Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate DNVR Sports Community!

Spring Training Notebook: Helton discusses his return and favorite Rockies' moments

Patrick Lyons Avatar
March 13, 2022

For fans coming down to Scottsdale to watch the Colorado Rockies prepare for the 2022 season, the best player you might see all Spring Training will be on the back fields of the complex at Salt River Fields.

Mr. Rockie himself, Todd Helton, is working with minor league players as a guest instructor this March. 

“It’s good to be back, first all,” Helton said following a six-inning exhibition pitting players from Double-A against those in Triple-A. “Bill Schmidt opened the door for me and I said I’d love to come out.”

The man with more games played for Colorado than any other thinks a few of his teammates from the 2007 World Series team would also make for great coaches in the organization.

“Brad Hawpe would be one,” he shared before pausing to think. “And Brian Fuentes, the other.”

Same is true of guest instructor Carlos González, who wore the purple pinstripes for the first time since 2018. Vinny Castilla, Special Assistant to the General Manager, is always a fixture in camp working with players of all levels.

The return of several beloved Rockies has been an ongoing trend, especially after the most winningest manager in club history Clint Hurdle returned during the offseason as Special Assistant to the GM. 

“I’ll see Clint a lot. So it’s good to see him,” Helton said of his skipper from 2002-09 and the man often sitting by his side on the back fields.

While it’s unclear when Rockies fans will get their next opportunity to see no. 17 at Coors Field, the greeting he received beside Tennessee Volunteer teammate Peyton Manning at the All-Star Game last summer was heartwarming.

“It was great. I enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the game,” Helton said of the standing ovation from 49,184. “It was a good game.”

Remembered as much for his career .314 batting average over 17 seasons, not to mention 369 home runs and 1,406 RBI, it was his role as the veteran leader of the ‘07 Rockies for which folks outside of Denver remember him.

“Just celebrating after we knew we were going to the World Series,” the Colorado hit leader said of his favorite memory that encapsulates everything he, his teammates and organization accomplished that season.

Diamond Gems

  • Batting practice on Saturday was markedly different than Sunday. Besides arrivals from Connor Joe, Colton Welker and Ezequiel Tovar, as well as minor league invite Scott Schebler, the weather conditions were much more conducive for a proper hitting display on the latter day.
  • On Saturday, the wind was blowing in heavily from center field keeping every mashed baseball from staying in the ballpark. One shot from Ryan Vilade appeared a no-doubter and received several compliments immediately off the bat before falling well short of the warning track. C.J. Cron nearly wrapped one around the left field foul pole before it hooked foul. Only Brendan Rodgers was able to muscle one out on the day.
  • Sunday’s round of BP allowed for more normal displays of power. Everyone was able to go yard including Sam Hilliard who hit a towering shot over the batter’s eye in center field in his last swing of the day.

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?