An Open Letter to Troy Tulowitzki

Dearest Troy,

I’m the girl who screamed your name in Houston in June for four days in a row even though you got hurt. And the girl who had the “TROY/Tulo is MY Rookie Of the Year” sign with the glitter and the broken (then fixed) camera that you took a picture with last year in Houston. I cheered my hardest in Anaheim while wearing my lucky pajama pants. I yelled for you at Dodger Stadium despite the jeers from the drunken fans behind me. I’m also the girl whose jersey you signed on Saturday in San Diego.

Oh yeah, you remember, right? We called your name during stretches. The guy next to me asked if you’d be coming back and as you walked away, you nodded. We couldn’t see your face but we took your nod to mean yes.

You went back to your business of stretching and warming up and taking BP and of course we screamed your name. We wanted to make sure that you didn’t forget us, that you knew we supported you, that we wanted you to do well. At an away game, we figured we had to cheer enough among us for a capacity Coors crowd, and since there were about six of us that was almost 7,000 people worth of screaming for each. So we yelled for you and waved and I held up my jersey like a flag proclaiming that you are my favorite ballplayer.

The National Anthem played and you took off your hat and we sang along with the really pretty girl. I briefly admired your short haircut and then you went back to warm-ups. Finally, at the last possible second, you walked over to us. You set your glove down on my jersey and I swooned, and then you looked at the guy next to me.

Had I any idea what was coming, I would have paid better attention and maybe written what you said down, because I didn’t realize what an impact it would have. Pretty much, what you said was “Man, next time I tell you I’m coming back, you don’t have to keep shouting at me. I’m coming back.” You said it in a perfectly flat tone. You weren’t yelling or scolding, but you weren’t joking either. I could tell by your lack of inflection and expression that you were completely and totally serious.

While I appreciated that you didn’t want to chide us like misbehaving children, I was somewhat disappointed that you even mentioned it. Do you have any idea how many times a little kid, a teenager, a dad has been told by a player that he would come back, then left hanging when the player forgot, ran out of time, or just decided not to return?

I know that you are a sweet guy and you kept your word last year. We posed for a picture and my camera battery was dead, so you promised you’d look for me the next day. And you did. I had a sign that said “I fixed my camera,” and you said, verbatim, “Let me take some ground balls.” So I waited. I cheered for you. And you stopped by on your way back to the dugout just after BP and you even smiled and sounded excited to take the picture.

I don’t want to believe that you’re jaded and you think we’re all going to sell our autographs the second we get them. Yeah, we want autographs. But the guy behind me was a fan. I’m your biggest fan, Troy (well, at least one of them, I don’t have a tattoo or anything) and I have cherished your autograph and the picture since I got them. No matter how or where you play, Troy Trevor Tulowitzki, you will always own my baseball heart, and a part of my real heart as well. You’ll always be my favorite player, Tulo. I will always clap my hands red and scream my throat raw when you come up to bat because I adore you.

Which is why I wanted you to know that I’m sorry for frustrating you. I apologize that we didn’t believe you. I never doubted your return, but at the same time I wanted to ensure it, to know that I did everything possible.

In return, I’m asking you to please help us fans out. We won’t badger you if we know you’ll come back, but for us to trust you we need to have reason to believe. You are my reason to believe, and I always trust the Rockies because they’re the most honest bunch of ballplayers I’ve met thus far. But we fans need more reasons to believe in y’all as a class act in general. Ballplayers aren’t known for their honesty.

More flies are caught with honey than with vinegar. All your colleagues would do well to know that. I got tired of seeing Roy Oswalt pull out his BlackBerry. Of hearing stories that Lance Berkman takes a golf cart out a different exit to avoid the fans at spring training. Of Michael Bourn’s “I gotta go, I gotta go” the spring after we traded for him. That’s not how to build a fanbase.

