Tag Archives: Troy Tulowitzki

Some Thoughts on The Rockies’ 5-2 Start

Welcome to the 105th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where things are lookin’ up. Let’s get into it…

On Instagram straight flexin'. #OpeningWeek

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Let’s talk some baseball, folks. The Rockies have played seven games and won five of them. They’ve played four games on the road and won all four of them. They are off to an awesome start.

My favorite part of Opening Day and, by extension, Opening Week and the weeks that follow is the free-flowing optimism that permeates most every team and fan base in the league. When the Rockies jump out to a quick start, their fans fit the mold. Hope springs eternal. Optimism overflows.

With that in mind, I’m taking a stance with which I am verify unfamiliar. I’m playing the BringDown card. This is not something I’m wont to do when it comes to the Colorado Rockies, but hear me out.

Last season, sometime in mid-May, I was convinced the Rockies would finish above .500 and were a playoff contender. They finished the year 66-96.

This year the Rockies have to play 155 more games over the course of five and a half months. Things have gone well in the first week, but I’m not ready to move off my prediction of somewhere between 69 and 75 wins for the Rockies.

The reasons will not shock you:  1) Starting Pitching. 2) Injuries.

While it’s encouraging that the Rockies are 5-2 without any contribution from Jorge De La Rosa, the starting rotation is just too shaky and shallow for the team to be a contender. If Kyle Kendrick’s first two starts are any indication, his year will be a roller coaster. Eddie Butler has great stuff but hasn’t really been able to harness it in his two starts. Jordan Lyles has been solid. Tyler Matzek was pretty unimpressive in the Home Opener. JDLR should provide stability when he returns soon, but it’s just hard to envision those five guys leading a baseball team to a winning record.

And of course, the ever-present elephant in the room is hanging above our heads like a balloon we’re all hoping doesn’t pop. Injuries are going to happen. I hate to think about these things, but Precautionary Measures will transition into Day-To-Days, which will transition into 15-Day DLs, which will transition into 60-Day DLs. All we can do is hope the key players don’t miss more than a week or two at a time. If that’s the case, I do think the Rockies can outperform a lot of expectations, including my own. But I’ve learned over the years that a casual scroll of Twitter or an unexpected notification from my CBS Sports app or a text from a friend with similar Rockies-fan interests can quickly ruin my week and change the entire course of the Rockies’ season.

(As an aside, if the Rockies’ shortstop does go down, Daniel Descalso hasn’t done much to instill a lot of confidence as a backup.)

Now I want to be clear that I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy these games and take pleasure in these wins and wonder What If?. Indeed, the seven games the Rox have played thus far have been an absolute blast. (Well, five of them at least.)

Take for example, the third game of 2015. which brought probably my favorite moment of the first week when Carlos Gonzalez hit a ball really far. I love CarGo’s I’m-pretty-sure-I-just-hit-that-ball-to-the-moon pimp strut so if you need me, I’ll be at my desk watching this GIF for the next few hours. The gorgeous swing! The bat drop! The stare! The strut!

One interesting thing I noticed after watching that about 500 times:  Immediately after the swing, the camera-person zooms out and starts to pan left under the assumption that Carlos is about to, like, run to first. Nah, bro. Not when you bounce it off the scoreboard about 30 feet up in dead center.

The official distance on that homer was 466 feet, but as Drew Goodman said on the broadcast, it sure seemed closer to 500.

But you get my point. That was fun! That’s vintage Carlos Gonzalez, something we haven’t seen much of lately. And vintage CarGo is a treat to watch. If you can’t get pumped and enjoy the hell out of that home run, you’re simply not a Rockies fan.

Through seven games, the reasons for optimism are there. The lineup looks really, really good. (DJ La Maheiu is out there for his defense and even he’s hitting .517!) The non-LaTroy Hawkins bullpen has been pretty much perfect. Walt Weiss is using defensive shifts! Walt Weiss is not messing around! (If you blow a couple saves, you’re not the closer anymore.) And yes, the starting pitching has been more than acceptable.

These are all good things with potentially positive implications, so if you feel so inclined, live it the hell up. All I’m saying is the more level-headed, less volatile among us might also see reasons to curb that enthusiasm and measure that optimism.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to watch that Carlos Gonzalez homer a few more times.

Some of the other notable stuff from baseball’s first week:

The schedule-makers didn’t do the Rockies any favors in scheduling them to play the Giants in the Giants’ first home game since winning the World Series. (The Rox won anyway.) The celebration featured Madison Bumgarner bringing in the World Series pennant… on a horse… on the field… for real.

The Marlins take the postgame interview antics to the next level:

Probably the coolest moment from around the Bigs this week was this walk-off grand slam game-saving catch from George Springer.

And here’s the other your defensive play of the week from Andrelton Simmons. We’re partial to Troy Tulowitzki ’round these parts, but yeah, Simmons is okay defensively.

And let’s hit the weekly departments…

Stud of the week:

You might not have heard, but Jordan Speith had a pretty good weekend. This is my favorite moment, when he found his grandpa for a long hug after WINNING THE MASTERS. That’s not something you see too often.

Also studly from Augusta: Jack Nicklaus’ shot in the Par Three contest on Wednesday afternoon.

Douche of the week:

This douche is hilarious. HAM IT UP, PAL! YOU DID IT! … Just maybe wait til you cross that finish line first.

