There is something about Coors Field that seriously bothers the men who call games for the San Francisco Giants.
We all remember Jon Miller getting the ball rolling with the “juiced ball” conspiracy theory. In 2010 the Giants eventually pursued action because they thought the Rockies were swapping in “non-humidor” balls when they needed a rally. Such a plot would have been intricate indeed and would have required that the ball boy and the umpire be complicit, not to mention the fact that they literally had no evidence other than some nice offensive showings from the Rockies.
But hey, if gaudy offensive statistics alone were evidence enough for accusations once, why not throw another one out there?
This time it is Mike Krukow on the TV side who has a theory: he believes that the only possible explanation for Troy Tulowitzki‘s dominance at Coors Field thus far in 2014 (.552 batting average) is that the Rockies are stealing signs. Quoted in the Denver Post:
“I swear he’s getting signs…There is no way you can hit like that, for this long. I mean, if you hit .571, that’s for a weekend or a week. But you don’t do it for six weeks. That’s insane.”
Krukow went on to cite the fact that Tulo keeps hitting the ball hard as evidence that he must be getting help:
“When we saw him, he was never off his back leg, he was never fooled. Not one time was he reaching out or going after something in the dirt. Whatever speed you threw at him, he was on it.
“That kind of gets you thinking. If you can get away with it, I guess it’s legal. I’m not saying that he’s doing anything, I’m not throwing it out there … kind of, sort of, kind of.”
When reached by Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Krukow clarified the intent of his comments…kinda:
“I would like to add, that the nature of my mind, being an ex-player, is that you are suspectful of any player in any environment when you go into it. You are always suspectful of them giving signs. That’s part of the game and I have seen it with my own eyes, with my own team. It has been going around baseball for years and years.”
So yes, Krukow just meant that he always questions all baseball players because of his experience in the game. And it’s nothing against Tulo…it’s just what he knows as a former player. Krukow knows to be skeptical because he himself witnessed and might have even partaken in some questionable tactics during his time. Nothing wrong with that, right?
And hey, this is definitely not just Rockies’ baggage. Krukow would practice this same former-player skepticism on anybody with huge statistics, even if that player were a member of the Giants. Right?
Maybe not. Here is a quote from Krukow, when asked about Barry Bonds in a Sports Illustrated article back in 2007:
“The press has had a hard-on for this guy since early on,” says Krukow before a recent game. “He got labeled, he did a lot to feed the fire, but with all that’s been written the last 10 years, the smear campaign on this kid is just ridiculous.” Krukow shakes his head. “I’ve stopped talking about it because I get so riled up. Especially all the hypocritical bulls— from players of my generation, when they talk about Bonds and what he’s done or not done.”
So when Krukow accuses Tulo of something from his position as a former player, he is just tapping into his unique perspective on the potentially dishonest behavior of current players. But when former players accused Bonds of gaining an edge based on what they did and saw during their careers, they were hypocrites. Got that?
Krukow has every right to say whatever he wants about the Rockies. He can accuse them of tinkering with the humidor, stealing signs, or corrupting opposing teams into losses simply by having a home ballpark in the state of Colorado because marijuana has been legalized there. Truly, he can say whatever he wants.
What he cannot do, and what he needs to stop doing, is pretend that he would do the same thing with every other team in the league. This is a Rockies thing; these guys just flat out have serious issues with the Rockies. Which is funny, of course, because our beloved team cannot hold a candle to the accomplishments of the Giants as a franchise.
Why Colorado bugs Krukow and Miller and select others is beyond me. But it does, and they might as well call it what it is when they come up with their next theory about how the Rockies are cheating. Because the explanation offered by Krukow is a joke, not unlike the initial accusation or the broadcaster himself.