So that you can educate your colleagues, I’ve gathered examples of “good players” who make fans’ lives better.
n644491575_1317929_8151.jpg- Jay Bruce. The first game I attended after the hurricane, I attempted to get several autographs from Reds. I wanted Josh Fogg’s on my Rockies hat, I wanted Micah Owings’ on my D-backs team card, and I had a Joey Votto rookie card I was dying to get signed. But it turned out Joey was really quiet, Micah didn’t sign, and Foggles was on the 60-day and not traveling. I heard guys talking on my left and turned to look. Jay was sitting on the railing (as pictured, back when I still had long brown hair) and talking. With everyone. Hanging out. I walked up to him in my Astros shirt and said, “Jay, I’ll hate myself if I miss this opportunity. Would you take a picture with me?” He said, “Sure!” and hugged me. I almost died. I shook his hand and wished him luck, then went back to my corner. One single experience that left a smile on my face made me a lifelong fan of this young outfielder.
- David Eckstein. My family friend, who is a Padres autograph guru, told me that Eck signed all the time. Even so, given my natural tendency not to trust ballplayers, I was dubious that I could be able to meet one of my favorite players. David proved me wrong when he parked his car and came back outside to sign and take pictures for about ten minutes. He was the sweetest thing ever–just ask Hyun Young, who got his autograph on Saturday and had a similarly wonderful experience with the King of Intangibles. It was fifteen minutes out of his day and it made me (and Hyun Young) so unbelievably happy.
IMG_5820.JPG- Hunter Pence. I’ve seen him sign more than I’ve ever seen anybody else sign. And he’s so patient and sweet. He smiles, chats, takes pictures. In this picture, he was getting out of a taxi at Petco with a couple other guys and could have ignored us like Roy and Lance did as they got off the team bus. Nope. He proudly wore his rally-hawk and his dorky carry-on suitcase with straps and took this wonderful picture with me. For one of my first games as a real fan, I made a sign that said “It’s Hunter season” with camo letters and pictures of him on it. My friend held it up while he signed my hat, and Hunter saw it and cracked up. Then he reached over three rows of peop
le to take it and sign it, still laughing, and draw a big smiley face underneath his signature. I have it even though it’s two years old, and I used to have it on my wall before our new house decided to have walls that don’t let anything stick.