(Fox Sports, FTW)

That WTF look on his face when he realizes what just happened at about the 11 second mark is priceless. What a dork.

Photo/Tweet of the week:

This one pretty much speaks for itself. It is very, very amazing.

NBA Tank Watch 2015:

Only one game remains in the NBA regular season for most teams, so these are likely to be your final Tankandings. The Nuggets will finish with the seventh-worst record in the league. The day Brian Shaw was fired, they were 20-39, meaning they’ve played almost-.500 basketball (10-12) under Melvin Hunt. Before that stretch of terrible wins, they had the sixth-worst record in the league and appeared poised for a push to catch either the Magic or Lakers, or both. Stupidly, the Nugs went in the opposite direction. So much more could have been accomplished.

With the seventh-worst record, the Nuggets will have a 4.3 percent chance at landing the #1 pick and a 15 percent chance at sneaking into the top-3.

  1. Minnesota, .198, 16-65
  2. New York, .210, 17-64
  3. Philadelphia, .222, 18-63
  4. L.A. Lakers, .259, 21-60
  5. Orlando, .309, 25-56
  6. Sacramento, .346, 28-53
  7. Denver, .370, 30-51
  8. Detroit, .384, 31-50

And finally, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these will not ever get old.

That dad is awesome.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for readin’. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

 

79 Rockies Predictions For 2015

Welcome to the 104th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the dreary winter is officially behind us. Let’s get into it…

As always, the health of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki will be key to any success the Rockies hope to have. (Roy Chenoy / USA Today Sports)

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I‘ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”  -Rogers Hornsby

It’s spring. Baseball is back. And as the 2015 Major League Baseball season begins, it’s officially time to turn the page and focus on the past time of America. Despite what you may have heard, baseball is still wildly popular in this country. Revenues are through the roof, attendance is healthy, and the game is going strong.

To kick off this joyous occasion, I’m providing you with everything you can expect from the Rockies this year, from their record, to the broadcasts, to the inevitable injuries, to CarGo’s WAR. Some of these are educated guesses, some are based off of historical tendencies, and some come simply from a gut feeling or hunch. And yes, I realize I’m a day late with this post, but that’s what happens when things take place on Mondays. (Also, I’m pretty much stealing this format from this Will Leitch column, but that’s okay.) Off we go…

