Tag Archives: Todd Helton

Thoughts on Helton’s Last Week; Other Stuff.

A moment none of us will soon forget. (AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Welcome to the 29th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch, where I have to recap the end of Todd Helton’s career. Then I’ll change the subject for a while. Promise. Also, thanks to everybody for reading and sharing last week’s post. It received by far the most views of anything I’ve posted. I also received more positive feedback in various forms than ever before. So thanks y’all. Off we go…

Wednesday night was the most awesome 15-5 loss in the history of 15-5 losses. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it was special nonetheless. I loved the giant 17 mowed into the outfield grass and the two purple 17’s along the baselines. The pregame ceremonies were lengthy, but the pomp was necessary and appropriate.

Todd got a horse. Lots of people found that to be a little weird and awkward. I thought it was fine. Definitely unconventional and unexpected, but it was cool with me.

One of the best moments of the night was when the Rockies took the field in the first inning. After already receiving a few standing ovations in the pregame ceremonies, Todd led the Rox out to the field, only his teammates didn’t follow him. It looked to me like Todd was surprised his teammates stayed along the dugout. Anyway, the result was Todd standing on first base alone on the Coors Field diamond waving to the crowd for a good minute or so before the Rockies took the field alongside him.

Then came Todd’s first at bat. Quite obviously, this was the moment of the night.

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Just goosebumps. I was lucky enough to be there, and you can put that near the very top of all-time Todd Helton moments.

Jake Peavy probably grooved one for him, but that doesn’t make the moment any less cool. Not even a little bit. In fact, it kind of makes it cooler. I love the “baseball code” and the subtle understandings among players.

After a sacrifice fly, Todd almost hit one out to the opposite field. A double is fitting, going the other way is fitting, but this play is all about the balls-to-the-wall head first slide.

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Great stuff right there.

One of the coolest things from Wednesday night was the video tributes between innings. My favorites came from Clint Hurdle and Peyton Manning, two great talkers who know and care about Todd on a personal level. The whole compilation can be found here. It’s worth your time, even if you saw them at the game.

Here’s a great gallery from the Rockies of the special night.

Here’s another one.

Another great, great moment came on Sunday. Before Todd’s 2,247th and final game, Dodgers legendary (LEGENDARY) broadcaster, Vin Scully read a wonderfully written, and perfectly spoken tribute to Todd. I thought it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, but I’m biased because I love both Helton and Scully. Watch it here. It was followed by nice standing ovation from the Los Angeles crowd.

Anyway, as of Sunday evening, Todd Helton’s career is over. I won’t get too sentimental on ya after last week, but that just feels weird.

Here’s to you, 17. Thanks for everything.

Moving, on, here’s a screen shot from my Rockies preview post in April:

rox ping

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They finished 74-88. I’m obviously clueless.

While we’re on the topic of predictions and tooting my own horn, here’s another screenshot. This one from July 30th:

dodgers win prediction

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The Dodgers were leading the division by 3.5 games at the time. They won the division by 11 games. Sometimes I wonder if I actually know what I’m talking about.

Also, The epic game-163 with the famous Matt Holliday slide was six years ago today. Crazy. I half-assed this post on that topic a year ago. Cool fan video here from six freaking years ago today:

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Thooooooooose were the days.

The Broncos are just crazy good. Like silly good. Like watching-their-games-is-actually-kind-of-boring-because-they’re-going-to-win-all-of-them-by-thirty-points good.

Calling my shot: The Broncos will finish the regular season 16-0. What’s remarkable though, is that this would be the least exciting and most unremarkable 16-0 ever. None of these games matter. If they go 16-0, they better go 19-0. Or it’s all a waste of time.

Anyway, I just can’t believe how dominant they have been without their two best defensive players. Peyton Manning is a robot/alien freak with an array of weapons that just does not seem fair.

And if they stay healthy, they’ll only get better. How is that even possible?

Colorado State earned a 59-42 win over UTEP in a bit of a shootout. UTEP sucks, so this wasn’t all that impressive. Rams fans will take it. True freshman Rashard Higgins had 156 yards receiving and two touchdowns. He looks like a stud. The Rams were featured on Deadspin for this sweet fake field goal TD. CSU gets a bye week before hosting San Jose State for homecoming in a game they might actually be favored in. I look at this one as a huge swing game for CSU.

