There is no Blue Jays player who encapsulates the euphoric highs and the depressing lows of the last four seasons quite like Troy Tulowitzki.
He emerged out of the fog like something out of a Blue Jays fan’s fever dream on July 26th, 2015. Then, just as quickly as he arrived, Tulo was whisked out the back door with a $38 million cheque into an unmarked van.
Now that the Blue Jays have officially released Tulo, it’s easy to look back and lament that trade as a failure. But without that Tulo deal, do the Blue Jays make the playoffs in 2015 and 2016? It’s debatable, but man, was Tulo fun to watch in Toronto for portions of three seasons.
Other than Russell Martin, Tulowitzki was one of the last few embers of those 2015-2016 playoff teams. Now that he’s gone, all we’re left with is memories. Tulo provided some unforgettable moments in 2015 and 2016 (less so in 2017 and 2018).
Welcome to Toronto, Troy
Fresh off his acquisition from the Colorado Rockies, Tulowitzki hit a home run in his first game as a Blue Jay, during his second at-bat of the game. Keep in mind, this was a few days before the floodgates busted open after the trades for David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe and others.
Tulo’s 11-pitch at-bat against Miller
The 2015 Blue Jays went on an unbelievable run in the final two months of the regular season, posting a 43-18 record in their last 61 games of 2015.
This game was from one of only a handful of second-half losses for the Blue Jays, but the game concluded with this thrilling nine-minute 11-pitch at bat between Andrew Miller and Tulowitzki. He ultimately struck out, but not before nearly giving the Yankees’ closer a heart attack.
That classic looping throw from short
As a big-bodied shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki looked completely different than the typical player at his position. His sidearm throw evoked memories of Tony Fernandez’ famous looping throw across the diamond and this was just one of the many defensive gems from Tulo.
Not a pivotal play in a pivotal game for the Blue Jays, but this play inspired one of the better Blue Jays GIFS from the last few years, by @Minor_Leaguer. Tulo transformed into Super Mario and avoided the tag from Matt Wieters.
This was another fun Tulo memory pic.twitter.com/7EZdHS28YF
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) December 11, 2018
Tulo helps the Jays break out in Game 3
With the Blue Jays down 0-2 in the ALDS and the series heading back to Texas, the odds were stacked against the Blue Jays to rally for three consecutive wins. This three-run home run by Tulowitzki was the spark that lit the Blue Jays comeback in the series.
Tulo vs. Dyson
Game 5 was one of the 2015 ALDS was one of the craziest baseball games of the last 25 years. As if there weren’t enough drama in the deciding game of a series, this game featured two bench-clearings between the Blue Jays and Rangers.
The first came after this bizarre exchange between Tulowitzki and Sam Dyson. The Rangers reliever was trying to pour water on the fire, but Dyson actually fanned the flames by slapping Tulo on the backside.
The pancake glove
Ah yes, the famous “Tulo’s glove is a floppy pancake” bit. After much wear and tear, he eventually had to retire his trusted gamer glove, but as usual, the glove came up big for the Blue Jays in the 2015 and 2016 playoffs.
Tulo clears the bases in ALCS Game 5
This is my personal favourite Tulowitzki memory because I didn’t actually witness it, but I heard it. For whatever reason, I felt that the sixth inning of Game 5 of the ALCS was an appropriate time to get a beer. This is when Tulo broke the game open with this three-run double.
What a throw
The thing about defense is the best defenders make high difficulty plays look like routine plays in the field. With the ball taking him in the opposite direction, Tulowitzki had the wherewithal to make the leaping throw across the diamond to hit Justin Smoak at first base.
Troy takes exception with Souza’s slide
The funny thing is, this was the first of two run-ins with Steven Souza. Tulowitzki took exception with how the Rays outfielder slid into second base. The two barked back and forth and the benches cleared.
TULO TULO TULO
THIS CALL FROM TVA SPORTS IS INCREDIBLE pic.twitter.com/ClJ2Btdf8N
— David Shemie (@dshemie8) September 11, 2016
Sadly, this grand slam from Tulo came in a losing effort for the Blue Jays, which saw them lose 11-8 to the Red Sox. But for one brief moment, Rodger Brulotte’s call of Tulo’s grand slam was pure bliss.