Thursday, April 23, 2009

4/23/09 - Off - "Hitting Music"

Off Day list inspired by this posting over at Purple Row: The 10 Best Walkup Music Choices in Rockies History:

10. R. Kelly, “I’m A Flirt” (Troy Tulowitzki) – My theory is that Tulo couldn’t give a damn what music plays before he gets up and hits, so he tries to choose something that his teammates will get a kick out of. That would explain his choice of Britney Spears last season, and it sure would explain this selection. Anyway, Tulo belligerently singing this song in the locker room on local TV after the Rox clinched the pennant means it makes the list.

9. Staind, “For You” (Brian Fuentes) – Never mind that the lyrics of the song clearly describe a subject who hates their parents. The opening riff meant the game was over, and we’d never had a cool closer entrance before this one.

8. Gwen Stefani, “Sweet Escape” (Ryan Spilborghs) – Every time I hear Akon squealing “Whoo-hoo… WHEE-hoo!” I’m immediately transported back to 2007. That was a good year.

7. Genesis, “I Can’t Dance” (Chris Iannetta) – A fun, out-of-nowhere pick that actually sounds pretty good.

6. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, “El Matador” (Vinny Castilla) – Best foreign language entry, edging Manny Corpas’s use of Daddy Yankee. Bonus points for including the player’s nickname in the song.

5. Kid Rock, “Bawitdaba” (Todd Helton) – Yeah, it’s a trashy, strip-club metal song, but for the best years of Helton’s career, this song was the soundtrack.

4. Foo Fighters, “My Hero” (Jeff Cirillo) – Great opening riff, but in the late innings, if Cirillo came up in a big spot, they’d play the chorus instead – “There goes my hero…” I know he wasn’t that good, but it’s a great song.

3. 8 Ball & MJD, “You Don’t Want Drama” (Preston Wilson) – Shame he was hurt all of 2004, because this was his hitting music that year, and it was awesome. The best rap selection of all time, edging the one time Jack Cust strode to the plate to “Oh Boy” by Cam’ron.

2. Ozzy Osborne, “Crazy Train” (Larry Walker) – Need I say more? The only reason it isn’t number one is because…

1. Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer” (Dante Bichette) - …I LOVE Peter Gabriel, and I’m such a Bichette fan that I still own and wear a #10 home jersey. This was the perfect music for Bichette in his prime.


Here’s a scary thought I’ve been battling lately: what if Troy Tulowitzki’s already as good as he’s going to be?

This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I’ll still take his defensive skills over any shortstop in the National League. But as a hitter, I’m wondering if that .291/.359/.479/24/99 he threw up as a rookie was his peak, rather than a sign of things to come. Tulo’s out to a good start power-wise, with three homers in the first two weeks, but he’s striking out a ton (he and everyone else) and hitting just .196. He looks lost against sliders and still isn’t laying off the high fastball.

I think Tulo’s a hard enough worker that if there are correctable flaws in his game, he’ll correct them. His reputation as a baseball rat has preceded him since he was drafted. But over the last two seasons – the injury marred 2008 and this one so far – his approach at the plate has been concerning. And I think I tend to worry about Tulo because I believe this franchise is fated to go as he goes. The minute he stepped on the scene as a rookie, he had the feel of a Jeter-esque force of nature that could lead a team and put up All Star seasons. And I’ve hitched my hopes for the future of Rockies baseball to Tulo’s wagon, praying that the wagon wasn’t so flawed as to collapse under its weight.

At the very worst, Tulo’s an .750+ OPS hitter with Gold Glove caliber defense. That’s a good, valuable player. But for the Rockies to provide us with more Rocktober memories in years to come, Tulo’s got to be great. And like Tulo needs to lay off that hard slider from time to time, maybe I too have to show some patience.

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