Colorado opened Pac-12 play against a decent Oregon State team and couldn’t compete in a 17-44 drubbing. The Buffs had a three-week layoff and they opened conference play on the road, so this was a tough situation. Still, if things are going to turn around in Boulder, these are the kind of games CU needs to start winning competing in. Four of the next five are against ranked teams. Three are on the road. #2 Oregon comes to town on Saturday. It’s too early for me to find any online gambling spreads, but I’m guessing it’ll be about 50. But Hey! They’re in the Pac-12! Isn’t that prestegious?!

OTHER STUFF

Hey Braxton good game budd– my neck really itches.

via bleacherreport.com

Remember this guy?

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We’ve seen some dramatic Giambi home runs in playoff races around these parts. Interesting note, Ubaldo Jimenez started that game and went 6.2 innings and gave up 1 run. Giambi finished it. (I also found the Rockies managerial job reference pretty interesting in that video.)

Oh and if you’re wondering, Ubaldo Jimenez’s ERA since July 28: 1.72. With 94 strikeouts and 1 HR allowed in 78 1/3 innings, according to @Buster_ESPN. If anybody could give me a quick update on Drew Pomeranz and Walter White I mean Alex White, I’d love to hear it. The Rockies lost the hell out of that trade.

Just sitting in the rain enjoying some popcorn by myself.

via @guysim

via sbnation.com

Drunk? Bored? Hungry? Disappointed in his Cougars? Going through an awful divorce? Definitely all of the above.

Fat guys falling down in the rain is always funny.

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Smooth, Brett.

And finally, Here’s some more quality light night TV social media comedy stuff:

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Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

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Why Todd Helton Will Forever Be My Favorite Athlete

The defining image in the history of the Colorado Rockies. (David Zalubowski /AP Photo)

This isn’t a post to debate Todd Helton’s Hall of Fame credentials. We have five years to discuss his home and road splits and park adjusted OPS and career on base percentage and how he is the only player in the history of the game with this high of something and this many of something else and this many of those other things.

I’m writing this because Todd Helton is my all-time favorite athlete. He always will be. He is one of the few athletes I’m not ashamed to say that I truly admire. Lots of my admiration for Todd comes from personal experiences that probably don’t mean a whole lot to most people. They sure have meant a lot to me though, so I thought I’d share before Todd plays his last game at Coors Field tomorrow night after 17 (seventeen!) seasons.

Then there are three meaningless games in Los Angeles. Then his career is over.

My childhood largely revolved around baseball and the Colorado Rockies. I lived for the summers. And I lived for baseball. I was five when the Rockies played their first game in April of 1993. It was the beginning of beautiful friendship.

I got Todd’s autograph a couple times. The signed items are sitting in a giant box with binders full of old baseball cards and countless marked-up scorecards and posters and sentimental shirts and newspapers. It was pretty easy to get Todd’s autograph because he signed them before most games in those years. Even in his prime. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

My birthday is in June, so it was pretty standard for me to go to the Rockies game to celebrate. On my 11th birthday, June 19 of 1999, Todd Helton hit for the cycle. I actually remember that moment pretty vividly. I was keeping score (always did), so I knew he needed a triple to complete the feat. I didn’t need Twitter to tell me. There was no message on the videoboard. I looked at my scorecard and thought He has a single, a double and a home run. Todd was quite a bit quicker back then but he wasn’t exactly a triples artist, so the cycle still seemed unlikely. My dad was in the beer line or bathroom at the time. (It was the bottom of the 7th– last call– so the beer line is a pretty safe bet.) Anyway it was just me sitting in our old season ticket seats, Section 117, Row 20, Seats 7 and 8. He hit a line drive in the gap and I jumped out of my seat right away and threw three little fingers up. Go three! Go three! Naturally I was applauding the cycle like crazy while most of the stadium had no idea what was going on. You think all that might endear an athlete to a wide-eyed kid scarfing down peanuts and spilling Squishies on his 11th birthday?

via @mlb

As his career blossomed he became the best player in the game for a few years. He hit for power. He hit for average. He hit on the road. He hit at home. He hit righthanders. He hit lefthanders. He hit starters. He hit relievers. He hit to right field. He hit to center field. He hit to left field. He hit in the clutch. He hit when it didn’t matter. He just hit. He hit everybody. He hit all the time. He was the best hitter in the world.