I’ve got more stories but Jen‘s also provided some beautiful ones, so I’ll relay those.
- AJ Pierzynski. “I went to SoxFest in 2008 solely for the purpose of meeting AJ
Pierzynski. I started following baseball again because I went to a game in San Francisco in 2004 when he was a member of the Giants. I didn’t know any of the names of the players because all the ones I DID know weren’t playing due to an off-day or going to the All-Star Game. He very quickly became my favorite player. He signed with my White
Sox in 2005, and my mission was clear: I will meet him, I will get my picture with him, and I will get his autograph. SoxFest was my chance.
“SoxFest is held at the Palmer House Hilton in downtown Chicago.  It’s a massive hotel, and AJ was signing on the sixth floor.  At the beginning of the day, you pretty much had to take the stairs unless you were disabled or elderly.  I ran up six flights of stairs to get in line for his autograph.  Keep in mind I’m the most unathletic person ever, I only run if I’m being chased by a dangerous person, and I have horrible knee problems from years of cheerleading.  I RAN UP SIX FLIGHTS OF STAIRS for this man.  He finally came out at 10:00 to start signing.  The line is snaking around, and I’m having several minor panic attacks.  I get to the front of the line with my picture. He doesn’t look up at me, but he says “hi” and I say “hi” back.  He signs it, hands it to me, looks up and says (this is a verbatim quote), “Whoa, you’re really pretty.”  I almost died before being ushered away by security.  So my mission is almost complete.  All I need is my picture with him, and I can die happy.” — Never again will you hear this: BE MORE LIKE AJ, BOYS. All any fan wants is for her player to appreciate her adoration. Sign whatever she wants and take a picture with her. She’ll never boo you.
- Jake Peavy. “In April, I went to the Padres Fan Fest with Kaybee and Hyun Young. Kaybee and I got in line to get Jake Peavy’s autograph, and we were put in the overflow section.  The security guard/usher/whatever he was told the overflow section that it was highly unlikely that Jake would sign for us since he had a set number of people he could sign for. Kaybee and I stayed anyway since you never know how many people he would actually sign for.
“As the last few rows of people in the guaranteed section were nearing the table where Jake was signing, the usher started letting people from the overflow section go down.  Apparently Jake was signing for everyone.  EVERYONE. All of the overflow people got autographs too.
“So when Kaybee and I got down to his table, I said something to the effect of “I’m a White Sox fan, but you’re my new favorite Padre.”  He smiled and laughed, and he signed my ball on the sweet spot.  It was awesome.” — Don’t y’all want these to be the stories we tell about you? Not, “yeah, he jumped off the team bus on his BB and didn’t even give us a glance.”
- Josh Fields. “I got to meet Josh Fields at SoxFest in 2008 after I met AJ.  That year was the first year they decided to do separate photo lines.  So Josh was there just taking pictures.  I was in line for my picture with him, and when I got up there, he said “Hi darlin’.  How are you?” He also asked if I’d gotten my Pierzynski jersey just for SoxFest. He was super sweet, and I suspect it was due to him being such a Southern gentleman.  I took the chance and asked if he’d sign my ball even though he wasn’t supposed to.  And he did.  Then the security lady/usher/whatever she was told everyone in line that Josh couldn’t sign anything, so don’t ask.  :)” — Gotta love Southern boys. If you’ve got an accent, let it out, and if you’ve got sweetness, bring it :D
- DJ Carrasco, Jeff Marquez, and Chris Getz. “I went to spring training for a weekend during my spring break. I was unable to get any autographs on Saturday since I barely made first pitch, but I went on Sunday to the A’s ballpark since that’s where the Sox were playing that day. I waited outside and was unable to get autographs since a few guys only signed for the little kids. Which was fine, but I was seriously on the only female there. When I went inside, I hung out near the Sox dugout. Soon DJ Carrasco came to sign for people. When he took my ball to sign, I mentioned that he was the first to sign for me this weekend, and that I was leaving after the game. He was genuinely excited that he was the first to sign for me that weekend. After DJ left, Jeff Marquez came to sign. I had been pushed out of the way by some mean guys, and Jeff motioned for me to toss him the ball. I said, “If I could throw, I’d toss it, but I can’t,” and I handed him the ball. He chuckled and signed it for me. Then I went with the mob of people closer to the dugout because Chris Getz was signing. He was talking to some friends and didn’t really acknowledge most of the people he signed for, but he did sign for a lot of people, myself included.” — We don’t really need y’all to make conversation, although that is the reason I love Tim Byrdak. Sometimes just a laugh or a comment is more than enough to make our day.

And here’s what not to do, courtesy of @clintonde:

“So you probably know that Johnny Damon got his start with the Kansas City Royals. You may or may not know that Johnny Damon was born in Fort Riley, Kansas. So when Johnny got called up he was kind of the “home-town” kid and everyone including me loved him. He was one of my favorite players from this time until the time my story takes place, even with his girly arm and everything. Obviously he was good so the Royals couldn’t hang on to him and had to trade him. (The royals are allowed to have one good player at a time, and they already had Mike Sweeney). Anyway, around the time that Damon signed with the Yankees I ran across a Johnny Damon rookie baseball card. I’m not exactly a huge baseball card collector but i have quite a few and if it’s a player I really like then I’ll keep the card and possible try to have that player sign it. SO, I look up the players’ address at yankee stadium and decide i’m going to have Johnny Damon sign this card. When I get it ready, I do everything correctly, I don’t write a huge note with it, just a simple, “Kansas City misses you Johnny, can I have your autograph please?” AND I include a self addressed stamped envelope for him to send the card back easily. Anyway so I get ready and send the card off…. and that was the last I ever saw of it…
“[N]ow I’m no longer a Johnny Damon fan at all. I wish baseball players would either sign all stuff sent in if it’s sent with a self addressed stamped envelope or at least send the stuff back if they can’t sign it!”
Fanbases are built by being kind. Being honest. Doing what you say you’re going to do. You’ve done that, Troy. You’ve proven yourself several times now to me personally, and to anyone who reads this blog. You, my dear, are all class. But the same cannot be said for most.
Good guys don’t get booed. I promise you I will never boo you, Troy. But I have no problem booing many guys because they are not as classy as you are. If a player wants to be supported always and never have the fans turn on him, all it takes is a few smiles and nice words. It’s well worth it.

