Sunday, September 29, 2013

Los Angeles Dodgers give Todd Helton a classy send off as Colorado Rockies win finale

Goodbye, Todd Helton. Thank you.
Who better to send a legend into retirement than Vin Scully?

The Dodgers long-time broadcaster started Sunday off with a rousing tribute to Todd Helton, the Colorado Rockies first legend. The broadcaster, who has a voice of silk and a baseball encyclopedia in his mind, filmed a tribute to Helton that was played before the first pitch. It wished him well and told him that Dodgers pitchers certainly won't miss him "mistreating" them.

Dodgers fans stood and gave Helton a long standing ovation. These are the same fans who routinely boo former Dodgers, whether they were traded or signed elsewhere via free agency. Helton tipped his cap to the fans at Dodger Stadium and went about his business.

Unprovoked, those same fans stood to their feet and cheered as Helton walked to the plate in the 9th inning for the final bat in his career. There was no video beforehand, there was no announcement from the loudspeakers, Dodger fans knew the situation and gave the Rockies legend his due.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Offseason should be a time for Colorado Rockies to make bold moves

Is it time for the Colorado Rockies to trade Dexter Fowler?
The Colorado Rockies will watch their season come to an end on Sunday. With the Denver Broncos looking to go 4-0 at the exact same time, and the Rockies nearing the 90-loss mark, not many will be watching.

The Broncos will always be center-stage in Denver. That is simply how it works. However, remember back to the 2007 season and it is hard to forget the excitement around the late-season run for this franchise. On what was supposed to be the final game of the season, the Rockies sold out Coors Field in defeating the Diamondbacks, securing a play-in game the next day.

At that very moment, very few people in Colorado were concerned that Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts were giving the Broncos a shellacking. The eyes of Denver were on the purple and black, not the blue and orange.

The ultimate goal for the Rockies is to keep the town from paying their attention to the Broncos until October is over. In order to do that, this team has to start making bold offseason moves.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Todd Helton just two extra base hits shy of 1,000

Todd Helton's final days in a Rockies uniform is the only reason to watch.
Some people might be tired of hearing about Todd Helton at his point.

However, when the Colorado Rockies lose 15-5 and 11-0 in consecutive baseball games, late in September in a season on the brink of being a 90-loss campaign, there really isn't too much more to talk about.

Helton homered and doubled in his final game at Coors Field on Wednesday, putting his career total at 369 home runs and 592 doubles. Throw in 37 career triples, do the arithmetic and the total comes to 998 career extra base hits in Helton's illustrious career.

With two games to go in the Rockies legend's career, he could conceivably finish with an even 1,000 extra base hits.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Todd Helton rides into the sunset in a tear jerking game long tribute

Todd Helton's  retirement shows how special he really is.
Anyone with young kids at home should be able to understand.

Todd Helton, at 40 years old and more money than he could ever know what to do with, wants to stay home and spend time watching his two girls grow up.

As baseball fans, we think of these guys as multi-millionaires who get to stay in the fanciest hotels in the greatest cities in America. We think that they only have to work seven months of the year and that they are living the dream.

However, any dad who has headed off to work with their kid begging them to stay home should understand. Instead of an eight hour day, Helton has to kiss his daughters goodbye for six to 10 days. People always say that kids grow up so fast, and it isn't reality until you have your own kids. It makes baseball pretty meaningless.

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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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Colorado Rockies holes are apparent, and cost them again on Sunday; Todd Helton adds to career numbers

Todd Helton added to his career numbers on Sunday.
When they hit, they don't pitch, when they pitch, they don't hit. That is the story of the Colorado Rockies in 2013.

On Sunday, the issue of the back end of the rotation rared it's ugly head, as Juan Nicasio couldn't make it out of the 3rd inning, while giving up seven runs on seven hits. It was a day that showed one of the spots that desperately needs attention in the off-season.

Nicasio has had flashes of the talent that got him to the big leagues. When he throws strikes, he gets outs, but more importantly, he must have a secondary pitch or he is toast from the get-go. The Rockies failed to develop Nicasio in the minors, then rushed him from Double-A to the Majors when Jorge De La Rosa when down in 2011.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Colorado Rockies limping to the finish line

Time for changes in Colorado.
Who isn't injured for the Colorado Rockies.