Speaking of hitting, have you ever watched Todd Helton foul off pitches with two strikes? It’s one of the most beautiful arts in the game of baseball. Todd could control his hands and fight off pitches better than any player of his generation. He extended at-bats and flicked balls into the stands like the little pieces of tobacco flying from that manly goatee. I hope over the course of the last 17 years, you were able to take in one of those classic at-bats.

He also played the best first base in the game. This is one trait that would never leave him. Even as his offensive numbers declined, he was always the best defensive first baseman in the game. Scooping a countless– truly countless– number of low throws like a magician. We watched that kind of excellence for 17 freaking years. He also has a plus arm for a first baseman. He can throw home on a contact play or to third after a putout much more effectively than most first basemen I’ve seen.

The other aspect of Todd’s defense that doesn’t get talked about much is the way he defended bunts. I’ll never forget the way he defended bunts. In a clear sacrifice situation he would do everything in his power to prevent that sacrifice from happening. Creeping forward… Creeping forward… All-out dead sprint 25 yards towards home plate… Scoop up the ball… Fire a bullet to second. I’ve never, ever seen a first baseman that aggressive when charging bunts.

My 21st birthday was a pretty huge success, aided by Helton’s three hits. Yes, I’m wearing a “Helton For President” shirt.

One day I went to a game by myself. My friends think this is weird, but to me it’s no big deal, especially if it’s a weekday day game. So I bought a cheap ticket, snuck into a great seat and watched Todd tie Larry Walker for the Rockies’ all-time home run record. A couple innings later, he put one in the third deck to make the record his own. That was 109 homers ago. Can’t say it with absolute certainty, but I’m pretty sure Todd did that because he knew I was sitting there by myself like a loser.

In the summer of ’09 I went to another weekday day game with some friends and saw Todd hit his 500th career double. He added a game-winning 8th-inning homer just for fun. For me, that’s about as good as it gets.

I went to the game with a huge group for my 21st birthday (before hitting the Denver bars of course). Exactly ten years after hitting for the cycle as my 11th birthday present, the Rockies won big and Todd had three hits because it’s not like I’m going to go to a Rockies game on my birthday and watch Todd do anything less. He hit this walk-off the next night which would have been pretty epic had it been one night earlier, but I’m not complaining.

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Of course, I would be remiss to not mention the DUI arrest from February. He made a mistake. A big mistake. A bizarre mistake, really. Driving to the gas station at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday night in February? What? Todd Helton got arrested? For that? It was very odd. The mugshot couldn’t have been much worse.

This was unfortunate, but I’m still a Todd Helton fan.

However, this didn’t really affect my fandom and admiration much. I’m not defending drinking and driving. And I’m old enough now that I don’t see the world with a starry-eyed wonder thinking my favorite athletes can do no wrong. Far from it. I honestly think a whole bunch of my favorite athletes are pretty huge idiots. The Helton DUI (later changed to a DWAI; he blew a .102) was a very unfortunate situation because all DUIs are unfortunate situations. A handful of my friends or coworkers have gotten deweys and gosh darnit if I don’t still talk to them and value my relationship with them. Things happen. It’s a dangerous and reckless mistake. But mistakes happen. Helton’s mistake brought him down to earth and changed the way many, many people think of him. For me, it humanized him. We’re all human. Even the people we grew up admiring.

When I was writing this I texted some of my more hardcore Rockies fan friends and asked about their favorite Helton memories. One girl, who is the only person I know that was more obsessed with Todd Helton than me, texted a very long response. She’s the kind of person who brings signs and customized Helton shirts and things of that nature to games. Here is an unedited excerpt from that message, which was written informally and off the cuff. Anyway, this is the kind of guy Todd Helton is:

“When I was 16, we got to go on the field before the game because my dad is a season ticket holder. We weren’t allowed to initiate conversation with the players but we were only allowed to interact with them if they came over to us. We were standing right behind the plate, watching Todd take BP. After he is done, he glances our way and does a double take in our direction. Years and years of devotion/stalking finally paid off. He started in our direction and I was literally in tears being so overwhelmed with emotion. There are many details about our conversation, but to make it short he gave me his batting gloves and a bat that says, “To Jenna, all my love.” He sent a bunch of other players over to talk to us, like Clint Hurdle and even Jeff Cirillo (they were playing the Brewers.)

