“Things We Love” is a recurring feature you’ll find in the months to come here on the Cru Jones Society. We’re making a running list of all the things we love, and it begins today. Since today is Opening Day of yet another glorious baseball season, it seems only proper kick off this list by paying tribute to the Rockies youngest and brightest star.
Here’s what ESPN baseball writer Jayson Stark had to say about Tulo and the last play of the NLCS last season:
“I can’t remember any 22-year-old player who walked into any clubhouse and took over the way Tulowitzki did. And the attitude with which he plays the position is incredible. Anybody remember the last play of the NLCS? It was that Eric Byrnes checked-swing roller that, 95 percent of the time on all other teams, is the third baseman’s ball. But Jamie Carroll just pulled up and let Tulowitzki take it. I asked about that afterward, and Carroll told me he could FEEL Tulowitzki coming and knew how much he wanted to make that play. Then I asked Tulowitzki about the last out, and before I could even finish the question, he said: ‘I’ll tell you one thing. I wanted the ball hit to ME.’ Isn’t that exactly what you want in a centerpiece shortstop — a guy who is one out from the World Series and wants the ball hit to him so much that he’ll practically run over the guy next to him to field it?”
And this is from Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated:
“In his first season Tulowitzki called out teammates, not just opponents; dragged a franchise that had never won a playoff series into its first Fall Classic; earned his own goose-bump-raising signature chant at Coors Field (rhythmic clapping followed by a shout of Tu-LO!); then signed the biggest contract (six years, $31 million with a club option for $15 million in 2014) given to a player with less than two years of service — after which he bought his mother a house and promised to be a fixture in the Denver community. ‘I’m willing to do that and want to do that,’ Tulowitzki says.
“Team leader? Community activist? Baseball ambassador? Antidrug advocate? Power-hitting shortstop who’s built like Cal Ripken (6′ 3″, 205 pounds), moves like Robin Yount and leads like Derek Jeter? There can be only one question about a 23-year-old who meets the franchise-player gold standard
“How the heck did he last until the seventh pick”
And he’s all ours, BABY!
And just so I’m on record before the season starts, here’s my prediction for the Rockies: They go 92-70 winning the National League West advancing past the Phillies (again) and finishing the Cubs off in 7 games in the NLCS.
They win the World Series over Detroit in 6 games when Miguel Cabrera out-eats a Shetland pony and collapses from cholesterol poisoning trying to stretch a single. Dontrelle Willis will dislocate his hip in Game 6 after hanging five consecutive curveballs leading to homeruns by Tulo, Helton, Holliday, Atkins and Hawpe.
Franklin Morales rides his 98 mph fastball on the way to striking out 200 hitters. Tulo hits 25 homeruns and leads all shortstops in fielding percentage again. Manny Corpas eats other teams’ SOULS by saving 40 games and having a K/9 Innings above 10. And finally, Clint Hurdle has to have reconstructive jaw surgery from chewing his gum too vigorously.
Thank God baseball is back. I’ll see you at the park…
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