  1. The Rockies will begin the season with a 10-0 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee behind seven shutout innings from Kyle Kendrick and big days at the plate from Corey Dickerson, Nolan Arenado and Troy Tulowitzki. (I wrote this one on Sunday, promise!)
  2. The Rockies will improve upon last year’s dismal 66-96 season and win at least 68 games.
  3. The Rockies will not improve all that much; they’ll win fewer than 76 games.
  4. Despite my best efforts, early success from the Rockies will SUCK ME IN and trick me into being optimistic until things fall apart in June. (Or May… Or April.)
  5. When the Rockies are at Coors Field, they will hit the crap out of the ball.
  6. When the Rockies are on the road they will hit less of the crap out of the ball.
  7. The Rockies’ offense on the road will not be as disgustingly-awful as last year’s, which produced at a .228/.279/.357 output.
  8. Troy Tulowitzki will play in fewer than 160 games.
  9. Troy Tulowitzki will play in fewer than 150 games.
  10. Troy Tulowitzki will play in fewer than 140 games.
  11. Troy Tulowitzki will play in fewer than 130 games.
  12. Troy Tulowitzki will play in more than 100 games. (He played in 91 last year.)
  13. This will not be enough games to carry the Rockies into playoff contention.
  14. During the 100-130 games he plays, Troy Tulowitzki will be a top-2 player in the game.
  15. Carlos Gonzalez will play in more than 140 games. (He played in 70 last year.)
  16. Carlos Gonzalez will vastly improve upon his completely lost 2014 season (-0.7 WAR) and post a WAR around 4.
  17. Carlos Gonzalez will steal at least 20 bases.
  18. Nolan Arenado will make his first All Star team.
  19. Nolan Arenado will hit at least 23 home runs.
  20. Nolan Arenado will win his third Gold Glove in his third season.
  21. Corey Dickerson will continue to hit and hit and hit and hit.
  22. Corey Dickerson will finish with a top-5 National League batting average.
  23. Justin Morneau will again hit over .330 against right-handed pitching.
  24. Justin Morneau will have fewer than 120 plate appearances against left-handed pitching.
  25. Injuries, overall, will be less of a story and factor over the course of 2015 than they were in 2014.
  26. Keith Dugger will still have pristine hair.
  27. Drew Stubbs, a pleasant surprise last year, will see serious regression at the plate.
  28. Charlie Blackmon will not be good enough against left-handed pitchers to make up for Stubbs’ decline.
  29. This will be a problem for a team that broke camp with just four outfielders.
  30. Wilin Rosario will struggle defensively at first base.
  31. Wilin Rosario will struggle defensively at catcher.
  32. It will become clear that Wilin Rosario really needs to be a DH on an American League team.
  33. Nick Hundley’s defense, game calling, pitch receiving, and leadership will help the Rockies’ young pitching staff.
  34. Jorge De La Rosa will be back in his #1 spot in the rotation before May.
  35. Jorge De La Rosa will be the Rockies’ best starting pitcher again.
  36. Jorge De La Rosa will not be as good at Coors Field as he was in 2014 (10-2, 3.08 ERA),
  37. Tyler Matzek will turn into a semi-reliable #3 starter, with some gems and disasters sprinkled among mostly decent starts.
  38. Jordan Lyles will get hurt.
  39. Jon Gray will be called up to the Rox in May.
  40. Jon Gray will make serious and positive contributions to help bolster the pitching staff.
  41. After one particularly solid start from Gray, I will become irrationally excited about the future of the Rockies.
  42. Kyle Kendrick will not get injured.
  43. Kyle Kendrick will put up numbers similar to (but not quite as solid as) his numbers from last year with the Phillies: 32 starts, 199 innings, 4.61 ERA in a hitter’s park on a bad team.
  44. The Rockies will take that.
  45. Boone Logan will be less horrible and less injured than last year.
  46. Boone Logan will still not be worth his big-ass, $5.5 million salary.
  47. Rex Brothers will be called up in May or June, only to be sent back down a couple weeks later.
  48. Nobody will understand what the hell happened to Rex Brothers.
  49. Adam Ottavino’s slider will be the most fun thing to watch involving a Rockies pitcher.
  50. The oldest player in baseball, LaTroy Hawkins, will somehow be a pretty good closer again at the age of 42.
  51. When the Rockies are floundering in irrelevance in the late-summer, watching that infield play defense will be reason enough to tune in and watch a ball game.
  52. Walt Weiss’ new commitment to defensive shifts will be a long overdue innovation and make the Rox’ infield defense even better.
  53. Whenever Rafael Ynoa does ANYTHING I will loudly proclaim, “Ynoa it!”
  54. When Justin Morneau scoops a low throw, one of the Root broadcasters will compare him to Todd Helton.
  55. Ryan Spilborghs will turn out to be the most enjoyable color commentator on Root Sports.
  56. Root Sports will continue to scroll “Toyota Talk” at the bottom of the screen during games.
  57. The person in charge of this decision will not be fired, as he should be.
  58. George Frazier will talk about Oklahoma during a broadcast.
  59. Jenny Cavnar will continue her excellent work in the studio and at Coors.
  60. People on Twitter will complain about Drew Goodman’s play by play even though he’s pretty damn good.
  61. When the Rockies have early success or win a few games or series in a row, about half of the Denver media will prove they have no idea what is going on with the Rockies when they are forced to focus on the local nine for a few days.
  62. The Denver media will be stoked when July rolls around because they can focus on the Broncos’ stretching and jogging around in shorts for a few weeks before playing pretend games for a month.
  63. An employee of the San Francisco Giants will say something stupid about the Rockies.
  64. Dick Monfort will say something stupid about the Rockies.
  65. Jeff Bridich will seriously consider trading Troy Tulowitzki, but the young pitching staff and position playing prospects will show just enough promise to convince Bridich the team can contend in 2016 with its current core.
  66. Jeff Bridich will seriously consider trading Carlos Gonzalez, but the young pitching staff and position player prospects will show just enough promise to convince Bridich that the team can contend in 2016 with its current core.
  67. After the year, we still won’t be positive that Jeff Bridich knows what he’s doing, but we’ll all be a little more confident in the guy.
  68. With Bill Geivett gone, we will begin to see Walt Weiss’ true colors as a manager, though I’m not sure what those are yet.
  69. The $2 bag of peanuts I have been buying from the same guy outside of the home plate entrance for just about 20 years will somehow be slightly smaller than last year.
  70. The new metal detectors will make getting in to any remotely popular game any time near the scheduled first pitch an absolute disaster. (Especially on Friday. That’s gunna take hours.)
  71. Some half-drunk 22-year-old will stand in my section at a game and emplore the masses to start The Wave.
  72. I will politely request that this person put a stop to his actions.
  73. The Tooth Trot will still be a thing.
  74. Dinger will jump around behind home plate during the 9th inning.
  75. Dinger will continue to be an embarrassment.
  76. Dinger will conintue to be the worst mascot in sports.
  77. The Party Deck will be packed on a nightly basis with people who literally could not tell you what team the Rockies are playing.
  78. Coors Field will continue to be the most beautiful ball park in the country.
  79. I will go to Coors Field on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon or an impossibly pleasant Friday night and I’ll sneak into great seats and I’ll sip beer and I’ll crush peanut shells with my sandals and I’ll yell things that confuse children and I’ll get looks from people for clapping loudly and I’ll truly appreciate the most beautiful game on earth and I’ll be completely content with everything in my life, if only for a few hours.

No weekly departments this week but a whole bunch of fun stuff worth your time:

We’ll start with a couple videos from MLB to help get you pumped for the new season. First THIS:

And this next one is right up my alley. Player’s acting out Terrance Mann’s famous “People Will Come” speech?! Pretty cool

Everyone’s impression of James Earl Jones sucks.

The MLB Vine of the year might have come out of Washington yesterday:

College basketball happened this week, too!

Here’s the play of the game from the game of the year, when Wisconsin took down Kentucky.

The fun didn’t carry over for Wisconsin through last night’s championship game, though. I present, “Sad Teletubby”:

These do not look like human hands. Jahill Okafor palming a basketball.

Just stop it, Steph Curry. I’m kiddin’ he should definitely keep doing awesome stuff like this. (The behind-the-basket view is the best.)

Here’s the Vine:

This new Nike Golf commercial featuring Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy is pretty damn awesome:

This week’s Sports Illustrated has a nice feature on Garrett Grayson. The story isn’t online yet, but here’s how it looked in the magazine. (Magazines are things made out of paper that people used to subscribe to and purchase at stores. You can read them without any electronics.)

