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Troy Tulowitzki is motivated by doubt, so let's help the Colorado Rockies and doubt him

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent question and answer session with the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders, Walt Weiss spoke about what motivates Troy Tulowitzki. Among them are his doubters. "Something, whatever it is, has to put that chip on your shoulder," Weiss stated. "I think the doubters will motivate him even more, if that’s possible."

Let’s find out.

We’re here to cast serious doubt on Tulo. How big can we make that chip on his shoulder? How much more can we motivate him to be the best baseball player on the planet? As long that the chip on his shoulder doesn’t require surgery and the extra motivation doesn’t mean playing through injury, we’re here to do our part.

I doubt the decision to lose the mullet.

Over the course of Tulo’s first years in the big leagues, he sported a mighty mullet. The mullet is not what one would call a "stylish" haircut. But that’s not the sort of vanity Rockies fans are interested in. It’s entirely possible—probable, really—that Tulo’s mullet played a role in his production. It gave him a sense of identity that connected him to his childhood. From the Rockies' Instagram account:

A photo posted by rockies (@rockies) on

I bet Tulo didn't even consider the health ramifications of losing the mullet. Like a dog’s whiskers, it’s possible—almost certain—that his mullet affected his equilibrium. When athletic bodies tilt to and fro, there needs to be a mechanism of control to prevent injury. Tulo just lopped his off.

I doubt the wisdom of naming his child Taz.

This has nothing to do with it being an unorthodox name or the apparent commitment to alliteration. Being creative with the naming of one’s child is a liberty with which parents should pursue. When I teach, I especially like such names. Remembering a student named Taz is easier than distinguishing between seven Matthews. No, I doubt this because Tulo and his wife either chose to name their child after, a) a lesser Warner Brothers cartoon, or b) an injury prone former professional wrestler. Sure, Taz is better than naming one’s child after serial womanizer Pepé Le Pew or The Sandman. Creativity is one thing, but adding a definite article to a child’s name is a way to ensure future stigmatization. But think of the other possibilities: Wile E. Tulowitzki or Elmer F. Tulowitzki. If he wanted to choose another former ECW star, Tommy Tulowitzki, middle name Dreamer, rolls of the tongue nicely. It’s alliterative, too!

I doubt Tulo knows what the positions other than shortstop are called.

Speaking of names, Tulo told Troy Renck in 2011 that he has two dogs, one named Rawlings and the other named Ripken. Whether the latter name is an homage to Cal Jr. or his brother Billy doesn’t matter. They both played shortstop. Additionally, it is well known that Tulowitzki wears number two as a tribute to Derek Jeter. And, according to the authorities at Wikipedia, he wore number five in college for Nomar Garciaparra. In the same interview with Renck noted above, Tulo told him that his most worn pregame shirt was "a black-and-yellow Long Beach State model with Shortstop U on the front." I doubt Tulo thinks of the third and second basemen in terms other than right of shortstop and left of shortstop. The outfield is the expansive grassy area where shortstop only goes if he has to.

I doubt Tulo’s hitting prowess relies on tight batting gloves and being able to recite the preamble to the United States Constitution in between pitches.

As Thomas Harding reported, many of the Rockies players aren’t too thrilled about the new pace of play rules. One existing rule that will be enforced is that batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box in between pitches. Stop watches and casual observers can confirm that Tulowitzki takes a bunch of time in between pitches. Year to year, he wanders closer and closer to the right of shortstop dugout as he prepares for his next chance. He was not available to provide a comment to Harding about the rule, but it’s safe to assume that he won’t welcome anything that will change his routine. But his current routine was also at some point a new routine. It’s behavior that can be changed. Can Tulo adjust to a new environment and be the same hitter? It is, in a word, doubtful.

I doubt Tulo knows the details of where he stacks up among other shortstops of some renown.

Through his first nine seasons, Tulo has an OPS+ of 125, which sits behind only Alex Rodriguez, Arky Vaughn, Ernie Banks, Hanley Ramirez, and Nomar Garciaparra over the course of their first nine. If we look at home runs over a shortstop’s first nine seasons, Tulo has the eighth most at 176. Turning to total value, Tulo’s 37.6 rWAR ranks 13 for shortstops in baseball history over their first nine seasons. Some of the names ahead of him in this regard are Pee Wee Reese, Barry Larkin, and Cal Ripken Jr. I doubt Tulo, who just turned 30, knows that Ripken, after he turned 30, produced about as much rWAR (37.9) as Tulo did in his twenties. I don’t doubt that he knows that if he can do what Ripken did in his 30s, Tulo will join Ripken in the Hall of Fame. But can he do even better?

I doubt it.