BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
This has been a year to forget for Todd Helton.
He will be the first to tell anyone that.
In what is likely his final year in Major League Baseball, this is not what he had in mind. He is hitting .255 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs. Truth be told, he has been on a decline for several years now.
This shows Father Time does not stop for anyone. This should be expected for a hitter that has played in his late 30s.
Last night had to feel so good for Helton after he hit two home runs and drove in six runs in the Rockies’ 9-6 victory over the Reds at Coors Field. It was a blast from the past of what he used to do in his prime on an everyday basis.
It’s something he wants to keep doing in the final month of the season. It would be a great way to finish his career on a good note after a rough season.
Give Helton credit for not letting his woes get to him. It can’t be easy for a proud individual who accomplished so much in Major League Baseball.
The 40-year-old first baseman continues to be a paragon of professionalism by working on his hitting at batting practice with the idea everything will work out for him.
That’s why last night was rewarding for Helton. After watching him go down meekly at the plate for most of the season, he should savor this performance.
Helton is fortunate the Rockies are patient enough to deal with his struggles. Any other team would probably cut his playing time. It helps he has been the franchise’s best player ever, so he gets leeway from the franchise.
Helton is trying all he can to justify the Rockies’ decision to play him every game. He gets hits occasionally, and he has played well defensively at first all season.
Still, no one wants to hear it. It’s about what you have done for me lately. That comes with the territory of playing in professional sports. Helton has been around the game forever to know this.
Helton knows what’s going on. He knows people have been calling for him to be benched. There’s no question he read Denver Post’s sports columnist Mark Kiszla’s column about how he should be a platoon player.
He knows fans are not wrong, but he is a proud individual that don’t like to hear negativity about him in his final stage of his career. That goes with other great athletes in baseball.
All Helton can do is continue to keep working on his hitting.
Maybe last night is a start of a great finish for Helton. It’s what he is seeking at this point. That’s the only consolation he could have in a tough season.
The Rockies would love to see it, too. They like to cap off the season with Helton finishing on a good note. They want to see his work pay off.
The fans want something to remember from the longtime Rockie.
Helton can only hope last night is not a fluke thing.
The end is near for Helton with a month to go. He knows it. He is going to savor his at-bats and plate appearances in September.
There will be many testimonials of what a great player Helton is. There will be many platitudes of what a great teammate he is. There will be a campaign of him being in the Hall Of Fame. There is going to be so much to talk about with the longtime Rockie.
It will be an emotional time. It always is when the player is about to finish his career.
Helton will soak all of this in. But what he really wants is a great finish to cap off a great run. He wants to show he still has it even though his stats speak otherwise.
What Helton wants to show is he can work out his struggles through perseverance. It’s a lesson he wants to show to his young teammates.
That’s why Helton is still playing.
Baseball is something he takes seriously, and he wants to show that he is not in this for the money. He takes pride of being a baseball player.
If life is fair, Helton will have more nights like last night to finish the season.
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