Colorado Rockies: The evolution of Charlie Blackmon in the clubhouse
With the departure of Nolan Arenado this offseason, the Colorado Rockies obviously lost one of, if not, their best players. It also happened with DJ LeMahieu in the 2018-2019 offseason, when he left via free agency to the New York Yankees.
However, with those two leaving, the Rockies also lost someone that was a key figure in two of the strongest relationships in the clubhouse and that was with each of their relationships with Charlie Blackmon.
Blackmon, who has spent at least part of the last 11 seasons in the major leagues with the Rockies, has stepped up to be one of, if not, the biggest clubhouse presences, and seemingly, one of the more vocal clubhouse guys for the Rockies.
But it didn’t start out that way.
Blackmon has always been known as a guy that is very dedicated to his job and wasn’t necessarily in the clubhouse for social interaction. After all, he is known to love fishing with his dog and fishing is known to be a sport for people who want some peace and quiet to enjoy.
That doesn’t mean that he didn’t mix business and personal, though. The social interactions just usually hadn’t occurred while at his place of business (the ballpark).
Blackmon was known for his great relationship with DJ LeMahieu and part of it is because they are very similar. Both of them were generally quiet guys (at least outside of the clubhouse) who showed up to the ballpark to win and get their hit or two a day.
In the offseason, the two lived in Atlanta and they trained together as well.
But they enjoyed each other’s company outside of the ballpark as well, as LeMahieu showed on his now-dormant Twitter account.
Blackmon also had a good relationship with third baseman Nolan Arenado as well.
Quite frankly, not much more needs to be said that the two tweets below.
However, as the Colorado Rockies have moved on from DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon’s clubhouse presence has evolved.
Recently, he seems to be developing a relationship with the guy who, coincidentally, replaced both LeMahieu at second base in 2019 and Arenado at third base in 2021: Ryan McMahon.
With LeMahieu and Arenado, though, Blackmon’s relationship seemed to be more of a friendship/roughly equivalent MLB debut relationship (while Blackmon is two years older than LeMahieu and nearly five years older than Arenado, Blackmon made his MLB debut one week after LeMahieu and less than two years before Arenado).
With McMahon, Blackmon seems to have had more of a friendship/older brother relationship with McMahon, who is 8 1/2 years younger than Blackmon and made his MLB debut more than six years after Blackmon, along with some of the younger players.
McMahon spoke about his relationship with Blackmon almost like he was a younger brother to Blackmon when he spoke to the media a few weeks ago.
"“I think Chuck likes us (younger players),” said McMahon. “I, at least, act towards him like he likes me but, anyway, he’s just a great guy. “He’s talking a lot more (in the clubhouse). He’s kind of the guy, at the end of the day, breaking down the game and everything like that in front of the team, like when we do the Player of the Game and stuff. He’s just a great guy and I really have enjoyed my time with him and I really think that he has helped shape who I am as a baseball player.”"
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As McMahon indicated above and in this article from a few weeks ago, Blackmon has been the emcee of the Rockies “Player of the Game” ceremonies after each win, which is a big clubhouse moment of togetherness and brotherhood with the team.
Blackmon also spoke with us recently on his relationship with McMahon and he seems to indicate that they have a two-pronged relationship: a friendship relationship and an older brother relationship.
"“Ryan seems to–I don’t want to say (become) more mature because he’s a mature person–but he seems a little more confident and seems like he has got himself more under control a little better than in the past,” said Blackmon. “He knows what he needs to do, he has got a good feel for his swing–and not that he was out of control in the past–but I feel that he has a good sense of what’s working for him and how to repeat that and it’s producing results and you can see his confidence grow because of it.“He’s one of my favorites. We’re, like, locker buddies. We’re right next to each other in Denver and I really enjoy being around him and talking baseball (with him). (But) every now and then, I have to straighten him out a little bit,” said Blackmon, laughingly, “but he’s a pleasure to be around and I’m glad that he’s in the middle of our lineup.”"
It can be difficult to evolve and since Blackmon first made his debut in the major leagues 10 years ago, a lot has evolved in baseball: some good and some bad.
But the evolution of Charlie Blackmon in the Rockies clubhouse has been a big factor in the Rockies both on and off the field for multiple generations of the team. And despite the team not seeing the results that they would like on the field to start the season, it’s the relationships that are built that will last the players a long time, no matter how long they are teammates.