I know y’all’s job is to play your best. I get that and I respect it–we hate it when you lose too, you know. But we love you no matter what. And I know you’re not directly responsible to the fans, and that you hate it when fans say that you are. We like to say that we pay your salaries, but we won’t stop going to games if one of you is rude, and y’all know that. You have no real motivation to be nice. You get paid whether or not you decide to be polite.

So it’s up to y’all, ballplayers, and that’s why this is an open letter. More than addressing the letter to Troy, I have used him as an example. Troy, your classiness makes you more of a winner than a World Series ring could. And no matter what you do or don’t do, I’ll support you wherever you go. You’ve won me over with your personality more than your bat or glove (although your putting your glove on my jersey when you signed it… that was great).

Toss a fan a ball and win her over. Give a fan the cold shoulder and lose her forever. It’s y’all’s choice. Make the right one.

Much love and endless fanhood,
Kylie

38 Comments

And now I shall be immortalized as the “Tulo Tattoo Girl”…

Those are some really amazing stories. I hope that more young fans can have experiences like this. It’s stories like these that are passed from generation to generation with the game and that have made baseball America’s Pastime.

Better than being immortalized as the “Tulo stalker girl,” which is what my family calls me when they want to mock me. Sigh.
So do I. Too bad the stars of the game seem to view their contracts as excuses to opt out of fan interaction.

That’s a nice well-written note, I bet Troy’s going to read that for sure.

Matthew T
http://matt7.mlblogs.com/

Thanks. I love to think that would happen. I plan on hand-writing a more personal letter and mailing it. Probably he’ll never read it but it’s worth a try, right?

That was some letter. I am amazed at how the stars were also cool guys. I wouldn’t figure that. I’m still not sold on being an AJ fan (sorry–especially to you, Jen) but he doesn’t look like such an a** anymore.

Loved the stories. Loved ‘em.
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com

I’m amazed at some stars (White Sox stars, apparently) but not Houston stars. Most Astros stars are just butthats.
Everyone has good days and a** days.
I’m glad you liked them! Feel free to share your own :D

That is one hell of a great letter. Troy is definitely going to reply it when he reads it. Yes, that fifteen minutes was heaven. He’s going to come back from DL very soon. Yay!
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Great letter! Mail it to him!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Kylie – Send it to him! I hope that more players act like him. You have it right about what fanbases are built on. Hope you get to see more games this year!
Ginny
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

That is an epic letter. I love it! It’s just really amazing, definitely sent it!!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Hyun Young, Julia, Ginny and Kaybee: thank you guys so much. I’m actually going to handwrite most of it out and then include a link to the full version. I ♥ y’all.

Wow, thanks, Jane. A compliment like that coming from you, given that you’re a pro writer, means a ton. Thank you so much!
I actually have more pictures. I should make a Flickr album with all of them. If only Flickr didn’t hate me right now. ♥

Wow. What a letter, Kylie. (You look so happy in those pix, btw. BIG smile.) You should send it to him or to the front office or something. It’s such a respectful letter but also tells it like it is with examples from others. Well done!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

I love the letter, you should definitely send it! Great pictures too! :] xoxo http://diamondgirl55.mlblogs.com

Thanks! I just uploaded all of my pictures of myself and players to my Flickr. ♥

Wow. Excellent letter. Based on your description of your interactions with Tulo, I’m assuming he ‘gets’ it… at least he does by now. Another way not to do it: Mat Latos. Got a few stories of him from my time at the Futures Game last sunday. Boy did he act like a spoiled brat with little or no sense. Let’s hope his pitching performances (he does play for the weakly Padres after all) are not as embarrassing.
–jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Last I saw you guys wer in a barn burner with the Dbacks. These are games you have to win if you want to get that wildcard spot. Looks like you guys are taking care of business (hope I didn’t jinx it!).
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com