In Todd Helton's final week in the big leagues, the Rockies look like they are trying to give him a reminder of what he dealt with the majority of his career. Saturday night was a flashback to the 2005 team dubbed "Todd and the Toddlers."

Jorge De La Rosa was bumped off of the mound because of his bruised thumb and finger issues, Wilin Rosario has a bad calf, Dexter Fowler's bruised knee continues to be an issue, Carlos Gonzalez has a finger issue that might require surgery.

The list goes on and on for the Rockies. However, the question begs to be asked, if these games meant anything for the Rockies, if they were in contention and needed wins, would these injuries be debilitating, or would they be something that these guys decided to play through?

Colorado Rockies offense stays hot as Jhoulys Chacin homers in own victory

Corey Dickerson has been a surprising addition for the Rockies.
If you can't do it with your arm, may as well do it with the bat, right?

It wasn't a great night for Jhoulys Chacin on the mound for the Colorado Rockies. He simply didn't have his best stuff. He walked five while striking out none in six innings against the Diamondbacks. However, he limited the damage to just two runs, thanks to timely ground balls.

Chacin was able to get out of most of his jams by inducing three double play ground balls from Arizona batters. It erased some of his location mistakes that clogged up the base paths. In the end, the Diamondbacks scored two runs in the first two batters of the game, then didn't cross the plate against Chacin again.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Helton sparks comeback as Colorado Rockies show fight to win in 15 innings

Corey Dickerson was the hero on Thursday.
The results for the Colorado Rockies in 2013 are going to be similar to what they always seem to be. There will be no postseason in Denver. However, there has been something different about the 2013 September for the Rockies.

This year they haven't quit. They certainly have lost their fair share of games where the offense didn't show up, or the pitcher hasn't performed. Most years at this time though, the Rockies are mired in a mode where it almost seems like they aren't even trying to win.

On Thursday at Coors Field, the Rockies could have been thinking about their night away from the ballpark. They could have showed up to the park with the intent of getting the game done as fast as possible, then spending a night free of baseball, able to do whatever they wanted. Instead, they played a tough game. They didn't give in to a good Cardinals team and they were rewarded with a 15-inning walk-off win.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Todd Helton's Hall of Fame chances could hinge on perception of Coors Field

Is Coors Field going to keep Todd Helton out of the hall?
The debate rages on. Is Todd Helton a Hall of Famer?

All of Helton's numbers suggest that he has had an incredible career. No one denies that his career has been worthy of being called great. However, the baseball hall of fame, unlike other professional sports, is reserved for the elite of the elite.

Helton has a ton of hits, but not quite the 3,000 that usually guarantees enshrinement. He has a bunch of home runs, but not quite the 400 homers that would be required with his hit total to make his campaign a sure-thing. He is approaching both 1,400 RBIs and 1,400 runs scored. However, no one is generally concerned with the RBI total when it comes to the hall.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Despite poor baseball and meaningless games, Colorado Rockies fans have grown up

Watching Matt Holliday hit home runs in September brings back memories.
A few years ago, as the nights became more crisp, and the sun went down a little earlier, Colorado Rockies fans were confused.

This was the time of year when Rockies games meant little and the focus turned to the Broncos. Instead, the boys of summer were playing into the fall and it wasn't about getting minor leaguers some big league action. It was in games that mattered.

There had to be a certain sense of nostalgia for Rockies fans as Matt Holliday belted out four hits, drove in three runs and fell just a triple shy of the cycle. His home run was a muscled ball into the Rockies bullpen that was more about his strength than it was about a bad pitch from Rockies reliever Rob Scahill.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Todd Helton passes the torch as new generation of Colorado Rockies starting to emerge

Wilin Rosario has the talent to lead the Rockies at the plate.
It was fitting. The day that Todd Helton told the Colorado media and fans formally that he was retiring, he led the way to victory. However, it wasn't through a walk-off home run, it wasn't the game winning hit.

