My Favorite Tulo Memory


My contribution to the Tulo conversation: a game I watched on my laptop in Illinois five years ago.

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Hey guys, you might have heard that a guy named Troy Tulowitzki was traded last week. If you hadn’t heard that, spoiler alert. It was kind of a big deal.

I wasn’t able to post sooner, and now I find myself in a position to add little of value to the Tulo discussion. Everything I think and feel about the trade has been said by someone else. I can recommend this, this, and this. As you can see, we’re all a little heartbroken (and in Bobby’s case, foul-mouthed). This one hurt.

At this point, I don’t want to rehash old ideas. In fact, I pretty much already did that, at yesterday’s Rockies blogger panel, the link for which I’ll post shortly. You can watch that if you really care about what I think. What I want to write about today is my favorite Tulo memory.

It didn’t come in a playoff year. As much fun as it was to watch Tulo in 2007 and 2009, the game I most remember is from 2010. We had a great shot that year. In fact, about a week prior to the game in question, I thought for sure we were going to the postseason. On Sunday, September 19th, we were only a game and a half out of first place. To be fair, two teams stood in the way of us and a division title, but the mood was good. I know I was not alone in thinking that the Rockies would be a playoff team in back-to-back years for the first time ever. That night, we lost in an ugly walkoff in Los Angeles, and I felt my mood darken. It was just one loss, but it felt like more than that. It felt like the tide had turned.

Fast forward almost a week to Saturday, September 25th. The Rockies had lost five games in a row and were now four games out of first place. They were 3 1/2 back in the wild card. Again, two teams stood in their way in both races. (Of course, the Giants were just ahead in both, and they went on to win the World Series in what has now become an even-year tradition.) However, hope was not yet lost.

I was in Illinois that weekend for a cousin’s wedding. After the wedding, various family members gathered at the hotel where some of us were staying. I think I showed my face briefly out of politeness, but I knew that night’s Rockies game, against the Giants, was critical. There just wasn’t any way I was going to miss it.

Firing up the old, I tuned in to the game back in my room. It was a roller coaster–see for yourself. Noted Rockies killer Barry Zito (3.20 career ERA against Colorado) was on the bump for the Giants, but he and Jason Hammel performed about the same. Both lasted 5 innings or less, and both left having surrendered four runs. Because of this and the fact that the game went into the 10th inning, both teams burned through their bullpens. San Francisco used eight pitchers; the good guys, seven (including Joe Beimel!).

This was the era in which Huston Street was stopping hearts in Rockies-loving homes all over the country. At this point, I’d give just about anything to have him back, but at the time I didn’t know how lucky we were to have him. This was a game that demonstrated just how good he could be. He pitched two innings and only allowed one baserunner: Pablo Sandoval, on a double to right. The Rockies tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th with a Chris Iannetta single and Dexter Fowler walk with two outs, but Jonathan Herrera, despite working a seven-pitch at-bat, grounded weakly to third.

Once Street sailed through the top of the tenth, though, it was time for LoDo Magic! I was feeling it. My heart was racing. It raced more when Carlos Gonzalez hit an infield single with one out. This was prior to the big Cargo-Tulo contract extensions, but we all knew by this point that if we were going to win a World Series in the next five years, it was going to be on the backs of these two. So when Tulo came to bat, it felt like something special was about to happen.

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It did. Tulo doubled home Cargo and the Rockies won in a walk-off. I was cheering about as loud as it’s acceptable to cheer when you’re in a hotel room. I know Tulo had other, more significant moments in a Rockies uniform. I might be the only person who would choose this as her favorite. But it is. It was at this moment that I truly knew what this team had in Cargo and Tulo, and even though I felt that the tide had turned a week ago in LA, right then it seemed to have turned back. Of course, we all know that it didn’t really–the Rockies went on to lose the final eight games of the season, finishing nine games out of first place. But that at-bat and that celebration will always stand out to me as the one where I felt most proud to have Troy Tulowitzki on my team.