Pretty good dude right there. (I also encourage you to watch the “My Wish” segment from 2006 at the bottom of this post).

I always loved the way Todd carried himself. On the field he wants the big at-bat and the walk-off homer. Off the field, he would rather you just interview someone else. He’s the anti-Bonds and the anti-A-roid. Shut up and play. Let his talent do the talking. All those cliches truly apply. Todd Helton was never about Todd Helton, always about the Rockies. In an era of free agency, Todd played his entire career with the Rox. That just doesn’t happen anymore. The way he chose to retire was classic Helton. He intentionally avoided the Mariano Rivera and Chipper Jones-style farewell tours. He just doesn’t need or crave that attention.

It is important not to mistake his team-first outlook and humble demeanor as a lack of competitive fire. One recent moment helps illustrate this. Wednesday night, Todd came up to bat with the Rockies down one in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. Cardinals closer Edward Mujica struck him out. It was deflating and a pretty huge bummer. The next day, Todd came up to bat with the Rockies down one in the bottom of the ninth to face Mujica again:

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I put that video in there because I want you to look at his face after he crosses the plate. He is pissed. He just hit a game-tying homer, and he is pissed. And you know all he’s thinking about is the strikeout from last night. Todd hates losing and hates personal failure. The great ones are all wired a little differently.

Earlier I mentioned Todd’s declining offensive numbers. It’s no secret that the past eight or so years, Todd hasn’t been the same player he was during the first half of his career. I heard somebody say, “That’s not what they’ll remember about Todd Helton,” referring to his down years. I respect the sentiment, but I disagree. I will absolutely remember the drop off in power and the lower batting averages. I will remember the whole career because I think there’s a lesson in watching someone so great go through personal struggles. Greatness is fleeting. We all get old. Father Time is undefeated.

But we’ll always have the moments. There are two obvious ones that stand out as everybody’s favorites.

(David Zalubowski/AP)

The first came just over six years ago (hard to believe) on September 18, 2007. A bottom of the ninth walk-off home run off of Dodgers closer Takashi Saito. If you don’t know that trivia answer, you ain’t much of a fan. Anyway, the Rockies were on the brink of irrelevance and needed to win pretty much every game left on the schedule to even have a chance of making the playoffs. They were down a run with two outs and two strikes. Helton pulled a no-doubter with that picture-perfect left-handed swing. He raised his finger as he rounded first base and let out a serious fist pump and a yell. The team went nuts. The stadium went nuts.

Then it was Helton’s turn.

As he approached home plate he flung his helmet high in the air behind him and dove into a mosh pit of teammates with a primal roar, his long hair flinging behind his head. Nobody, nobody had seen that kind of reaction from the usually reserved Helton. I distinctly remember where I was when that all took place. I remember just having this feeling that we just witnessed something very, very special. It turned out to be just that, of course. The Rox won their next 97 games in a row and swept their way to the World Series. Helton hit .377 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in the last 15 regular season games. But none of that happens without that swing.

That swing, that reaction, that scene is the single coolest moment of Todd’s career, without a doubt. Watch the video here and try not to get goosebumps. One of my favorite moments in the video is watching the reaction of Matt Holliday as he rounds second base. You can truly tell that Todd’s teammates are thrilled that they won the game and remained in the playoff race. But they’re even more thrilled that Todd Helton was the reason for that.

The other greatest moment of Todd’s career is another obvious one, even if it isn’t really a “Todd Helton” moment. All he did was catch a ball just like he had done thousands of times in his career. Any first baseman ever could have made the play. But it’s still Todd Helton’s greatest moment. Grounder to Tulo. Tough play. The Rockies are going to the World Series. Quite fittingly, it was Todd Helton who made the final putout.

Then came Todd’s picturesque reaction. It’s all about the reaction. With Eric Byrnes laying on his face behind him, Todd raised both fists to the sky and let out a loud scream along with the frustration from an entire career of losing. It’s the single greatest image in the history of the Colroado Rockies and one of a handful of the best in the storied history of Colorado sports.

This where I was (left) shortly after the happiest moment of Helton’s career. I was pretty happy too.

