Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Charlie Blackmon makes his presence known with Todd Helton's retirement the main focus at Coors Field

Todd Helton is the only "first legend" the Rockies will ever have.
It's been the story for a week and a half. Todd Helton will play his final game at Coors Field on Wednesday night.

Fans have been serenading the best player in team history in every at-bat, bringing signs to the park, and letting Helton know how much they appreciate him throughout the course of the current nine-game homestand.

With Helton the prime focus, Charlie Blackmon is doing his best to make sure that no one forgets about him. Newly named the National League Player of the Week, Blackmon continued his tear on Tuesday. He got the scoring started right away, with a lead off bullet just inside the right field foul pole in the 1st inning.

Blackmon went 2-for-4 on Tuesday night, raising his batting average to .314 in a fairly small sample size. His September play in particular has left many fans wondering if Wednesday night is not only Helton's final game in a Rockies uniform at Coors Field, but potentially Dexter Fowler's as well.

The play of Blackmon has earned him a mention, but the reality is that this homestand is all about Helton. The veteran logged two more hits on Tuesday night. The two hits were number 1,391 and 1,392 that the Coors Field faithful have been lucky enough to witness at Coors Field over the course of No. 17's illustrious career. On Wednesday, those fans who have been a part of a magical career have a chance to say goodbye.

For fans of Helton, if there is any possibility to get to Coors Field on Wednesday night, this is one of those times that it is important to do whatever it takes to make it to the game. The Rockies will only have one first legend, that guy will be wearing his purple pinstripes for the final time on Wednesday, and if the Rockies do one thing right, it is celebrating.

For fans with tickets already, do yourself a favor. Get off of work early, head into the stadium well before 6:40 first pitch. Be there. Get settled into your seats, enjoy the ceremony, and make it more than a golf clap cheer when Helton's tribute video is shown before the game.

Stay late after the game, as the Rockies have announced that they are going to be continuing the celebration into the postgame. Thursday morning won't be fun, but drink an extra cup of coffee and it will all be worth it. From the sounds of it, this is something that anyone who has appreciated the career that Helton has had shouldn't miss.

With the Red Sox in town, as always, Coors Field will be half-full of faux Boston fans, pretending that they can name all nine starters on the field, even though they are actually wondering why Manny Ramirez isn't in the lineup that night. The last thing that would be fitting for Helton's final game is for fans like that to be cheering for the Red Sox louder than the Rockies cheer for their first legend.

Fans have done a phenomenal job of standing and cheering for Helton throughout this final homestand. Wednesday night, however, needs to be taken to a new level. When the cheering starts to dissipate, fans need to become even louder. There should be no reason that Todd Helton should step into the batter's box without giving two tips of his cap to the crowd.

 There really are no words to describe the wave of emotions that Helton fans will be dealing with on Wednesday night. The reality is, Rockies fans have never dealt with this before. With all due respect to Larry Walker, Dante Bichette and Vinny Castilla, this franchise has never had a legend retire in front of their eyes.

Much like when John Elway or Joe Sakic announced their retirements, fans will be flooded with great memories of a great player who impacted them as fans, who brought good times to their lives, and who they felt like they were a small part of their lives.

The Rockies will never have a player like Helton again. They will have great players again, but Helton is the first one. There is only one first.

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