|Jimenez Shows No Class||| Print ||
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on April 10, 2012
Getting drilled by a 95-mph fastball is never fun, but getting hit when you know that the pitcher was deliberately throwing at you must be even worse.
On April 1, Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hit Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the left elbow during the first inning of a spring training game. The two players shouted back and forth and the benches emptied, but no punches were thrown.
Jimenez also called Tulowitzki one of the "superstar players in the game" and that he never would want to be in the position to take someone out of the game. He even referred to Tulowitzki as his ex-teammate to support his case.
But based on the factors involved here, there's no doubt that this was a deliberate beaning.
If Jimenez claimed this was an accident, why did he escalate the confrontation? After being hit, Tulowitzki slammed down his bat and took a few steps towards the mound, but Jimenez was who threw down his glove and rushed towards home plate. It was almost as if he was contemplating his next move before throwing the pitch.
The casual baseball fan may ask why there was bad blood between the Indians and Rockies. The teams are in different leagues and don't even play each other every season during interleague play.
However, the rivalry exists directly between Jimenez and Tulowitzki -- at least in Jimenez's mind.
During the offseason spanning 2010 and 2011, the Rockies were big spenders in preserving their own talent. The team locked up Carlos Gonzalez to a seven-year, $80 million contract and signed Tulowitzki to a seven-year, $134 million extension.
Meanwhile, the organization did not view Jimenez, who was coming off a 19-8 season with a 2.88 ERA, as a candidate for a contract extension, though his deal runs through the 2012 season. After getting off to a slow start last year -- including going winless in his first nine starts -- Jimenez was traded at the July deadline to the Indians.
Earlier in spring training, Jimenez admitted that he was unhappy that the Rockies did not approach him about a long-term deal based on the deals to the Gonzalez and Tulowitzki. He said he was willing to give Colorado a hometown discount, but the team instead decided to move on.
When Tulowitzki heard of these comments, he responded by saying that Jimenez had to earn his contract. Before his breakout season in 2010, Jimenez was only three games over .500 for his career.
Jimenez must not have taken too kindly to Tulowitzki's remarks, and, at the first chance he got, he beaned his former teammate.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy told reporters that the incident was "the most gutless thing I've seen in 35 years" of being involved in baseball. He lost all respect for his former pitcher.
For his actions, Jimenez was suspended for five games. However, knowing what we know about the contract situation and Tulowitzki's comments, the suspension could have even been longer based on the obvious intent.
It's one thing when a high and inside fastball gets away from a pitcher, but it's a different story when the pitcher's intentions are malicious. You're talking about possibly ending another player's career simply in the name of revenge for yourself.
This incident proves one thing for sure: Jimenez is classless act./p