Helton wasn't the hero on Monday night at Coors Field, he was the guy who got the base hit that ushered a new kid, fresh faced like Helton when he arrived, to deliver the big hit. The grizzly first baseman, a shell of his former self, punched a 98 MPH fastball just past second base to record the 2,506th hit of his career.

The hit moved Troy Tulowitzki to third and brought Wilin Rosario to the plate. Rosario, a Dominican catcher with raw talent, a natural at the plate and the polar opposite behind it, drilled a 1-1 fastball down the left field line, driving Tulo to the plate and sending Helton to third. More importantly for the Rockies, it gave them a 2-1 lead over a Cardinals team in a bitter three-way battle for first place in the National League Central.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Todd Helton's retirement brings out the emotions for fans of the Colorado Rockies

Todd Helton is the first Colorado Rockies legend. 
The announcement was no huge surprise, but it represented everything that is Todd Helton.

The face of the Colorado Rockies franchise let the public know that he would retire at about 11 pm on Saturday night. The announcement came when the state of Colorado was focused on torrential rains that left much of the previously-drought ridden land a flowing river. It also came as those fixed on the floods finally had something else to pay attention to, Helton's friend Peyton Manning had taken his team into New York to take on his brother Eli.

The Broncos postseason odds are significantly higher than the Rockies odds were at any point in the past two seasons. Manning has his eyes set on breaking passing records and leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl. A blue and orange town doesn't need much to get excited about the Broncos, but a team primed for the Super Bowl, contrasting with a Rockies team mired deep in mediocrity make it easy for fans to move towards the boys of fall.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thirteen games to go for the 2013 Colorado Rockies, end can't come soon enough

Roy Oswalt is still a Rockie. 
Just like late on a Friday afternoon after a long week of work, the Colorado Rockies can see the finish line.

Thirteen games remain on the schedule, the results of which are far from consequential. The Rockies have been out of the race since they forgot their bats on a 10-game west coast road trip right before the All-Star Break.

Many would argue that the Rockies cashed it in long before now, but the signs of quit are prevalent in the on-field decisions being made. Relievers like Jeff Manship and Jeff Francis are being put into games that aren't completely decided. Mitchell Boggs is given opportunities to get work in, and for some unknown reason, Roy Oswalt continues to be given innings on the mound as if he is a 22-year-old prospect.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Colorado Rockies young players looking impressive heading into 2014

DJ LeMahieu has been a bright spot in 2013 for the Rockies.
In the midst of the storm, the Colorado Rockies have a few bright spots.

The 2013 season is lost for the Rockies, which shouldn't have been a huge surprise, but still disappointing. However, in the midst of another bad season, a few positives have emerged from the fire.

DJ LeMahieu, not even on the Opening Day roster, and a throw-in from the Cubs in the Ian Stewart trade, has played his way into the no-doubt starting second baseman for the Rockies heading into the 2014 season. His defense has been incredible at second base. He is constantly ranging to his left better than most second baseman. He has made leaping catches and always seems to be in the right spot.

Most importantly for a second baseman, his double play ability has been as quick as anyone can ask for. He transitions the ball well and makes a quick turn. His defense lacks nothing that would be desired of a Major League second baseman.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The end is near for the Colorado Rockies

Matt Belisle has earned the right to struggle for the Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies once again blew a late-inning lead on Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. Matt Belisle, once their most steady reliever, has felt the the overuse of the past three seasons finally catch up to his arm.

This has been no secret. Belisle's velocity has been down, his slider flat, and his ability to keep the ball down in the zone has been a struggle since the beginning of September. In fact, he hasn't had a clean inning in the entire month.

There is one thing that is certain, Belisle has earned his right to struggle. There might not be another reliever in the history of the Rockies who could claim that they were as willing to take the ball the way that Belisle has made himself available. He is a gamer. Look at his quotes from any interview and it is clear, he wants nothing more than to win the World Series. If winning the World Series means that he must start one day, relieve the next and then start on the third day, Belisle would take that odd task on.

Michael Cuddyer doesn't care that Colorado Rockies have waved the white flag, helps team win

Michael Cuddyer plays the game the right way.
A home run to deep left-center field at AT&T Park in San Francisco late at night is a home run in any park in baseball.