While we’re on the topic of CSU football, here’s the latest “The Grind”. These are still awesome. It’s pretty cool to get an early glimpse into Bobo’s coaching style.

And finally, this video means it is officially, officially, officially baseball season. Pretty strong version this year featuring Ron Hunter falling off his stool and crying piccolo girl.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. If you’re heading out to The Keg on Friday, I hope you have a blast. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should kno

The Past Week Has Been Really Crappy

Welcome to the 70th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the summer is starting to roll by a little too quickly. July is over? It’s August already? Although after the past week, that might be a good thing. Let’s get into it…

Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, at a May press conference. (AP)

The NFL didn’t send a very positive message with Ray Rice’s two-game suspension. (AP Photo)

Man, it was a really crappy week for sports news. Both locally and nationally throughout the week, the subject matter was neither fun nor lighthearted and ranged from the enraging to the simply sad.

It started on Monday (the 21st) with people nationally reacting to the remarks Tony Dungy made about not drafting Michael Sam because he would produce unwanted distractions. The comments kind of came out of nowhere but successfully produced a bunch of sports people talking and writing about the legitimacy of the beliefs and lifestyles of others. And there was PLENTY to read and hear from both sides of this “debate”. Because that’s what sports, the outlet to get away from the stresses and toils of our day-to-day lives, are for, right? This kind of thing certainly isn’t unheard of in the sports news world, but it really was just setting the tone for the remainder of the week.

News category: Annoying/Tiresome

Then the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! announced it was suspending Ray Rice for just two games for punching his then-fiance (now wife) in the face and knocking her unconscious and dragging her limp body out of an elevator (allegedly, even though there’s video, which can be seen below). This, of course, came on the heels of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE! suspending Josh Gordon for an entire season for smoking pot. It’s just an awful look for Roger Goddell.

I’ll let Keith Olbermann expand on this issue, scorched earth style:

So yeah, that wasn’t the most fun discussion to have in the world of sports. But people were having it, and unfortunately Stephan A. Smith was one of them. Smith, a notorious blowhard that nobody likes, thought it was important to point out that women shouldn’t provoke men if they don’t want to get beaten up.

Yeah, here’s that final quote again:

But at the same time, we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation. Not that there’s real provocation, but the elements of provocation, you got to make sure that you address them, because what we’ve got to do is do what we can to try to prevent the situation from happening in any way. And I don’t think that’s broached enough, is all I’m saying.

Michelle Beadle, who is awesome and also works at ESPN, was not down with that garbage.

And then yesterday Smith offered a horrible taped apology.

What a fun story that was.

News category: Awful in every way.

And locally, on Wednesday Bronco fans woke up to news that Pat Bowlen was stepping down as owner and CEO of the Broncos to deal with his Alzheimer’s disease. Bowlen is probably the single most significant person in all of Colorado sports over the past three decades. I did not realize that the Broncos only had five losing seasons during Bowlen’s 30-year reign. That’s unbelievable. That’s great ownership.

He wanted to go out on his own terms. A horrible, frightening disease is preventing him from doing so. (Few things scare me more than the thought of a loved one coming down with Alzheimer’s.)

Here’s an emotional John Elway:

I also thought Woody Paige’s column on the topic is a must-read.

News category: Simply very, very sad.

And some more news is also bumming me out, though it’s a little different (see: less shitty) than the aforementioned stories.

Troy Tulowitzki Tulowizki went to a Yankees game in New York on Sunday, which is really weird because Troy Tulowizki is on the Rockies and the Rockies were not playing the Yankees. Tulowizki is on the DL and was visiting a doctor in Philadelphia and wanted to watch Derek Jeter, of whom Tulowizki is a big fan, play one more time.

The visit led to a hilarious tweet and possible jab at Tulowizki from Tulowizki’s teammate, Brett Anderson:

Anderson insisted he was joking, of course.

Anyway, this obviously dumped a big ol’ tank of gasoline on the Tulowizki trade rumors because DID YOU KNOW DEREK JETER IS RETIRING?!

I’m not sure this is the big deal some are making it out to be, but given the circumstances, it can’t be discounted as nothing. I don’t think Tulowizki was overtly flipping a figurative bird to the front office and trying to tell the world he wants to be a Yankee. But Tulowizki is not an idiot and he’s always been a professional. He knew that sitting in the second row at Yankee stadium would set the baseball rumor mill ablaze, and I think he was cool with that.

Indeed, it’s starting to seem increasingly like Tulowizki wants to get the hell out of the Rockies organization. I don’t think there’s any way he gets traded before Thursday’s deadline, but the odds of Tulowizki leaving town in the offseason are starting to seem more and more likely.

The Rockies have done absolutely nothing this year to dispel the notion that they are a crap organization with no direction and no plan and a slim chance of building a winner. I’m guessing they’ll wait for Tulowizki to “demand a trade” so they can paint him as the bad guy. Then it will be easy for the front office to bad mouth him on his way out the door, they way they did with Ubaldo Jimenez, Dexter Fowler, and others.

It’s hard not to find myself growing frustrated after writing that paragraph. I could be jumping the gun, I suppose. Despite all of the national talk, there’s still a decent chance Tulowizki will remain with the Rockies his entire career. There may even be a decent chance that the Rockies are not all that far off from being a winning organization.

