Troy Tulowitzki and the rest of the Colorado Rockies reported to spring training yesterday (pitchers and catchers reported last week), but Tulo sought out the advice of an unlikely source before heading to Arizona: California sports icon and former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
Tulo, a former high school basketball star, flew to Encino, California, to meet the 99-year-old legend, reports The Associated Press. Wooden told Tulo, who was admittedly nervous to meet the legend, that baseball was his favorite sport and reiterated that no matter the game, it’s all about teamwork.
Wooden stressed to the star shortstop that good players working in unison and staying focused on their individual responsibilities will have success, a point Tulo wants to emphasize heading into a year laden with expectations.
Tulo also plans to focus on improving different aspects of his game, most notably his baserunning, according to The Denver Post. That’s meant loads of sprint work over the off-season in the hopes of achieving a 30 home-runs, 30 stolen-bases season.
Tulo isn’t shy about embracing a leadership role, but the pitching staff is much more reserved. The Arizona Daily Star profiles the staff, saying they prefer to contribute to leadership by example.
“It’s more just, ‘go out and do your thing.’ Most of us are quiet,” says pitcher Aaron Cook. “You pretty much have to pry words out of us after games.”
For catcher Chris Ianetta, it’s all about living up to his potential. He tells The Associated Press he was surprised when the Rockies offered him a multi-year contract in the off season, but he’s ready to take the pressure off himself and just get to playing solid baseball.