Michael Cuddyer's second home run of the night came in the 9th inning off of Giants closer Sergio Romo. The home run ended a see-saw battle between the Colorado Rockies and the Giants after the home team built a 6-0 lead, then saw the Rockies creep back into the game, taking a lead of 8-6.

The Rockies lead looked solid until manager Walt Weiss, and whoever above him who actually makes decisions, called on Wilton Lopez to pitch the 8th inning for the Rockies. At this point in the season, there is no one within the Rockies organization that could say with a straight face that they believed that Lopez would get the job done.

Lopez, the Rockies lone Major League offseason addition, has been brutal for the Rockies. Besides two good stretches, the right-handed sinkerballer has left way too many pitches up. The ball isn't moving where Lopez wants it to go and the opposition can nearly be seen visibly drooling at the chance to swing the bat against him.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Colorado Rockies follow predictable script in San Francisco, fail to get better

Jhoulys Chacin pitched very well again on Monday.
The Colorado Rockies aren't worth watching in San Francisco. A fan can literally pull almost any Rockies vs. Giants game in San Francisco from out of the archives and the story is the same.

The same script was followed on Monday night. The Rockies got a great outing from Jhoulys Chacin and scored a couple of quick runs off of Tim Lincecum. The scoring came to a standstill, then the Rockies went to the bullpen, and the Giants got new life, then scored another run in extra innings to secure the victory.

It doesn't matter in the standings anymore. The Rockies are well out of the race, they have been for quite some time. However, this team has a chance to get better in game situations. They aren't taking advantage of those situations.

With the calendar reading September, the Rockies have the opportunity to expand their roster to 40 instead of 25. Most teams don't bring up their entire roster. However, it is a great chance for teams, especially teams looking to next year, to see some of their young or fringe talent pitch at the big league level and see if they have what it takes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Colorado Rockies continue head-scratching decisions

Chad Bettis only got three innings of work for the Rockies.
The Colorado Rockies make decisions that simply don't make sense.

Wins and losses don't mean much on September 8th, when the playoffs are well out of reach. However, the games and the way the team plays must remain important, especially for a Colorado Rockies team that has talent, but has holes that are gaping that need to be addressed in the offseason.

The holes are so large that it makes sense for the Rockies to do everything that they can do in order to evaluate their talent down the stretch. Getting some of the questionable pieces game-action before the offseason begins is a huge opportunity that cannot be wasted.

With that in mind, the way the Rockies are going about it isn't making this team better for the future.

Tough loss shows areas where the Colorado Rockies need offseason improvement

Matt Belisle
It's easy to blame Matt Belisle. The reliever has been a shell of himself since before the All-Star Break. The Colorado Rockies have asked him to get the job done in several high pressure situations, and frankly, he hasn't gotten it done.

With Belisle more than willing to admit that he didn't get his job done, what Rockies fans are really seeing is that the reliever is actually human. As writer Thomas Harding pointed out, Belisle's 295 appearances over the past three seasons is more than any other pitcher in the big leagues.

The Rockies have called on Belisle to do more than he should be expected to do. He has largely been able to get the job done. It is safe to say that the Rockies are not getting the same Belisle that they were getting two years ago.

At some point, the Rockies cannot continue depending on one pitcher. They must build a bullpen, whether with guys in their farm system or through free agency, that can get the job done late. They have to find a guy who can be dependable when their top guys, like Belisle, need to have a couple of days in a row off.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Todd Helton's heroics blown as Rex Brothers fails in 9th inning for Colorado Rockies

Todd Helton's heroics were wasted again on Friday.
In a way, it seems fitting for Todd Helton's career. His heroics are overshadowed by someone else on the Colorado Rockies failing, and therefore taking the spotlight off of him.

On Friday night in San Diego, Helton made up for an earlier error, which allowed the Padres to score the game-tying run, by drilling a Huston Street fastball deep to center field to give the Rockies a 3-2 lead. It wouldn't be enough as Rockies closer Rex Brothers promptly served up a bomb of his own to Chase Headley, who tied the game. It wasn't Brothers night as the Padres got the next two on, then won in walk-off fashion when Jesus Guzman hit a ball just past the third base bag to score the game-winner.