But right now, the Rockies are one of the worst teams in baseball and one of the top two players in the world seems to be growing weary of the situation as much as the rest of us.

And who can blame him?

News Category: Frustrating and just an overall bummer.

I’m ready to move on from the past week. I think we all are.

Luckily, I was able to find some stuff that didn’t suck from the last week, so let’s head…

Off to the weekly departments:

Stud of the week:

This guy is incredibly badass. Just incredibly badass.

Douche of the week:

Ray Rice/Roger Goodell/Jim Harbaugh/NFL fans/Stephen A. Smith/Drew Socier/Troy Tulowitzki/Dick Monfort/the Coors Field police

There was no shortage of douches.

Tweet of the week:

Some field hockey players were photobombed by the FREAKING QUEEN OF ENGLAND.

Picture of the week:

Crazy, awesome picture of Montrez Harrell of Louisville breaking a backboard during a summer league game.

Vine of the week:

Sammy Watkins looks like he’s good at football.

Did I just accidentally post something from training camp? That’s kind of against policy around here. My apologies.

Some other stuff the internet had to offer from the past week:

You’ve done quite enough sports world and internet. You’ve done quite enough. (I warned you about the shortened posts this time of year.)

And finally, here’s Peyton Manning (and Wes Welker) dancing us into a less crappy week. (More training camp!)

Yes I have that song on my iPhone. Who doesn’t like the Osborne Brothers?

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.

Your Weeekly Roundup From The Sports World And Internet

Welcome to the 62nd edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I have a shortened post due to the holiday weekend. I was too busy eating burgers and steaks and drinking (lots and lots of) beer the past few days to be a productive blogger. Oh well. Let’s get into it…

We’re jumping straight into weekly departments.

Douche of the week:

Giant’s color commentator Mark Krukow accusing Troy Tulowitzki of cheating is as douchey as it gets. This story is now a week old, but it’s still annoying. Of course, it was longtime Giants’ broadcaster Jon Miller who accused the Rockies of cheating by switching out humidor balls with non-humidor balls a couple of summers back. And now we have another instance of someone on the Giants’ payroll publicly ringing a bell that can’t be unrung. Calling into question the integrity and reputation of an orginization and player should not be taken lightly. These guys seem to do it whenever the Rockies win a few games over the Giants.

What bugs me the most about all this is the way the Giants, their (mostly new) fans and broadcasters all act like they are suddenly God’s gift to the game of baseball because they won two World Series. They’re now as bad as Cardinals fans (and broadcasters) in thinking they are baseball royalty.

Obviously the easiest retort to these bizarre accusations is to bring up the size of Barry Bonds’ head. Miller and Krukow didn’t have much to say about that when Bonds was cheating his way to record-breaking seasons.

Everyone associated with the Giants is pretty much a douche bag.

Stud of the week:

Never let a foul ball interrupt a midgame snack. This super chill bro is how we should all aspire to catch a foul ball, complete with the Oh hey I got you this to the ladyfriend.

Tweet of the week: Dick Vitale’s Twitter account remains awesome because of stuff like this.

He’s the best, BABY.

Vine of the week:

You might need to watch this a few times before realizing what you’re looking at, and I’m not talking about Ian Desmond or his bat.

Gross, dude. That head-snap is no joke.

This is another pretty cool way to catch a foul ball. Not as cool as our snack-eating stud, but still worth a spot this week.

The end of this Lance Stephenson flop is just hilarious.

Check out this classic 5-6 putout:

And finally, we can all use more angry Charles Barkley in our lives.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. I should have more for you next week. See ya then.

***

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Rockies 2014 Season Preview

Welcome to the 54th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where the long winter is officially over. Spring is here. Summer is coming. Baseball is back. For that, I’m tremendously excited. I have another big post this week. It’s time to talk Rockies. Isn’t that awesome?! It is. It’s very awesome. (Even if the weekly format of this blog means my Rockies preview comes a day late.) Let’s get into it.

The health of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez will go a long way in determining the success of the Rockies’ season. (Getty Images)

My official prediction for your 2014 Colorado Rockies:  85-77.

Yes, I’m predicting the Rockies will finish eight games over .500 and hang around in the Wild Card race late into the season. Like last year (when I predicted the Rockies record within one game, no big deal) it appears that I have a more favorable outlook on this team than most. Vegas set the Over/Under for wins at 76. Sports Illustrated picked them to finish 11th of 15 in the National League. ESPN says 75 wins and last place in the NL West.

When you live in Denver, saying the Rockies will suck is a trendy, easy thing to do. Ohh the Rockies… They’re never good. Their pitching sucks again right? The narrarative is a pretty simple one. But it’s mostly misguided this year (I think).

I’ll address the starting pitching in a moment, but let us first look at the most important issue facing the Rockies this year.

Without a doubt, the single biggest factor in the Rockies’ 2014 is the health of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Over the last five years, when CarGo and Tulo have both been in the starting lineup the Rockies are a different team. They are 231-211 (.523) when they both start. They are 155-213 (.421) when either Tulo or CarGo (or both) does not start, according to The Denver Post and Stats Inc.

One line regarding this stuff in Troy Renck’s Sunday feature that really resonated with me:  “And Gonzalez believes the pair is simply due a dose of good luck.” I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more.

