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Appreciating Those Who Appreciate Todd Helton

Todd Helton reluctantly accepts praise. I was fortunate enough to be in the park for his 500th career double; I stood up and cheered with everybody else. The game stopped so that Helton could tip his helmet to the crowd. He did so, but then you could almost see him muttering for us to sit down. I think Helton appreciates fans and I bet he would have nothing but nice things to say about Colorado fans, but it just is not in the guy’s nature to be the center of the show like that.

Todd Helton does not want a farewell tour. If given the chance, perhaps opposing franchises would prepare gifts for him as he made his final appearance in their respective parks, ala Mariano Rivera or Chipper Jones. But he wants nothing to do with that. And that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the guys who do partake in said farewell tours; it’s just not Helton’s style.

And so it is that the appreciation of Helton in his final season is subtle, a passing moment here or a standing ovation there. It’s Padres fans in an otherwise empty stadium giving him an ovation. It’s Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, all of 20 years old, tipping his cap to Helton after he singled off him. And it is this anecdote, courtesy of a friend of mine and a die-hard Rockies fan himself, from when Helton played in Cincinnati earlier this season.

Hey Hayden, I hope the Rox Pile wrap-up on this one spends a little time on Todd’s bomb in the 7th. Quite a few Reds fans, many near me behind the Rox dugout, stood up and applauded as he crossed home plate, knowing it’s likely his last game here. Really a highlight in the long baseball-watching career of someone who has followed Todd since he was wearing the green and white.

Maybe it’s fitting that Helton might get his 2,500th hit against the Reds this weekend. Maybe the Reds players, like their hometown fans before them, will take a moment away from their playoff race to join the Coors faithful and Helton’s teammates in applauding the veteran for another accomplishment in his final season.

Whether he wants them to or not.

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