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Monday Rockpile: On being a Rockies' Fan from Afar and the Hall of Fame

Doug Pensinger

"Editor's Note: The following post was written by Adam Dietz and is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row"

Quick shout-out to Charlie77 for taking time to honor Dr. King! I want to echo that too. I'd like to see a continued commitment to non-violence as a society and as individuals. But for a baseball team?! Well, the Rockies could stand to be a trifle more lethal.

Though I live in a city (New Orleans) that (unfortunately) knows a thing or two about violence, watching the Rockies in 2012 could be described in many ways. Violent or lethal wasn't one of them. Nor was it really heart-wrenching as most games were never really that close. No, sitting through those affairs, watching on MLB.TV, through the stifling heat and humidity here was more like getting bludgeoned in the knees over and over again. Not lethal, but certainly torturous. Giants' fans like to say that they've sat through torture twice on their way to two titles in the past three years. Only in the Bay Area bubble can one equate torture with success. Those pompous jerks! (Quick note, I lived in the Bay Area for ten years, so that gives me carte blanche on making fun).

So then, what is it like to be a Rockies' fan in a place without anything close to resembling a mountain nearby, let alone a hill? Well, for one thing, the CR hats I do see around town with intent to be stylish, which is truly saying something. If you can make purple and black look cool, then by all means, Rox that sh*t. Otherwise, my experience consists of reading a lot of Purplerow posts while the Purple Pinstripers get little pub from the national media. And when they do, it's usually about the Grand Canyon size production differential between Coors Field and The Road.

This is nothing new of course. There was Dante Bichette's 1995 season and Larry Walker's annual successes having snow dumped and dumped upon them time and again. And now, as Larry Walker is Hall of Fame eligible, we see his career receive excessive scrutiny for the years he patrolled RF and gunned down any brave soul willing to test his Guerrero-esque right-arm.

After this year's voting debacle in which NOBODY got elected (yeeeeesh, I'm still upset about this), I have even less respect for the writers who hold this distinguished honor and responsibility. Which seems a bit ironic, if not inherently timely to be writing on a Fanpost. The entire "who is a hall-of-famer" debate is only getting more and more complicated, if it's not suspicion of using PEDs, then it's getting knocked for playing half of your games in a the perpetual PED stadium that is Coors Field.

Look, there's no denying that Coors Field lends itself to increased offensive production. But there's been a no-hitter thrown there as well as several Tommy Glavine 2-hour long shut-outs. You can pitch there. And you can hit there.
Which is a long way of getting to my actual point/question. #17. The Todd-Father. Todd Helton. His career is winding down, and though I think he can still do some damage out of the 6 or 7 hole (I hope) how ever often he ends up playing this year; his best days are behind him. In my mind, his closest contemporary is Larry "Rockies Killer" Jones Jr. And ultimately, that might hurt #17's hall of fame chances as much as his having played in Coors for his whole career. In my mind (and I imagine most writers, but who the hell knows), Chipper is a 1st ballot HOFer. He's got the stats and passes the "eye-test". And granted, he is just better than #17. Yet, it's safe to say that Chipper had better talent surrounding him over the years. Ok, he had a lot more talent. Case in point: Gary Sheffield vs. Preston Wilson. That's got to count for something too, right?

In the end, I don't know how this whole Hall of Fame and Steroids Era thing is going to shake out. The No-Vote of 2013 speaks to something certainly, and as a fan, I hope that never happens again. There have been suggestions to pass the voting responsibility to the fans. Which I like, in theory. And if I had a vote, I'd cast one of them for #17 when he becomes hall-eligible. Yes, I'm biased, but in my mind, what separates Todd from the field is that he went up to the plate with an intention. Every time. Sure, Manny-being-Manny "hit ball, see ball" reminds us that baseball is a game, one that can be played in the sandlot. But Todd's approach serves as a reminder that baseball is a cerebral sport too, and I just love knowing that when Todd swung at a first pitch offering that he's did so because he got a pitch in the location he wanted, following through on his approach. I couldn't have been more elated for him when Rocktober made it to the World Series in 2007. I still believe that had we not so rapidly reached the World Series and had to wait in snowy Denver for the Red Sox, we wouldn't have gotten swept.

What then will #17's legacy be? ESPN has a series looking at each team's window. And suffice it to say, with the Dodgers loading up (and cracking the ledger of fiscal responsibility) in addition to the Giants bringing back many of the same (old) crew, it sure doesn't look like 2013 is going to be a slam-dunk opportunity for the Todd-Father to return to baseball's ultimate stage. What a shame. But does that mean that Todd Helton isn't a winner? I dare say no. Ultimately, his loyalty to the organization, and his organization's investment in him as well as spending outlandishly for Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle proved to be all too costly.

As Charlie77 notes, the Rockies sure haven't made any big waves or avalanches in any offseason spending. And I think that makes sense. I'd hate to see us deal Dex. I think he's a great player with a ton of potential. And it sure seems that the we've got a lot of young talent to match with the prime and after years of the Tulo and CarGo deals. So, the window of contention is open, and only getting wider. It's a good place to be for Rockies' fans. Just don't jump out.