DENVER — A little less than a year ago, in one of the biggest surprises in Colorado Rockies history, first-year GM Jeff Bridich pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for pitching prospects Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro, and Jesus Tinoco as well as the contract of Jose Reyes.
Until that moment, Tulo was on the inside track toward becoming the single greatest Rockie of all time. He had become synonymous with the Rockies organization and they with him. He formed and developed relationships with his coaches and teammates, and despite whatever drama may have been drubbed up shortly after his departure, many of his former companions had nothing but positive things to say to greet Tulo back to the Mile High City this week. Cheif among them has been his spiritual (and actual) successor.
“I have a lot of respect for Tulo,” says Trevor Story who has taken hold of Tulowitzki’s old spot at shortstop. “He’s been a mentor to me. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him. I grew up watching him play. I grew up idolizing him a bit so, yeah, it’s gonna be cool to play against him.”
But Story didn’t just watch Tulowitzki from afar, for years they were compatriots; brothers in gloves. Now, the young man who has helped Rockies fans forget Tulo (at least, in moments) is taking some time to remember him.
“I learned a lot,” says Story of his yearly pilgrimage to Camp Tulo. “He’s a very intense guy, especially when it comes to baseball. I learned how to prepare. I use it every day, I’m thankful that he let me come to work out with him.”
The work paid off with an historic outburst to begin 2016. But more important than any of his statistical achievements, his work ethic and even-keeled nature — both of which he attributes at least some part to Troy Tulowitzki — garnered him the immediate respect of a Major League clubhouse. “He’s a special kid,” says manager Walt Weiss.
For however Tulowitzki and the Rockies may feel about each other after their parting, you cannot deny that the legacy he left behind will linger for years. Much of that legacy lives inside Trevor Story, meaning that there will be at least one person at 20th and Blake very happy to see the former Rockie today. “We need to catch up,” says Story. “It’s been a little while.”