Scottsdale, AZ – Ubaldo Jimenez obvious intentional plunking of Troy Tulowitzki signals his lowest point in his fall from prominence. On his first pitch to Tulowitzki in the first inning, Jimenez threw a fastball directly into Tulowitzki’s left elbow. The two players came together in front of home plate and both benches cleared. No fight ensued and neither player was ejected. Tulowitzki had to leave the game with soreness and stiffness in his left elbow. He was taken to a hospital where x-rays showed no break and Tulowitzki should be able to make the opening day start against Houston on Friday.
As fans we love to see the underdog rise to the top of sports. Ubaldo Jimenez did that in 2007 as a rising star in the Rockies organization. He became the Rockies ace that year helping lead a charge to the World Series ultimately to fall to the Boston Red Sox. In the state of Colorado Jimenez became a fan favorite with his gentle demeanor off the field and as a fire throwing bulldog on the mound. His fall began last year in the 2011 baseball season.
Unfortunately as fans we also love to see stars fall. Coming into the season last year Ubaldo did not look like the ace from 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009 the Rockies made a charge into the postseason only to fall to the Philadelphia Phillies. 2011 marked a season with high expectations with the contract extensions of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzales. Quietly these extensions fumed Ubaldo Jimenez. Recently word has come out that Jimenez was disappointed he wasn’t offered a contract extension as well and it showed in his performance. Late in the summer Jimenez was traded to the Cleveland Indians for two excellent prospects. He continued to falter in Cleveland but was looking forward to 2012 to prove he once again could become an ace in a different club house.
Spring Training has been a rough outing so far for Jimenez. The intentional plunking of Tulowitzki shows there is still ill will between the two as well as the Rockies and Jimenez. Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracey called the plunking the “most gutless act I have seen in 35 years of professional baseball”. Jimenez should be fined and suspended for his “gutless” act and be made an example of.
Many sports stars rise to the top only to tumble to nothingness. I had hoped the best for Ubaldo Jimenez as I thought he was a great individual with untapped potential in baseball. I along with most Rockies fans have now lost all respect for Jimenez and no longer wish him the best.