I feel obliged to include this quote from Troy Renck’s article in the Denver Post: “Going to the World Series with the Rockies was better than winning it with the Red Sox,” Helton said. “I just feel like I have so much invested here in this franchise. Sure, I would have liked to have won a ring. But I am not going to lose sleep over it. My favorite moment is still that last out of the National League championship, knowing we were going to the World Series.”

Next year, he’ll be gone. It will be strange, won’t it?  Not having that familiar number 17 with a wooden cross around his neck jogging towards the dugout, flipping the ball into the crowd and catching another one to keep in his glove while the Rockies hit. There won’t be the prolonged at-bats. There won’t be the run-saving scoops. There won’t be the ladies on the centerfield concourse. The face of the Colorado Rockies will be elsewhere for the first time since August 2nd, 1997.

But damn, it was sure a pleasure to watch Todd Helton for the last 17 years.

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Here’s the video of his heartfelt retirement press conference.

via @Rockies

via @Rockies

Your Weekly Roundup From the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the 27th Tuesdays With Mitch, where I hope my Colorado readers are not dealing with biblical rains and flooding. Thoughts and prayers to those who are.

Did you guys know the two quarterbacks from Sunday’s Broncos-Giants game are brothers? They are! I’m dead serious. Look it up if you don’t believe me. (Brad Penner / USA Today sports)

So I’m not really sure how to handle the football season on my blog. Every NFL game and all the big college ones are examined ad nauseam on every platform imaginable. I guess I’ll just briefly throw my two cents on top of the mountain of analysis, make a joke or two and look at some of the goofy stuff.

The Broncos are really, really good. This team looks like it should win anywhere between 14 and 16 games in the regular season. They will probably be favored in just about every remaining game on the schedule. The only games the Broncos could potentially be underdogs are at Indianapolis (probably favored), at New England (they’ve been unimpressive so who knows) and at Houston (they’ve been unimpressive so who knows).

They’ve destroyed teams that are probably pretty darn good in each of the first two weeks and they’ve done so without their two best defensive players. The defense has been surprisingly good and should get much, much better when Champ Bailey comes back next and and Von Miller comes back in week 7.

While that’s all well and good the regular season just doesn’t matter much for the Broncos. They’re in a weak division. They are undoubtedly one of the top two or three teams in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE (announcer/analyst voice). For the Broncos, the real games start in the playoffs.

The regular season sure looks like it will be fun though.

Colorado State beat an FCS team and looked pretty good doing it, which they should. It’s easy to forget that this team could really easily be 3-0, but that’s really just something that fans of teams without good records say, so who cares.

Garrett Grayson was on the verge of being benched at quarterback, but played really well against Cal Poly. He earned at least another couple weeks.

The Rams have a great opportunity to really build off their momentum when they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on #1 Alabama in the Tide’s home opener. Seriously though, I’m not sure what to expect in conference play. They should beat UTEP after Bama, then the MWC opener at home against San Jose State will be interesting. Could go a long way in determining the Rams’ mindset for the rest of the year.

Remember this moment from Sunday’s broadcast? I found this weird and creepy and really hilarious.

via @cjzero

Aaaaaaand pose! …1 blink. 2 blinks. 3 blinks. 4 blinks.

This chick is wasted and struggling and has no interest in kissing a blue-haired Giants fan.

GiantsFanShotDownBroncosGF

via @cjzero

One more gif, just because it’s cool.

via @corkgaines

That’s one way to do it.

Todd Helton announced his retirement. I’ll have a (nother) lengthy piece on my all-time favorite athlete next week. In the meantime here are some links:

The video of Helton’s retirement press conference. Kind of odd to see him tear-up and show so much emotion. Really good stuff here. Really sad.

Grantland’s Jonah Keri on Helton’s Hall Of Fame case.

CBS’s Scott Miller had a blurb in his weekend column on the same topic.

Initally, I’m surprised how much support Todd is getting from the national writers. On Buster Olney’s ESPN podcast, he had fellow-ESPNer Jerry Cransack as a guest. They are both more skeptical of Helton’s chances which is more along the lines of what I had expected to hear. Although I obviously adamantly disagree.

The Rockies made this they’re profile picture/avatar thing on all social media platforms, which is pretty damn cool.

via @Rockies

The official account of MLB tweeted a couple cool images as well.

via @mlb

via @mlb

Quite the GIF from the incredible Alabama – Texas A&M game from Johnny Manziel:

via @corkgaines / businessinsider.com

You probably don’t like the guy and his team lost, but #JFF accounted for 562 yards of offense against a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team. He’s incredible and a joy to watch.

