I’m not in the business of trying to speak for all Colorado Rockies fans, so I will just speak for myself here and hope that I am able to echo how some fans feel entering Todd Helton‘s final game at Coors Field tonight.
When it comes to the Rockies, I’m sensitive. I’m a biased fan. I get sad. I get mad. I think that the team often gets overlooked and then I get defensive. I would like to think I only get that way when the Rockies have earned some love and aren’t getting their due. I understand that sometimes they deserve to be irrelevant and to be treated as such. But when they matter, or when their individual players matter, it bugs me to no end that they get overlooked or that their accomplishments are discounted simply because people cannot take the concept of baseball at altitude seriously, still, after all these years.
This is not only on the national level or simply another complaint about the “east coast bias.” It happens in Colorado too, where the Broncos rule and where the Rockies are second or third on the queue, depending on the day. Don’t get me wrong, because the Rockies have great and loyal fans who I know cheer their tails off through thick and thin. It’s just that the Rockies don’t have the staying power of a team like the Broncos, and so sometimes they are overlooked.
If one guys deserves to be honored, applauded, and to not be overlooked, in Colorado and beyond, it is Todd Helton.
And that’s where something cool is happening. I am writing this from Minnesota, but the impression I get is that the state of Colorado has truly stopped and made today about Helton. It is about saying thanks to him for his loyalty, all of his years of hard work, and all of the memories that he has provided. A number of former players will be in attendance tonight. Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle took a moment to talk about Helton. Peyton Manning will be in attendance. Shoot, even John Elway took a minute to talk about Helton and what he has meant to Colorado.
Here’s my point: Helton has been great for so long, but he was often an overlooked star on an overlooked team. His retirement will be quieter than other players’, and he will likely be overlooked again when his Hall of Fame clock starts in five years. Knowing all of that, I am damn happy to see that, at least for this day, we are all taking the time to celebrate his awesome career.