Many of the injuries these guys have battled have been flukey and/or unlucky. Both players are young and healthy. They both take baseball and their careers very seriously. By all accounts, they both take care of remarkable care of their bodies. Injuries are impossible to predict, but at some point they should be able to put together a string of some healthy seasons… Right…? Maybe?

If they do, the Rockies should contend into September. Tulo and Cargo are two of the top-10 all-around players in the game. They should both be considered MVP candidates each year. When you take into account all five tools, they are far and away the best duo in baseball. Remember, before Tulowitzki got hurt last year he was playing at an MVP-level, leading one prominent Colorado blogger to ask if he is the best player in baseball. (Although these days if you attempt to make this argument for anybody other than Mike Trout, you’re pretty stupid.) Anyway, I’m expecting an enormous 2014 from Tulo.

Sidenote: The Tulowitzki trade rumors will heat up quickly if the Rockies don’t win games. There’s something to this. If the Rockies don’t make progress this year, there’s not much point in wasting Tulo’s prime in Denver. At some point it would be worth think about blowing everything up and starting over, which would undoubtably be frustrating for fans. That said, quit telling me he’s going to the Yankees because Derek Jeter is retiring. That’s dumb. The Yankees don’t have any attractive young trade pieces. The Rockies can be a perplexing organization, but even they are not just going to give away their best player because it makes for a good story in New York.

Now back to that starting pitching. We’re now two years removed from the four-man rotation and 75-pitch limit. That was a debacle that turned the Rockies into a laughingstock. Last year the Rockies’ saw unprecented success from the top of the rotation, with Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Tyler Chatwood all posting ERAs under 3.50. Those three combined to go 38-21. When you pitch half of your games at Coors Field*, those numbers represent a serious success.

*The media bias that might anger me the most is the discounting of Rockies’ offensive numbers because of the Coors Field factor, without any praise or consideration for the Rockies pitchers that have to deal with the challenges of the park. Seems like a pretty simple connection to me.

The back end of the rotation was a different story. Juan Nicasio was essentially the fourth starter. He went 9-9 with a 5.14 ERA. Not horrible. But not very good. The fifth spot in the rotation was a joke. The combination of Jeff Francis, Jon Garland, Chad Bettis, Roy Oswalt, Jeff Manship, Drew Pomeranz and Collin McHugh combined to go 8-32, which is, like… really bad.

Anyway, I’m fairly confident those big three will have good years again even though Chacin is out until the first week of May and Chatwood will miss his first couple starts and DLR didn’t look sharp and lost his composure last night.

Perhaps the key to the Rockies’ rotation is tonight’s starter, Brett Anderson. Anderson was the Opening Day starter for a good Oakland team last year, but he hurt his foot and only made five unproductive starts. If –hey there’s that word again!– he can win 12-15 games, the Rockies have a shot at a very good year.

Other key questions:

  • Will Nolan Arenado take the next step offensively? Arenado had a solid rookie year at the plate, but can he take a huge jump this year into the .300/25/90 range? It’s not out of the question.
  • When will we see Eddie Butler and Jon Gray? Hopefully you’ve heard of the promising young fireballers waiting in the Rockies’ farm system. I think fans should hope to see Butler in June and Gray in August. If one or both of these dudes comes up and pitches like it sounds like they’re capable of, things could get interesting.
  • Will center field be a black hole? Drew Stubbs, Charlie Blackmon, Corey Dickerson and Brandon Barnes are all in the mix to start some games in center field. Will anyone step up? Will some sort of platooon provide decent offense and viable defense? I’m kind of doubting it.
  • Is 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins a legitimate closer?
  • Is paying Boone Logan more than $5 million per year a really stupid idea?
  • Will Justin Morneau start against left-handers? Last year in Minnesota he had 457 at-bats against righties (.280/15/61) and only 178 at-bats against lefties (.207/2/16).
  • Can Wilin Rosario catch the damn ball and hit 30 homers? One or the other would be great.
  • What kind of effect will the quirky early-season schedule have? The Rockies play 40 games in the first 42 days of the season, which is kind of insane. Also, 19 of their 29 games in April are against NL West teams. So a hot start could do wonders. Or a slow start could kill.
  • Is the Rooftop Party Deck thing going to be as cool as I am imagining? I’m betting yes on this one.
Jhoulys Chacin is probably the Rockies best pitcher. He needs to have another big year if the Rockies are going to contend.(Dustin Bradford, Getty Images)

Jhoulys Chacin is probably the Rockies best pitcher. He needs to have another big year if the Rockies are going to contend. (Dustin Bradford, Getty Images)

Here is my preseason awards list, because I know you’re very curious.

National League MVP:

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Troy Tulowitzki
  3. Yadier Molina

American League MVP:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Miguel Cabrera
  3. Wil Myers

National League Cy Young:

  1. Jose Fernandez
  2. Matt Cain
  3. Clayton Kershaw

American League Cy Young:

  1. Yu Darvish
  2. Justin Verlander
  3. David Price

Moving on to the weekly departments…

Tweet of the week:

That tweet came from the official account for Michigan basketball right after this Shot Of The Year that capped off yet another great weekend of great basketball:

via @sbnation

Pretty funny to listen to Jim Nantz, who I thought actually did a great job calling all the crazy action down the stretch. (I’m generally not a big Nantz guy.) He thought the shot was blocked. This one’s deflec– OHH HE MADE IT!