Kylie – just have to add, I love all the pics! You’re one happy girl in those pics!!
Ginny
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Wow, love the stories in your letter. Nice to know there are some players out there that aren’t butth0les. I was disappointed to read about the Berkman/Oswalt snotitudes. I keep an eye on the Astros from up here in Rangerdom and was a huge ‘stros fan back in the late seventies/early eighties J.R. Richard/Jose Cruuuuz/hideous orange rainbow uniform days.
Great stuff, thanks for sharing!
–Jonestein
http://jonestein.mlblogs.com/

Jeff: thanks so much. As I told you, your compliment means a lot lot lot. He most certainly does get it, and thanks for the shoutout in your Mat Latos entry.
raysfanboywithsecretfirstname: eh, you didn’t jinx it. Juan Rincón just sucks.
Ginny: thank you! I’ve had a lot of fun at ballgames these last few years.
Jonestein: isn’t it wonderful? They are snots. Even Miguel Tejada signed. Thanks for visiting!

Not relevant, but Oh… I…. Hate… the Astros…………. AGGGGGGGGGGGH!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

I love your take on baseball. You seem to enjoy it better than anyone-it seems your always smiling.
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com/

I love your take on baseball. You seem to enjoy it better than anyone-it seems your always smiling.
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com/

Hey Kylie! Thanks for the comment! Yeah that game was sad but I’m feeling better now since we won yesterday and earlier today! :] I’m still jittery from last night’s game, hehe. Oh and you should totally sport the pink car logo on your car too! It was only $5 and you can pick your own team and color! :] (No, I’m not a saleswoman for that store! Hehe) xoxo http://diamondgirl55.mlblogs.com

Kylie- Like everyone else, I’m thinking it might be cool to mail this letter. After reading some issues that another blogger had, one thing that comes to mind is how some players get all annoyed signing autographs and doing things for fans. For me, it’s wanting to be apart of the greatest game on earth, wanting to be apart of history, something that’s bigger than I am. I really enjoyed your letter though, I think it’s something that all fans think.
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

Jeff: don’t hate me ’cause I cheer for a great team :D
Michael David: thank you! After the 2007 WS, I wasn’t smiling, though. But as for when there are players involved–always smiling!
Diamondgirl55: I wish I could, but I don’t have a car, much less a driver’s license… I’m pathetic, I know :)
Emily: YOU ARE SO RIGHT. “something that’s bigger than I am” is spot on.
Everyone: I’m going to mail it. I promise :)

Well, Kylie, I’d hardly call them great… how many WS titles do they have? :-P
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com
http://twitter.com/RSBS

Great letter. I loved it.
http://tribechick.mlblogs.com/
-TC

I’m waiting for the big move from you guys. You are within spitting distance of winning the wildcard, I would think that the Rox might want to improve in some way. Very exciting day today!
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com

My name is Brad Stewart and I’m the executive editor of Fan Huddle, a new sports media website launching this fall. We’re currently looking for a Rockies writer and think you may be a good fit. Please let me know if you are interested in learning more by shooting me an email at bstewart [at] fanhuddle [dot] com.
Thanks for your time,
Brad Stewart
President – Front Office Sports Enterprise
Executive Editor – Fan Huddle

youre the ideal Rockies fan. i was just out there last week for a game and loved the area. it was an awesome time. i came away so impressed with the knowledge and loyalty of Colorado fans. you guys were great and very welcoming!

http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Hey, thanks for the invitation, and for pulling me back into the world of MLBlogs! My dad was talking about getting one last camping trip in that weekend, so I probably won’t be able to make it. Have fun, though! Maybe, if you’re going to more games, we could meet up at another one.

And, yes, I completely agree about players and the whole “I’ll be back.” and then they don’t issue. I can’t even count how many times that’s happened at Spring Training. I guess after a while the screaming fans would get tiring, but still.

