FEB. 17TH BLOG
Today was the day that Todd Helton faced the music, at least in terms of the media, in regards to his recent DUI arrest. As we have come to expect from him, he handled the pressure professionally. When there was a query that was too personal, or one from which the ongoing legal side of the incident prohibited, Todd fouled it away, just as he would at home plate when a particular pitch isn’t quite right. He hit the tough questions squarely and fairly, and in the process, demonstrated his consistent approach for all of us there.
Driving under the influence is a grave matter, and one that Todd readily acknowledges. It was a mistake in judgment on his part; a mistake that fortunately did not result in serious consequences. The Rockies slugger said his mistake was one that he never thought he would make. He accepts the responsibility for his careless action that night, and more importantly, he added that the lesson would be something he will continue to learn from for the rest of his life. It was an embarrassing moment in an otherwise sterling career in Colorado purple, especially, Todd said, because of how it hurt himself, his family, and the Rockies organization. Helton promises to be proactive about the perils of driving drunk, not just with his two daughters, but also in the Denver community at large. Knowing Todd, he will deliver on that promise.
Rockies fans will have every right to express their opinion regarding Todd, when they come down here to spring training or at the games at Coors Field this season. I am not suggesting that he simply be given a free pass, but I hope he is accepted as a person that made a bad mistake, and as someone that will try to use it as a positive lesson for many.
ON THE FIELD: Today was the first day of full squad activity, and it was wonderful to feel the buzz all around Talking Stick. One always has to take a large dose of caution from batting practice, particularly during spring training, but it sure seems like the injury that eventually wiped out Tulo’s season was a problem from the start. He was launching rocket after rocket today in BP, and that was something not seen too frequently last February and March. Let’s hope that’s a positive sign for a big bounce-back year from the team’s most important player.
The other player that stood out today was Chris Nelson. We hear the talk about Nolan Arenado’s ascendancy to the starting third base position in the near future. That youngster still has a world of potential, but “Nelly” seems determined to keep his claim to the job. Chris looks a little bigger and stronger this year, but without compromising his defense. If he builds on his finish to 2012, Colorado may have another slugger in the lineup of mashers Hitting Coach Dante Bichette wants to create for Manager Walt Weiss. That will be something to watch this spring.
An “oldie, but goodie” for today’s CHECK IT OUT: I’m Tore Down, by Eric Clapton from his From the Cradle disc. It’s one of my favorites.