 

Stud of the week:

The Avalanche’s best player is out for four weeks and the first round of the playoffs. It’s a pretty devestating blow for a promising young team. But Matt Duchene is still a stud. Check out this series of Tweets he sent out after the word of his injury was released. Pretty classy with a good attitude.

Douche of the week:

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello lost out on a $5 million contract after it was revealed that he lied on his resume about graduating from college. At first I thought this was completely irrevelant to his job as a coach, but then people convinced me that lying on your resume is pretty douchey. What a crazy story though.

A few other things…

I have to show another Aaron Gordon GIF even though Arizona didn’t make the Final Four and made my bracket look even more stupid. This one is insane.

Gordonkaboom

Donnell Alexander is leaving the CSU program for some reason. Strange and unfortunate story here.

This little interaction with Chuck is pretty damn good.

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And finally, I am blatantly stealing this quote from Will Leitch’s Opening Day column, but it’s fitting for today’s post.

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” — Rogers Hornsby

Happy Tuesday everybody. And happy Baseball Season. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the home opener on Friday if you’re lucky enough to attend (and even if you’re not). See ya next week.

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Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Your Weekly Roundup from the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to this week’s Tuesdays With Mitch, where I am apparently clothed in immense power. I have all kinds of stuff for you this week. Let’s jump in.

Tulo is hurt again. How bout that? Photo courtesy USA Today.

Last week I made what I thought was a pretty compelling case on why Troy Tulowitzki was the best player in baseball. Two days later he broke his rib diving for a ball because that’s the kind of thing he does. Sorry for the jinx Rox fans. Now I know better.

At this point I’m worried that Tulowitzki’s career, one that could have potentially been defined by championships and MVP trophies, will instead be remembered as short glimpses of greatness that were perennially marred by injuries and health issues. Here’s to a speedy recovery for Tulo and picking up where he left off upon his return.

Anyway, it’s hard to see the Rockies remaining relevant for much longer. Tulo was the heartbeat of the offense and defense and losing him will be hard to replace. Monday night the Rockies went 0-8 with runners in scoring position and were shut out in Toronto in what was the first instance of missing his bat in the lineup.

Speaking of Toronto, the Rockies started a 9-game road trip Monday with stops north of the border and Washington DC and Boston. From the outset, this looks like it has the potential to be a season-changing disaster. Going 5-4 should be the goal, but I would take 4-5 all day long.

The old-timers brawl between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers was one of the craziest damn things I’ve ever seen. Look at freaking Don Mattingly (52) slam down Allan Trammell (55).

Mattingly is upset

Pulled this off of Grantland here. (If that picture isn’t moving, click on it.)

That’s funny because those dudes are old. Also they are not players. You also had Mark McGwire (49), Matt Williams (47) and Kirk Gibson (56) going at it in some form or another. Call me crazy, but I could watch 1980s all stars brawl in 2013 every day.

The last time the Rockies were in a brawl was this one in 2008. AP Photo/Danny Moloshok

So that got me thinking… When was the last time the Rockies were in a brawl? The last one I could find was against the Dodgers in 2008 when Yorvit Torrealba tagged out Matt Kemp at home plate and things got real. From what I remember, that was fairly underwhelming as far as brawls go.

I find it kind of strange that the Rockies haven’t been in a brawl in five years and now I’d like to see one this year.

My power rankings for which Rockie you don’t want to screw with:

3. Rex Brothers. I’m not about to charge the mound on large, left-handed closer who throws 98. Also his name is Rex Brothers. I’m not about to the charge the mound on someone named Rex Brothers.

2. Wilin Rosario. You have to have the catcher high on this list because if you’re team is in the field when shit goes down, the catcher is going to be involved. Rosario runs pretty well, so if he had to chase down a batter going after, say Jorge De La Rosa (who would land awfully low on this list), he could probably get there in time, which can be crucial. Rosario is pretty intense and maybe the strongest dude on the team.

1. A healthy Michael Cuddyer. Cuddy seems to love and respect the game more than any Rockie. If someone threw at one of his pitcher’s heads and was out of line in doing so (like Ian Kennedy at Zack Grienke in the aforementioned brawl) I could see Cuddyer going nuts. He’s also pretty stacked.

All of this also led me to this news video which is pretty cool.

Look at freaking Vinny’s mullet at the 0:33 mark! If you’re wondering, I’ve determined that is from June 16, 1993. Reading this write-up is pretty fun.

Your weekly video of baseball players being weird comes on this walkoff celebration, when a player with barbecue sauce all over his face almost gets depantsed (24 second mark).

I was recently depantsed at a concert at Red Rocks, except it was a successful depantsing in that everything came down to my ankles. I’d like to tell you I played it super cool and confident and nonchalant, but I’ll tell ya, that is one startling feeling. If it wasn’t dark out I may have been charged with involuntary indecent exposure.

Whoever made this video had me laughing.

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There’s too many lines for me to even try to pick one to quote. Well done, chap.

I can’t figure out how to embed a Vine yet so just click this link and watch a presumably drunk Mets fan fall down like 3 rows of seats.

https://twitter.com/MattSebek/status/345267901936320512

This was a cool moment. Yeah the goal in triple overtime of the Stanley Cup Finals was okay, but I’m really talking about the interview that starts at the 2 minute mark.

That’s funny because he said a bad word on national television.

