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Troy Tulowitzki's cognitive dissonance, Rockies' broken promises make everyone miserable

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At some point, the baseball gods have to give fans of both Troy Tulowitzki and the Rockies something good. Right?

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

When the Rockies traded Troy Tulowitzki last July, I thought that was as bad as I could possibly feel about baseball. Watching dreams shatter in front of your eyes is heartbreaking, but that was supposed to be the rock bottom. Then yesterday happened. Bob Nightengale's article happened. And the relationship between the former face of the franchise and the Rockies reached depths that once never seemed unimaginable.

Every word cut through me like a dagger.

I used to love Troy Tulowitzki because of the Rockies; I used to love the Rockies because of Troy Tulowitzki. The truth is, like many fans, I still love both Tulo and the Rockies. The trade last summer meant fans could no longer unite those passions. The news yesterday made loving each of them individually more difficult.

We'll start with Tulo, whose cognitive dissonance reeks in numerous comments. He has every right to be upset with Jeff Bridich and the Rockies front office, even more so than I thought before this week (more on that in a moment), but where he crosses an unnecessary line is when he make comments like these about the Rockies' spring training facility:

I like this place a lot better than Arizona. That place was like a country club. Guys got comfortable because it was so nice.

This place has a better feel. It reminds you of spring training. The way it's supposed to be.

This is quite a different tune than he was singing in 2011, when he and the Rockies wanted to be BFFs, Salt River Fields was new, and everything seemed right with the baseball world:

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been itching to play ever since signing his new, seven-year extension (which last through 2020) not long after last season ended. On Monday, he arranged to meet general manager Dan O'Dowd at the complex at 8 a.m.

By 7 a.m., Tulowitzki texted O'Dowd saying he had eaten breakfast and was already en route to the park.

"I was definitely anxious to get here - a new facility," Tulowitzki said. "I woke up early, had that itch, wanted to get to the field, see all the fields, see the new locker room. Wow. Special facility. I'm glad I'm getting to enjoy it for a long time."

And then again in late March of 2011 when he briefly took over the team's Twitter feed:

Salt River Fields is incredible. It's made Spring go by very fast. It's the best in baseball.

This is classic cognitive dissonance. Troy Tulowitzki wanted to be a Rockie forever, and now that it's not possible, he's revising his stance on Salt River Fields, a place he once loved, and is trying to come up with reasons why his new digs in Dunedin are better.

You can play this game again when it comes to Tulo's disappointing comments on his former teammates, which is perhaps the most damning baseball related item to ever come out of his mouth.

You look around here and there are some great players in this locker room. It's different than in Colorado where I was leaned upon so heavily. Now, I'm just another guy. I enjoy that.

The biggest difference is that I don't feel like a teacher anymore. Over there, there was a lot of young guys. The young guys were scared to walk around. I was trying to teach these guys how to handle themselves, instead of just going out there and playing the game the right way, playing the game to win. Here, we got so many veterans, it makes everyone relax.

I enjoy not getting all of those questions now.

Again, this seems like (there's that word again) cognitive dissonance. Tulo spent countless hours working with young players like Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, among others, pushing them to reach their potential and make adjustments as they worked their way up the baseball ladder easier. Near the end of his tenure here, he even expressed how rewarding it was to work with some of these guys. He seemed to even be embracing the teaching role.

While I believe that he doesn't miss that role on the Blue Jays, it likely has more to do with him having a much better shot at a World Series ring than he did in Colorado. If he was on a team just as good as the Blue Jays but with younger players who needed more leading, he'd likely be leading them just fine while picking another topic to discuss.

The bottom line is that Tulo is fiercely loyal, and because of that, he has a hard time letting go of things. Look no further than the million dollar donation he gave to his alma mater Long Beach State, or the game glove he refuses to change. This presents a huge problem for Tulo when it comes to the Rockies, because he now must balance new feelings of dishonesty and betrayal from the front office with the warm memories of an organization that he attached himself to and happily called home for a decade. After all, he also had this to say in Nightengale's piece:

"I wasn't ready to leave at all,'' Tulowitzki said. "I had intentions to stay there and play there a long time, my entire career. Never once did I got to anybody and say, ‘Hey, get me out of here.' "

It's not easy to separate competing sentiments, but we all do it. Tulo's inability to do so is now threatening to stain his status in Rockies history if he continues to dwell on the details of the trade, which is gut wrenching to watch.

There has simply been too much good history between Tulo and this franchise to allow the ending to burn it all to the ground, and I hope he realizes this and puts his torch down before it's too late. There's no telling what will happen going forward (haven't we all learned that the hard way), and it's very possible that Tulo's legacy could end up more strongly tied to the Rockies than anywhere else. Pissing that legacy away would be a foolish move on his part.