-Alex

Interesting letter.
I know for a fact that the players don’t like fans yelling at them over and over for autographs or balls. The ones who sign come over and sign whether fans yell at them or not. Most fans tend to be rude and demanding, often they sell the autographs. Many of the players sign for children.
The Dodgers on the whole are nice guys. Before the game, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier, and Casey Blake will sign. This is almost without fail. There are some players who never ever sign. Some will sign maybe two autographs and leave. Remember, if they sign one, they have to sign 25, or else they will get bad mouthed.
I try to look at it from the other side. I like getting autographs but just talking to them is usually enough for me. How many fans can say they actually spoke to the players like you have. Many have autographs, many have balls (you can get those off of Ebay) but you actually have spoken to them. You are a lucky girl. That stalker title is scary. I know of Dodger “fans” who look for the players in the parking lot, follow them and try to find out where they are during their private lives. That is a scary thing because all of the baseball players havee famiies. I know of one of the Dodgers who balks at taking pictures with fans because I think someone was trying to blackmail him. It gets a bit sticky.
Remember that you are asking something of them before they are going to work. Yes, playing the game is their job and they have to do it well. They are under a lot of pressure to do well or boom, they are traded or DFA’d.
The yelling at the players makes me nervous too. I turn around and tell people that the player will come over and sign, just let them stretch first. Like I said before, if they are going to sign, they will sign whether you yell or not.
These guys are human. They have bad days too. I don’t always put on a happy face at work. That’s life.
Sorry for the long post but you hit on a pet peeve of mine.

Thanks for sharing your stories. It’s great that you have had so many good experiences with players and I enjoyed reading your tales. Keep up the good work – your enthusiasm must be contagious. Ashhttp://ashleymarshall.mlblogs.com

Did you send the letter Kylie???
Ginny
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

Hope all is well in preparation for the big move : ) Yes, i got yours and Jens message from the game and I was touched. I wanted to be there, but you are an awesome fan and I knew you would do the boys proud. I was in the local sports drinking establishment that night keeping an eye out for you two. You know a lot of my stories on players and autographs, and you write like you talk so I had to smile. If he hasn’t, I hope Troy does read it.
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

Jeff: eh, whatevs.
TC: why thank you!
Raysfanboy: thank God we didn’t try to do too much.
Matt: thanks! I’ve actually never been to a game at Coors Field, but I would like to think I’m a welcoming Astros fan, at least.
Alex: I’m going on the 21st and hopefully on the 24th as well. Let me know. I’ll shoot you an email one of these days.
Cat: I took issue with a vast majority of your comment, but I will reply to only a few parts. First of all, “I know of Dodger ‘fans’ who look for the players in the parking lot, follow them and try to find out where they are during their private lives.” And this is not okay, anywhere, ever. There’s a reason I drew a line when my friends called me “Annie.” No player deserves this. But I’m not sure what this has to do with reluctance to sign. I was inside the park, following the ushers’ rules. “Remember that you are asking something of them before they are going to work.” I am, this is true. And it’s their decision to do so or not to do so. But fan interaction is part of the job, and I would hope that it would be a rewarding part of the job. “These guys are human. They have bad days too. I don’t always put on a happy face at work. That’s life.” I worked as a “sales associate”–fancy name for retail monkey/slave–and we were required to put happy faces on. Behind the register, on the sales floor, stocking the shelves, it was a part of the job for us to wear smiles, to ensure that we were representing ourselves, our management team and our company well in the eyes of customers. My manager would have taken issue with me if I had not. The same should be true for anybody working in any profession that depends on direct interaction with customers for revenue.
I’m afraid you have misunderstood the intention of my letter. I was not at all scolding Troy. Rather, I was attempting to apologize for and explain our behavior, thanking him for keeping his word, and putting out a call to all Major Leaguers to be more like him and the other stories I’ve told. I hope you can agree with me on those points.
Ash: thank you! I’d like to think so, for sure.
Jeff again: I KNOOOOWWWWWWW. I’m such a bad blogger girl.
Ginny: not yet, need to do that.
Tom: Uhhh, not particularly. I have things but I haven’t packed whatsoever. I’m glad you could understand our crazy message. Thank you thank you thank you.

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