to play in a game in spring training, but shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains the most talented and popular of the Colorado Rockies — and now he’s 30 years old.

Tulowitzki has missed a total of 122 games in the past three seasons.

“It’s (being 30) a challenge for me. I’ve had a big injury history in my 20s, so I think I’m just trying to prove some of those critics wrong and be healthy in my 30s,” Tulowitzki told CBS4’s Vic Lombardi. “At least that’s my goal and that’s what I shoot for. I think anybody who knows me knows I’m going to put in a lot of work to try to succeed.”

His teammate reliever LaTroy Hawkins concurs.

“The fans have to understand that nobody chooses to be hurt,” Hawkins said. “Nobody wants to be out there and has a desire to be out there more than Tulo. He’s a machine.”

During the offseason Tulowitzki didn’t hide the fact that he wanted to see change within the Rockies organization, and there was a lot of change — starting at the top with bringing in new general manager Jeff Bridich.

“There was a lot of change … at the end of the day I want to see wins. That’s why I play this game, and that’s always why baseball is intriguing to me; winning a World Series; and to get there my rookie year … I know what it takes to get there.

“When I try to talk to some of these guys in this locker room now there aren’t too many of them standing that got to play on that 2007 team. But that’s the goal you shoot for — to be the team on top at the end.”

In his interview with Tulowitzki, Lombardi pointed out that many of the pictures of Tulowitzki at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona show him smiling.

“Why don’t you smile anymore?” Lombardi asked him. “Are you still having fun playing this game?”

“No … because we’re losing,” Tulowitzki replied. “Winning is fun to me … so if we get back to winning you’ll see a different person. You’ll someone who’s smiling a lot more often.

“Last year I was off to the best start of my career, and it was great to play well, but at the end of the day we were losing and it wasn’t fun for me. So I know myself now … no matter how bad I’m doing, if we’re winning, that’s what I play this game for.”

Tulowitzki said he can see himself in a Rockies uniform for many more years. He heard the trade rumors in the offseason, but he wasn’t bothered by it.

“There was a lot of speculation,” he said. “I think our ownership came out and said ‘Hey, we are keeping Tulo involved in these talks and if something were to be close to be happening we would give him a call and talk to him about it.’ And that never happened.”

Source: CBS Denver

Scottsdale, Ariz. — Watch Troy Tulowitzki on the baseball diamond during the carefree days of spring training and you realize that he’s still a kid at heart.

So it makes sense that Tulo would reach out to ailing kids to lift their spirits and induce some smiles.

Tulo is underwriting an all-expense paid trip to spring training for more than 20 patients from Children’s Hospital Colorado’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. The group will visit spring training from March 6-8, the hospital announced in a press release.

“I have done it for the past couple of years,” Tulowitzki said. “It’s a chance to get them out here for a little mini-vacation. We give them a chance to meet some of the players. It’s a good little getaway.

“They are going through some difficult things and spending a lot of time at the hospital. … I’m looking forward to it.”

For many of the young patients, it will be the first trip away from home without their parents. Doctors and nurses will also be on the trip, but mostly it’s a much-needed getaway and a break from the hospital.

During the regular season, Tulo will see some of the kids at Coors Field.

“Some of them will be at the games and they will say hi and I try to remember their faces,” he said. “I remember them talking about how much fun they had at the hotel and playing at the pool. Like I said, it’s a chance for them to get away.”

Tulowitzki admits he often puts on a serious game face, but he lets his guard down around the kids.

“It’s because I like interacting with kids,” Tulo said. “I think people who know me, know that I can be pretty serious in the clubhouse, but you bring a kid around and I’m probably a different guy. I think I have the patience and I enjoy being around them.”

Source: The Denver Post

Troy Tulowitzki is Poised for a Big Season

Posted by Jen on
January 26th, 2015

Good news, Colorado Rockies fans! Troy Tulowitzki is getting ever closer to a return to the diamond after undergoing hip surgery last year. Despite constant rumors that Tulo will be shipped out of town as part of a Rockies rebuild, no trade was close and he’ll remain in Denver for at least the first half of 2015 and, if a bet had to be made, all season. Can Tulowitzki put all the injuries and the trade rumors behind him and have a MVP caliber season? Yes, yes and yes.

Tulo has always been a true professional, so the trade speculation shouldn’t bother him much. Every player of a certain caliber on a losing team will hear his name mentioned in those rumors come July or the offseason, when transactions of this sort happen. No trade will happen, as I’m sure Troy is aware of, so it shouldn’t really bother him enough to effect his play on the field.

The injuries will be a much tougher hurdle to clear. He was limited to just 91 games last season with the hip injury, and we all know how injuries have cost him hundreds of games throughout his career. Staying healthy has to be the main objective for Tulo in 2015, as the Rockies can’t get close to .500 without him on the diamond.

The good news, now, is that Troy has been hearing all of this for the last couple of offseasons. Shutting critics up is perhaps the greatest motivator in all of sports, and he’ll have that in spades this go round. An angry ballplayer is a good ballplayer. And when that angry ballplayer is already one of the very best players in the Major Leagues, you’ve got an MVP candidate on your hands.

If the Colorado Rockies get to .500 or above this coming season, Troy Tulowitzki will have played a huge role in their success. And unless someone in the NL goes absolutely berserk with the bat, Tulo may very well finish the season with the trophy in his hands.

Source: Sports Media 101

Both Rockies stars expected to be ready for Spring Training
DENVER — These cold January days are, in an important way, the brightest the Rockies have seen in some time. That’s because shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez are back on the field hitting, throwing and, in Tulowitzki’s case, fielding.

At close to the same time in August, Tulowitzki underwent surgery to repair his torn left hip labrum and Gonzalez had surgery to repair the patellar tendon in his left knee. Now doctors have cleared both Rockies All-Stars for activity.

“Tulo was in Denver last week just for a couple days for a routine checkup on his progress, and everything’s great,” Rockies senior vice president and general manager Jeff Bridich said. “He’s swinging fully, he’s taking full batting practice in the cage, and this week he’s starting to add taking ground balls in the infield and really starting to ramp up the pure baseball activity.”

Gonzalez revealed to a reporter from his native Venezuela this week that he has been cleared for on-field batting practice and straight-ahead running, and the star slugger will be allowed to change directions when Spring Training begins.

“In terms of being on schedule and recovering well, they’re really not having any hiccups — knock on wood. CarGo is in town right now,” said Bridich, who added that Gonzalez’s left index finger, where a benign tumor was removed last year, also has healed and the outfielder is throwing. “He’s going through the routine check-ins, and he’s exactly on schedule. We’re hopeful to get him on the field sometime soon. Obviously, it’s winter here, so it’s tough.”

Both Rockies stars are expected to attend Saturday’s Rockies Fest at Coors Field, but they will soon head back to better weather. Tulowitzki lives in Las Vegas, while Gonzalez resides in Orlando, Fla.

But don’t expect a large amount of activity from either during Spring Training games, especially early.

“It’s smart not to play these guys a lot in the spring, since I see them playing a lot during the season,” manager Walt Weiss said.

Bridich added, “Even if these guys were fully healthy and there were no issues with offseason rehab or anything like that, they’re starting to get into a period of their careers and lives where they can focus on working smarter rather than harder or longer.”

Source: MLB.com