Yesterday there was news about two of the biggest names in Colorado Rockies franchise history. For Larry Walker it was bad news, as the perfect storm of Coors Field bias and steroids era guilt by association left him on the very fringe of the Hall of Fame vote (21.6%). For Todd Helton it was good news, as he confirmed that he feels healthy enough to play for the Rockies in 2013.
The Toddfather is back.
The benefits are most notable in the field. Helton’s range is a slow step each direction, but he vacuums up everything. Among the dismal reminders in the second half of 2012 was how rough it can be at first base when those scoops are not made. Even if Helton’s innings are limited, this team will play better defense with him on the field. Goodness knows the Rockies need that.
At the plate there are a number of possible benefits. The unfortunate reality is that the Rockies cannot count on Helton to be the fixture in the middle of the lineup that he used to be. If he has one more vintage season in the tank it is certainly a bonus, but the Rockies have to build their offense with the assumption that Helton’s contributions will be less.
Of course the most exciting thing about him coming back is his presence. Todd Helton is always classy and he always plays the game the right way. He may have handed off the “face of the franchise” title to Troy Tulowitzki, but he still means everything to this franchise and its fans. Speaking as one of those fans, I just freakin’ love the guy and I hope we get treated to a few more goosebumps moments before he reaches the end.
Here is what Helton told MLB.com’s Thomas Harding about his return:
“It’s not the actual games that I had to decide I wanted to do — everyone wants to play those. It’s the travel, talking to you guys [in the media], the meetings, the time away from the family, those things. I don’t think as you get older the love for the game dies any.”
Hear hear. The Toddfather is back.