What surprised me about Troy Tulowitzki being seated in the rows behind home plate at Yankee Stadium on Sunday?
That he could afford the ticket. (Rimshot.)
Very subtly played, Mr. Tulowitzki. Ugh. Parked where nobody but everybody could see you stepping out on the Rockies. So, it really is about the name on the back of the shirt?
Yes, yes, some knucklehead in promotions misspelled Troy’s name on the back of a giveaway/throwaway jersey on Saturday, and nobody noticed the mistake until there were, like, 15,000 freshly minted “Tulowizki” fans proudly displaying one more example that these are your Colorado Rockheads.
That’s embarrassing, but it happens. I’ve followed Tulo and the Rox since before he was a twinkle in their eyes, and I still look his name up each time I blog about the team’s biggest star and supposed leader. I’m sure I’ve screwed it up anyway a time or three. He doesn’t read my foolishness, but I guess a misspelled, craptastic, giveaway T-shirt can get his attention and really piss him off.
So now you put 2 and 2 together: an offended Tulowitzki showing up the unappreciative Rockies by making it clear, as visibly as possible, that he wants to replace his favorite player, Derek Jeter (the reason he wears No. 2), at shortstop in the Bronx next season. And he’ll willingly play the bad guy for the first time in, like, ever if it gets him out of the losing environment in Denver. He’ll make the GM and ownership as mad at him as he is frustrated with them so they’ll let him go.
Perhaps, as Tulowitzki explains, he was just at Yankee Stadium to see Jeter play live one more time. He was visiting the doctor in nearby Philly anyway. And with $108 million big ones (and more if he’s traded) coming to him, the price of tickets a few rows from the field at Yankee Stadium didn’t sting enough to keep him away. OK, I guess …
But wait, didn’t he just see Jeter play, in person, from field level, fist-bump distance, at the All-Star Game? Isn’t that a perfect final memory?
My mother-in-law was a military spouse, a difficult assignment if your partner has a tendency to get shipped out and away from you for years at a time. Her self-defense as departure time approached was to work herself up, to make herself angry at her husband, turning every little thing into a slight, every wrongly worded sentence into a personal attack, every ketchup bottle left on the kitchen table into an unforgivable outrage — all so she wouldn’t miss him so damn much.
And it’d work … for about an hour after he’d left. Then, like any of us would, she’d fall apart anyway.
That didn’t stop her from repeating the routine the next time around.
Apparently I’ve learned nothing from the fatal flaw in her strategy because I’m:
- Turning a visit to the House That Ruth Didn’t Build (and Couldn’t Afford a Seat In Anyway) by Tulowitzki into a sign that we were wrong about him all along. He must be a jerk to mock us so openly.
- Wishing one more soon-to-be-albatross contract on the hated Yankees, just because I love how the CC Sabathia, A-Rod, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran deals are going to end up looking.
- Criticizing the aggressiveness that leads to so many first-pitch pop-ups as foolhardiness, conveniently forgetting how many first pitches have flown out of the park.
- Suddenly seeing Tulo’s home/road splits as a personal affront to me as a Rockies fan rather than a cheap, overrated stat used by those who don’t understand the actual Coors Field effect to devalue some really good players who’ve performed in Denver over the years.
- Fearing that Tulo won’t miss us — that the SOB will learn to stay healthy, rock the joint in New York, consider himself the luckiest man on the face of the earth for escaping us losers and thumb his nose at us knuckleheads who can’t even spell his name.
- A hypocrite, losing the alleged assuredness that led me to write this only six days ago.
Ah, let him go to the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately Bronx and get booed the first time he pops up with the bases loaded instead of applauded anyway for all he’s done in the same situation previously. Let him answer questions from the New York media about his inability to play through pain instead of being applauded anyway for his grit and determination in playing as long as he could.
Because Mama Mashburn and me are going to be just fine if and when this deal goes down. We won’t miss Tulo-whatzit at all.
For an inning or so, anyway.
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