Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The second home run felt like the good old days. A peppy fastball up and in. Todd Helton got to the pitch, got on top of it, turned on it, and sent a rocket into the front row of the right field bleachers. Helton pumped his fist as he rounded first base, something that amounts to a huge celebration for him. That put him one hit away from 2,500 for his career, and combined with his earlier home run on a hanging curveball, it jolted some serious life into Coors Field on this Friday night.
The Rockies kept piling on the Cincinnati Reds en route to a 9-6 victory. That was important because it locked up Jorge De La Rosa‘s 15th win of the season, but it was more important because it flipped the lineup so that Helton got to bat one more time. With runners on second and third and Zach Duke on the mound for the Reds, Helton walked up to bat to a goose-bump-inducing standing ovation from the Coors Field faithful. We were all thinking the same thing:
What if he hit his third home run of the game for his 2,500th career hit?
Even Helton was thinking as much, something he was candid about after the game (quotes courtesy of the Denver Post):
"It was special, the fans’ reaction (in the last at-bat). I got goose bumps…I was going for another three-run homer.”"
Helton’s willingness to admit that (after a strikeout at the hands of Duke), along with the fact that he retrieved both home run balls (“You never know which one will be my last”) present further evidence that this will be the Toddfather’s final season. The more he talks about it like this, the more I am going to believe that this is truly his last hurrah.
If that’s the case, all we could ever ask for is a moment like last night. A chance to stand and cheer for Todd Helton and to hope for one more huge hit from #17.
"All signs point toward Helton retiring, which means Friday could go down as his last breathtaking performance.”"
I sure hope he’s wrong, because last night reminded me that I’m not ready for that to be Helton’s last special moment. Not at all. And I’ll cheer like hell for a couple more in September.