As the final month of Helton's phenomenal career kicks off, the veteran continues to give signs that he might go out in a blaze of glory rather than simply fading away. A week ago, Helton drilled two home runs against the Reds as he raced towards his monumental 2,500 hit mark. Another home run on Wednesday night against the Dodgers gave the Rockies the lead, then the late home run on Friday night. Looking at his last week in a vacuum, it would be tough to believe that Helton's power numbers have fallen off late in his career.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Jorge De La Rosa continues impressive season as Colorado Rockies show future talent

Jorge De La Rosa has the quietest 16-win season in baseball history.
Move over Aaron Cook, Coors Field has a new leader in wins.

On Wednesday night in Denver, Jorge De La Rosa continued his impressive, but extremely quiet season. The left-hander picked up his league-leading 16th win of the year, carving apart a Dodgers lineup that threatened, but couldn't get De La Rosa to break.

In what has become expected from the Rockies ace, De La Rosa wiggled out of trouble in the 6th inning. With the bases loaded and no one out, the Dodgers threatened to erase the Rockies early lead. Flashback five years ago and this same situation might have done De La Rosa in. Today a situation like De La Rosa faced barely raises the blood pressure of the hardcore Rockies fan. Instead of wondering how many runs the opposition will score, the thought is about which new way the lefty will invent to wiggle off the hook.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Colorado Rockies think little league style baseball will work in the big leagues

The Colorado Rockies need to go back to in the box thinking.
Remember in coach pitch when a guy would play shortstop one inning, catch the next, then go to the outfield? At the high school level, that type of position movement goes away. However, the Colorado Rockies still employ it.

On Tuesday night against the white-hot Los Angeles Dodgers, manager Walt Weiss put Carlos Gonzalez into the game in a double switch. A double switch usually is done to allow a pitcher to throw more than one inning, or get the better bat to the plate sooner. However, with a swollen thumb that flared up again on Monday, Gonzalez couldn't bat.

Weiss moved CarGo to left field for the final two outs of the 8th inning, but put him in the spot in the lineup that was due up first in the bottom of the 8th inning. That means that after two outs in left field, Gonzalez was removed for a pinch hitter.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Colorado Rockies get to Kershaw, but show flaws in rotation

It isn't everyday that any team gets to Kershaw. The Rockies did on Monday.
Colorado Rockies fans would loved to have Monday's loss to the Dodgers be a heart breaker.

Instead, there were positives to be taken away from the game, as well as negatives. However, no one left the park feeling down about the game from Rockies perspective.

September 2nd arrived once again for the Rockies and they are playing baseball that has little impact on the outcome of the season. If a team is bent on winning, third place and fifth place are the same. They both represent a spot on the couch for the postseason.

Unfortunately for Rockies fans, that has become an all too common scenario. When the record suggests that it is time to look to the future, games in September really become very similar to games in March. Instead of focusing on winning, or what the final score of the game was, the focus turns to each individual aspect of the game.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Todd Helton reaches 2,500 hit milestone, as fans cheer appropriately

Todd Helton appropriately hit a double for hit 2,500.
Congratulations Colorado Rockies fans, you did it the right way.

When Todd Helton sliced a ball down the left field line in the 7th inning, then lumbered into second base, sliding in for a double, appropriately logging his 2,500th hit as a double, the crowd let Helton know how much they appreciate his great career in a Rockies uniform.

Perfectly, the double lifted Helton to 17th on the all-time doubles list, one ahead of Robin Yount. With 584 career doubles, many of which came on hits to the opposite field, it was the perfect way for Helton to notch the big hit.

As predictable as possible, Helton tried to end the serenade from the crowd. He doffed his helmet from second base as quickly as the cheering began. Helton doesn't like the limelight, but it's time he gets used to letting the fans show him how much he is appreciated. For 17 years, Helton has quietly led the Rockies. He has gone about his business asking nothing in return. He shows up to the ballpark and for years inserted his name into the starting lineup when his manager had given him a day off. With a hurt back, Helton has had to succumb to limited playing time. While his name wasn't in the lineup, a quote of Helton complaining about how much it hurt to play doesn't exist.