PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 15: Infielder Todd Helton #17 of the Colorado Rockies watches the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks from the dugout at Chase Field on September 15, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Rockies 8-2. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
KUSA - My kids think Todd Helton is the Colorado Rockies. Come to think about it, he is.
Justin and Samantha first met Todd at Spring Training in Tucson when they were very young. Todd posed for a picture with a then-7-year-old Justin on a sun-drenched Hi Corbett Field. It's one of my most cherished photographs from his childhood. Todd is the Rockies.
I got to know Todd when I first started working with the Sports Zoo on 850KOA in 1998. Every afternoon, when the Rockies had a night game, I would head to Coors Field and give sports updates from the dugout while the team took batting practice. I'd fetch guests for the show and get my own interviews. I quickly learned the quirkiness and magnetism of Todd. It's impossible not to be drawn to him and his personality.
Over the years we've developed my most favorite give-give relationships of all the athletes I've known: He gives me a hard time, I give it back.
Our conversations away from a microphone or TV lens have made me giggle for days, months and years. There's no one like Todd Helton.
When our son heard about Todd's retirement, he asked if we could go see him before he was done. That happened Sunday against the Diamonbacks and we watched vintage Todd: 3-for-5, two doubles and four RBI. Oh, and he hit a milestone of 1,400 career RBI.
Everyone wore purple, even Samantha, who usually marches to her own beat (pink). Justin wore a shirt we bought from a random vendor during the 2007 World Series run. It's a tribute to one of the best Rockies commercials of all time: the ToddFather.
After the game, Justin told me: "Mom, I'm so glad I got to wear my 'ToddFather' shirt one last time while Todd was still playing."
Me too buddy... me too.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)