Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Giants announcer accuses Rockies of cheating, again

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?

If gaudy offensive statistics alone were evidence enough for accusations once, why not throw another one out there?

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.

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Tags: Colorado Rockies Troy Tulowitzki

  • ChrisG

    You’re not being accurate with how you present the 2 quotes. Krukow’s anger cited in the SI article wasn’t with players using their knowledge of the game to accuse Bonds of using steroids – by late 2007 everyone knew he did. It was a comment on ‘hypocritical’ players who used ‘roids themselves commenting that his numbers shouldn’t stand because he used steroids.

    With the Tulo situation, Krukow was commenting that as a long-time former player, he is aware that players steal signs, and it’s even easier in their home stadium where they can plant fans, etc. Rockies even accused the Philles of doing it 4 years ago with binoculars.

    Krukow isn’t saying that Tulowitzki’s achievements this year should be stricken from the books because of it, just that he believes Tulo’s gaining some additional advantage beyond his talents alone because his numbers are so ridiculous at home – AND he’s batting .247 on the road.

    • Hayden Kane

      I’m not sure I agree with your reasoning that the presentation of the quote is not accurate – in both cases Krukow is talking about former players accusing current players of doing something they saw or did themselves while they played. That said, you still make a good point in that the topics are different and about what was known about Bonds, so it is a nuance worth noting. I appreciate the comment.

      The Rockies actually saw a uniformed coach with binoculars with that Phillies incident – that is a far cry from throwing an accusation out based on 20 games of gaudy numbers as Krukow did here (a much more accurate way to present this hot streak than saying Tulo has done this for “six weeks”).

      And unless planting fans or the mascot or sending up smoke signals or some other alleged way of stealing signs can also explain the fact that Tulo had a .509 BABIP at Coors Field entering Thursday, this is still nonsense. Tulo is hitting the ball hard to create that good luck, but that number will obviously regress to a normal level. When it does, this accusation will look even sillier than it already did when it was first offered.

      As for that home/road split, you’re preaching to the choir, but it seems to be true for every Rockies hitter every year (sadly)…it is hardly proof that Tulo is stealing signs at home.

      • ChrisG

        From my perspective: A. Stealing signs is only as valuable as being able to relay them to the hitter. B. It always has been and always will be part of the game. Just like a pitcher scuffing a ball.

        Back to the Phillies incident, unless the bullpen coach was somehow relaying those signs to the batter in the 3-4 seconds between the sign being dropped and the pitch being released, he wasn’t gaining any advantage that the nexy day’s starter watching the game on TV in the clubhouse couldn’t get. The announcers observed something they thought didn’t feel right, and they commented on it. Fair enough, I see the same situation here.

        And to me, it is MUCH easier to plant an anomyous ‘fan’ in the stands who can see the signs and relay that through some visual code to the batter in those same 3-4 seconds, than for a bullpen coach to do it.

        Regarding the quotes you included, I see Krukow’s comments that as a former player he believes Tulo is somehow stealing signs the same as former players saying they believed Bonds was using steriods. They’re allowed to say that, and they’d know much better than you or I would. That wasn’t what the SI quote was about.

        The ‘hypocrisy’ in the SI quote was regarding former players, many of them who had used the same advantages, saying that it was morally ‘wrong’ for Bonds to juice, or that his achievements mean less. To make that hypocrisy analogy appropriate in this case, Krukow would have to claim that Tulo’s cheating, and it’s wrong. He’s not, he simply stated that he believes that it is more than just raw talent and a hot streak that has caused those gaudy home numbers. He’s not passing judgement on it.

        BTW – in the 3 years prior to 2014, there was less than a 30-point difference in Tulo’s Home and Away averages. If he had always hit 100 points higher at home, then the spread this year wouldn’t be as big a deal.

        • Hayden Kane

          Fair points – regarding the last one about his splits, I’ll just say again that it is not at all useful to compare 2014 to previous seasons yet, as those are over the course of an entire season. If Tulo hits better on the road (which he should) and his numbers at home come down (which they will), that point still won’t hold up. Thanks for the comment – good conversation here.