As you may have heard, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was seen sitting in the ultra-posh field-level seats at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Television cameras picked him up because they pick everything up:
Tulowitzki is currently on the disabled list with a hip injury and he recently traveled to Philadelphia to see a specialist. He told Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that he went to the home of the Yankees to see his idol Derek Jeter -- why do you think Tulowitzki wears No. 2? -- one last time before his retirement.
"It's a short drive from Philly. I'm with my family. I wanted to see [Derek] Jeter play one more time," Tulowitzki told the Denver Post.
Rockies players eventually heard Tulowitzki was seen at Yankee Stadium -- this is the Internet age, of course they were going to find out -- and left-hander Brett Anderson made sure to poke some fun at his teammate:
If Derek Jeter said jump...I apparently know someone that would jump reallllly high.— Brett Anderson (@BAnderson_30) July 28, 2014
Surely a star player showing up another team's game is going to make headlines, but it's not exactly unprecedented. Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick showed off the bobblehead he received while attending a game at Fenway Park in May. A gaggle of Red Sox players attended a Blue Jays game last August.
Players go to baseball games in their spare time. It happens. In most cases, a player attending a game is no big deal. Reddick was enjoying an off-day at the park and so were those Red Sox players last August. Tulowitzki is on the disabled list though, so it's not quite the same thing. But, more importantly, he has also been the subject of trade rumors because he has said he's open to being moved.
Here's what our own Jon Heyman wrote earlier this month:
Rockies superstar shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, frustrated by the team's continuing struggles, recently met with team brass and gave a subtle blessing to a trade for him, but only if the higher-ups felt it was best for all parties involved.
Tulowitzki's message was said to be something along these lines: "I love it in Colorado. I'd like to be here. But if things [don't improve], and you can [trade] me to a winning situation I'm OK with it."
The trade rumors have grown louder in recent weeks as the Rockies continue to slide into irrelevance. They are truly awful -- 43-61 overall and 21-47 in the past 68 games -- and with Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau on the disabled list, they're only going to get worse in the second half.
A third straight last-place finish is in the cards for the Rockies and Tulowitzki, who is right smack in the prime of his career at age 29. He has been to the postseason only twice -- following his call-up in 2007 and again in 2009 -- and he hasn't played on a winning team in four seasons now. The losing is starting to wear on him, hence giving the club a "subtle blessing" to trade him.
When a player gives his team the OK to trade him and he shows up in another team's ballpark while on the disabled list -- in the stadium of a team that would be one of his top suitors, coincidentally -- it's going to blow up into a Very Big Deal. I don't think this was Tulowitzki making some kind of "trade me already" protest, however. I also don't think he cared that it would blow up and lead to trade chatter either.
The Rockies have been, for lack of a better word, directionless the past few seasons. They make moves that say they are trying to win now (signing Cuddyer) and moves that say they are rebuilding (trading Dexter Fowler), and the result has been an extended run of mediocrity. I think Tulowitzki is sick of that and looking forward to joining a contender. Sunday's cameo at Yankee Stadium was not a big deal, but it was a not-so-subtle reminder that he's open to leaving town.