When a team is having the kind of season the Rockies are, you’re forced to try and find the bright spots. As a fan, you watch the games and look for players who maybe give a reason to feel good about the future. You look forward to your favorite player coming through with an amazing performance even if the team losses. Basically, anything that keeps you interested in the game even if the team is losing.
Todd Helton is a player that has always been fascinating to watch. He has been the face of the franchise for many years and always seems to go about his day to day business in a quiet, relaxed manner. At the beginning of last season, when the Rockies were being picked by many experts to not only win the NL West, but also be serious contenders for the World Series, all the focus was on the “Big 3″, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez, as we all know, was traded last July after he couldn’t consistently get his control under……well, control. Both Gonzalez and Tulowitzki struggled to come through in clutch situations and also struggled with consistency. Todd Helton quietly hit over .300 all season, like he has done most of his career.
Why is this important? It seems like every time the Rockies struggles pick up during a season, many Helton critics jump out of the woodwork and find any reason they can to blame him. Many critics like to put blame on Helton as the reason the organization didn’t resign Matt Holliday. Sure, Helton’s contract probably prevented the organization from keeping Holliday around, but let me ask you this; would you rather have Gonzalez or Holliday? They also say the amount of money the Rockies have invested in Helton prevents the team from spending on big name talent. These same people will then criticize the front office for not spending money to win. That’s a different argument for another day.
Helton critics point to his laid back presence and criticize him for not being an outspoken leader. Helton has never been that player and never will. He leads by his play on the field. He leads by being the best two strike hitter in baseball, by knowing how to work a count and take quality at-bats.
Twitter was full of criticism against Helton after yesterday’s loss to the Angels. No one expected the Rockies to get swept at home, especially with the way they had been playing at home lately. Understandably, fans are upset and right back to wanting answers. Once again the Helton Critics came out of hiding and began a rapid fire blame game against Helton. He went 0-5 yesterday, but is fresh off a 10 game hitting streak.
Yes, I know what Helton’s numbers look like this season. The .240 batting average is not pretty. He hasn’t been the Helton Rockies fans have grown accustomed to, but Helton has been the most consistent player this franchise has had. He remains a career .321 hitter and defensively, he still is one of the best at first base.
Todd Helton deserves to be in Cooperstown someday. If his struggles continue this season, then maybe it’s time for him to consider retiring. If that happens, his career should be celebrated by fans.