When Tulo returns to Coors Field this June, there's no reason for anything other than cheers to rain down on him—at least, there wasn't before Monday.

★ ★ ★

As disappointing as Tulo's comments are, some of my worst fears about how Bridich and the Rockies front office handled this situation have all but been confirmed.

Back in July, I talked about how I believed the front office regarding the deal coming together really, really fast during the Cubs game. I no longer believe them. Not with a new comment like this from Alex Anthopoulos:

The only way this deal was going to get done was if it was kept quiet. It was imperative, and both sides were sensitive to that. The minute things leak out, teams can get wind of it, run interference, and the whole thing blows up on you.

And Bridich generally agrees on the topic.

Bridich, like Anthopoulos, believes the deal would have been killed if word leaked. He wasn't going to take that chance with Tulowitzki or anyone else.

This pretty much leads us to the disturbing conclusion that the Rockies—or at least prominent members of their front office—lied right to the face of the franchise when they told him they would keep him informed on trade developments. This sounds like a group who had plenty of time to allow Tulo to know what was going on, and just chose not to do it.

Now, if that was their policy going into the matter, and they told Tulo, "Hey, we don't discuss front office matters with players," they would be in the clear. Unfortunately, they didn't do that. They told Tulo one thing and then did exactly the opposite, and that makes the origin of Tulo's bitterness grounded in reason.

Not only that, but it's far more important than anything Tulo said this week. Even though it was buried in this story, word about how the Rockies treat their star players is going to get around the league, and lying to the guy who had been nothing but loyal to the organization for a decade is woefully sinful in baseball circles. This is not how Tulo's tenure in Colorado should have ended, and knowing the truth now makes the Rockies extremely difficult to defend.

Worse yet, Bridich actually claims that he "feels [the Rockies] handled their business professionally'' in the Nightengale piece. He then goes on to blast the media for the current state of matters:

Frankly, I think it's a crime that the media does what it does, basically creating stories and creating lies, and not even considering players and their families and their loved ones. Basically, the media has lost all respect for what rumors and innuendo can do to a player and the players' families.

I have great respect for Alex that we were able to keep those conversations to ourselves. It's nearly impossible this day and age, because nobody really looks out for the people involved. The media just looks out for themselves now.

So our GM actually has the nerve to call out the media on how they have no consideration for players or their families, and he does this while discussing a sequence of events in which he showed blatant disrespect to Tulo and his family.

This makes me extremely concerned moving forward about how this front office is going to treat players. If Bridich had no problem trying to spin what went down in July as good business, I shudder to think what his stance will be on less important players, which is basically 99 percent of everyone else.

Actions this nefarious make it really, really hard to cheer for this organization, and yet, I'm still somehow someone who loves both Tulowitzki and the Rockies. I've tried, but I just can't pick between them, even though neither side did anything to win affection this week.

★ ★ ★

You're supposed to go through different stages of grief, including denial and anger, when you're upset like this, but I just haven't felt those things since July. It's just been one never ending train of sadness. It's hard to explain, but I just don't have it in me to hate either my favorite team, or my favorite player. I simply loved watching everything that happened before it all fell apart last summer, and just wish there was something that could put the brakes on the path we're headed down here so I could feel something different.

For now, I remain hopelessly trapped in a "no man's land" between these parties, hoping beyond hope that this time, we've finally reached rock bottom—hoping that as spring begins anew, both sides find in their hearts a way to heal the wounds, and ultimately re-establish positive views of one another. Right now though, these developments have crushed my soul. It's March, and I can't ever remember being less excited to watch my favorite player or my favorite team in this month than I am right now. It's a feeling of emptiness I wouldn't wish on anyone.

In the late 2020s, I want us to be able to look back on this era and smile the way I smile every time I think about the optimism I had for this player and this team following the 2010 Tulo contract extension. I want to remember a standing ovation from fans at Coors along with warm embracing hugs from former players when Tulo returned in June of 2016. I want to remember watching Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco develop into stars themselves. I want to remember seeing Tulo win a World Series (or two) with the Blue Jays before their window closes. I want to remember seeing the Rockies rise from the ashes late in the 2010s while spending many years contending for, and winning, a World Series. And, of course, I want to see Tulo go into Cooperstown one day wearing a Rockies hat after he and the team bury the hatchet.

All of this is going to be impossible if Tulo and the Rockies front office continue to display the same qualities they've shown at one time or another for the last eight months, but love and redemption will always be stronger qualities than bitterness and hate, and if used properly, they can take you to wonderful destinations.

My brain knows this isn't very realistic now. At some point, however, you get just so tired of the ones you love making you sad and miserable that you'll grasp at anything. So this is what I'm choosing to grasp at today.

The sooner Tulo and the Rockies start to improve their relationship, the better off everyone will be going forward. So to everyone involved, please don't disappoint us again. I for one can't take much more.