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Rockies' 'Tulowizki' Blunder is Indicative of the Inept Franchise as a Whole

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Fans wear shirts emblazoned with the misspelled surname of Colorado Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki that were given away to attendees as the Rockies hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game in Denver, Saturday, July 26, 2014. AP Photo


Dan O’Dowd has improbably been the Colorado Rockies general manager for 15 years now. He made two of the most dubious long-term contract signings in a single offseason with Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle in 2000. He watched the Rockies make the 2007 World Series under his watch, true, but that timepiece has also witnessed five last-place finishes, a pair over the last two seasons, and another destined for 2014. He helped draft and develop the likes of Matt Holiday, now with the St. Louis Cardinals, and current Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, soon to be playing elsewhere, perhaps supplanting his retiring idol Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium if New York has the pieces needed to make a blockbuster deal in the offseason.

If that guy can keep his job that long in Colorado, how could the Rockies justify firing someone in the promotions department who simply can’t spell?

In case you missed it over the weekend, the Rockies gave away 15,000 Troy Tulowitzki jerseys at Coors Field on Saturday prior to their game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Incredibly, the jerseys made their way to the fans before anyone in the promotions department realized that each of the shirts boasted the name of “Tulowizki,” whomever that may be, and not their shortstop, “Tulowitzki,” with a second “T.”

It's not like this is the first-such blunder in sports history. How about this trading card mess-up? Our own former mayor made a living butchering athletes' names (Grabowski and Wes Wekler to name a few), and who can forget the Yankees misspelling their new center fielder's name on the Jumbotron earlier this season. It's no less embarrassing though.

After the mishap, the Rockies released the following statement:

“The Colorado Rockies offer our sincere apologies to the fans for the misspelling of the Troy Tulowitzki King Soopers jersey that was distributed tonight. The Rockies would also like to apologize to longtime corporate partner King Soopers, who was not involved in the production of the jerseys.

Acknowledging that many fans came to the game for the jersey, rather than disappoint them, we decided to go ahead and hand them out.

We have made plans to reproduce the jersey and fans wishing to exchange will be able to do so at a future date (TBD) in September at Coors Field or the Rockies Dugout Stores. In addition, fans exchanging the jersey will receive a complimentary ticket to a future game in 2014 or 2015.”

Right. An instant collectible item in exchange for watching a Tulowitzki-less team in 2015? No chance.

Tulowitzki, hitting .340 with 21 home runs and a 1.035 OPS this season, is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a hip flexor strain, and after meeting with a doctor in Philadelphia, decided to head over to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx – the opposite direction of Colorado – to watch the Yankees and get all teary-eyed over ol’ No. 2 stepping into the batter’s box.

"It's a short drive from (my doctor in) Philly. I'm with my family. I wanted to see Jeter play one more time," he told the Denver Post.

Well, technically, according to Google Maps, it’s a two hour, 10-minute drive from Dr. William C. Meyers’ office in Philadelphia, where he reportedly visited over the weekend. Distance aside, it’s a little weird that an opposing player should show up at the park for a game in which he’s not playing, not even two weeks after he was in an exhibition that slobbered all over Jeter when they played the All-Star Game in Minnesota. The timing, in the wake of the Rockies giveaway on Saturday, makes the whole ordeal even stranger.

Then again, if you’ve spent any time following the Rockies over the years, maybe this is nothing new.

As columnist Terry Frei wrote in The Denver Post, “I hesitate to make much of the TULOWIZKI flap because if someone like a $28,000-a-year promotions assistant is made the scapegoat, it would be unfortunate. I hope the ownership is as supportive and loyal to that person as it has been to the baseball front office. The problem is that regardless of whose fault it is, the jersey gaffe doesn't seem at all surprising. Perception matters, regardless of the degree of its accuracy or even fairness. This has reached the point where even the farcical and amateurish isn't considered at all shocking.”

Your Colorado Rockies, a team that thrived on steroids and the long ball in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, and one that has stayed afloat since generally because they play in a super-cool ballpark in a trendy Denver neighborhood, complete with panoramic views of the snow-capped hills in the distance. Really, “Tulowizki” is representative of the norm when it comes to the Rockies.

“There is little chance of this organization realizing it has reached the tipping point — where continued ineptitude and the lack of offseason overhaul of the front office risks the success of the financial model — if nobody seems to care enough to speak up once the Broncos get through a week of training camp,” Frei writes.

Sadly, it took an embarrassment worse than their record (43-61) to get anyone to notice.

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