Some quality production value in this one about the man who taught LeBron how to flop:

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This is how you go after a foul ball…

GIF via guyism.com

…even if it is already rolling back onto the stairs as you leave the ground. Dude’s hands are like six feet away from the ball.

I’mSorryWhat?

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Still not as good as this classic:

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I personally believe that slow “ding” is an unsuccessful attempt to get her to PLEASE. STOP. TALKING.

Those two videos are funny because they show really hot girls saying really dumb things that don’t make any sense.

Chris Berman commentating golf is the worst idea anyone has ever had, but I don’t have any jokes better than these. Seriously though, Berman’s time has come and gone. I don’t enjoy listening to him on any platform. He makes the Home Run Derby even more unwwatchable than it already is. His NFL highlight shtick was cute ten years ago. The dude has run his course. But listening to him call golf is just a nightmare.

Speaking of which, my favorite call from Jim Rome’s smackoff on Friday was second place finisher Steve Carbone. It’s worth listening to if you’re ever in The Jungle, which I am daily. (It Gets good at the 2:50 mark when he tears apart ESPN).

And finally, Here’s a nonsports link. A really, really awesome gallery of various graduations.

Happy Tuesday everybody, see ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Is Troy Tulowitzki the Best Player in Baseball?

Troy Tulowitzki

Tulo is currently the game’s best player. Photo courtesy The Denver Post

I think so.

These days this conversation pretty much starts and stops with Miguel Cabrera. More on that in a moment. First, let’s look at Tulowitzki compared to the rest of the National League.

If the season ended today Troy Tulowitzki would deserve the National League MVP over Dominic Brown, Scott Gomez, Yadier Molina and Paul Goldschmidt.

Let’s look at the traditional stats first. Tulo is 2nd in batting average (.351, 3 points behind Molina). He’s 2nd in home runs (17, 2 behind Brown). He’s 3rd in RBI (51, 8 behind Goldschmidt). So right now, he’s near the top in all three triple crown categories. He’s also 3rd in on-base percentage, 1st in slugging and 2nd in total bases.

The more advanced metrics support Tulo, too. That’s fun to say. If you don’t know what these stats mean, just assume it’s good to be in first place in all these categories.

He’s 1st in OPS (and adjusted OPS+, which removes the Coors Field factor), 1st in Offensive WAR, and 2nd in overall WAR among position players.

All of the above stats courtesy of this page at baseball-reference.com

The Rockies have the best offense in the National League and Tulowitzki is the biggest reason for that. Michael Cuddyer is having an All-Star season and Carlos Gonzalez is in the MVP discussion as well, but Tulowitzki is putting up really good numbers in every category, both traditional and advanced.

**Sidenote 1: The Rockies currently have the top 3 players in OPS. Tulo 1, Cuddyer 2, CarGo 3. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one team with the top 3 in any category.

The other factor that has been in play this year has been the “clutch” gene which is hard to quantify. But if you’ve followed the Rockies this season, you’ve seen Tulo deliver a slew of huge, game-changing hits like this one.

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Also, you can not understate what Tulowitzki provides defensively. He makes every routine play, but also does things no other shortstop can.

Put all that together and you have the best player in baseball.

The defensive factor brings me back to Miguel Cabrera. When you look at Tulowitzki in the scope of both leagues instead of just his own, two names frequently pop up in front of Tulo’s in all those categories I mentioned above. One is Baltimore’s Chris Davis. The other is Cabrera.

Davis had a solid season last year, and is an MVP candidate this year. Like Cabrera, he plays first base. So you can put Davis in the conversation of who is having the best season this year, but the sample size is too small to consider him as the game’s best. When Tulowitzki has been healthy (not as often as we’d all like) he’s been one of baseball’s best for the past 7 years.

**Sidenote 2: Can you believe this is our 7th– SEVENTH– season of watching Tulo? Maybe it’s because of all the injuries, but that seems just absurd. 

Cabrera, on the other hand, has been the best hitter in the game for a few years now, including this season. I believe he is currently on pace for 734 RBI. There’s a difference, though, between being the best player in the game and the best hitter in the game.

Cabrera plays first base and not particularly well. He’s also slower than my dad. Tulo isn’t exactly a speedster, but he runs pretty well. The fact that he plays the most important position on the diamond, and does it better than anyone, gives Tulowitzki the edge over Cabrera.

So, yes, Troy Tulowitzki currently is the best player in baseball.

As always, get at me if you disagree.

OTHER STUFF

I’m not a Lebron James fan, but this block is just incredible.

Via guyism.com

Since I showed some good Lebron, here’s a gif somebody somewhere made of him flopping like he got shot.

Via guyism.com

Jimmy Kimmel came through with some funny sports social media discourse, which is kind of right up my alley.

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Good for this kid.

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Three things: That girl’s “right here!” face is a little much for getting a baseball flipped to her. Her boyfriend’s reaction is appropriate. Can’t believe how nonchalant that kid is. Yoink!

What would you do in this situation?

Not sure why he couldn’t just pick the thing up and continue, but the eventual military-style salute had me in tears immediately and made for my favorite YouTube video in a long time, which, of course, I say every single week.

And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tim Tebow. He signed with the Patriots yesterday. Tim won me over in Denver and I’d like to see him succeed, so I’m happy he got another shot in the league. However, I’m truly, truly dreading the coming ESPN media coverage. Even though I like the guy, it was pretty relieving to think we were all done with that. Thank you and God Bless.

Happy Tuesday everybody, see ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.