Wright Thompson is just about the best. Worthwhile and moving read for you here from ESPN The Magazine.

Key and Peele are back with their awesome football-names sketch. This one’s not quite as good as the original, but it’s still pretty damn good.

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For some reason that reminded me of this classic from last year. Why not?

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This one’s for the ladies. Kliff Kingsbury of Texas Tech is now widely considered the “hottest coach in college football”, which is obviously a very important category.

via @corkgaines

Wes Welker is in some pretty damn funny Old Spice commercials. The whole series is funny, but this non-Welker commercial is my favorite.

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Your viral video of the week: 32 million views in one week for this bizarre production.

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It’s definitely long enough. It’s definitely not too short.

And finally, I’d like to pay tribute to the pair of black slacks I bought 5 years ago. I threw them away last night and it got to me thinking… I remember buying them in what I have determined to be the summer (or possibly winter) of 2008. I wore them at nine different jobs, several funerals, several job interviews, five or so Vegas trips (I slept in those amazing trousers in Vegas) and a couple weddings. They were the first slacks I ever owned that had a flexy-stretchy-style waistband and loose fitting legs. They were more comfortable than any slacks I’ve ever known. They might as well have been sweatpants. Fancy, dress-up, sweatpants. I wore them for a few months after the freaking button broke off of the front. There was also a large hole in the crotch (but let’s be honest you couldn’t notice unless you were really looking at my crotch, which I am only now realizing probably happened all the time).

They were just standard, Haggard brand slacks. Cost me like 35 bucks. But I am now unofficially ranking my all-time great purchases. Those pants are currently clocking in at Number One.

RIP, black slacks. RIP.

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Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

The Best of Tuesdays With Mitch

Welcome to the 26th edition of Tuesdays With Mitch. Somebody told me there are 52 weeks in a year, so that must mean it’s been half of a year since I burst onto the scene and took the entire internet by storm in jaw-dropping fashion on March 19th. In honor of that milestone I wanted to walk down memory lane and rank my favorite videos, gifs and links from the past six months. (When I had this idea, I thought it would make an easy, quick post. Turned out to be quite the opposite. From a content standpoint, there’s more in this blog than any I’ve ever done.) Enjoy The Best of Tuesdays With Mitch.

Before we jump in, there’s two very important videos from last week, which I’m presenting without comment. Also, the Broncos are good and so is Peyton Manning.

Important video Number One:

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Important video Number Two:

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Now, let’s get back to that walk down memory lane. Our first category is videos, which I’ve broken down into three sub-categories.

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Sports Videos: The best from the action between the lines. Now, this isn’t the best videos from the sports world the past three months, just my favorites that I’ve featured on here. A handful of these were removed due to copyright reasons, but these are your winners.

5. Todd Helton, ladies and gentlemen.  From June 6th:

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This would be higher but it gets some more recognition later in this post.

4. Dunk Freaking City with the coolest moment of the NCAA tourney. From March 26th:

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Remember those kids? Damn that was something.

3. Old-Man Andre takes over Game 1, finishes with the game-winner that seemed cool at the time. From April 16th:

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Yeah. Seemed cool at the time.

2. Excited bat-boy reminds us all why we love sports. From April 23rd:

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(The full story of that one can be found here.) You’d have to be quite the cynic to not smile at that stuff.

1. Hit #2500. For the record I was counting down to this for the past couple seasons.

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HALL. OF. FAME.

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Kind of Sports Videos: This is probably the heaviest-hitting category of all. Tough to narrow it down to these eight.

8. The most baller way to catch a foul ball.

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I’ve often debated weather it would have been more baller to quickly remove the ball then chug without spilling. I’ve determined both strategies produce equal ballerness.

7. Cincinnati does not care about your stupid interview.

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There’s really something to be said about their creativity.

6. NBA people read mean tweets.

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Freaking Twitter.

5. British Baseball Announcer. No idea who made this or where it came from, but damn it made me laugh.

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It’s funny because he talks weird and doesn’t understand what’s happening.

4. Matt Harvey interviews New Yorkers.

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That last dorky kid just kills me.

3. My Wish: Arizona Diamondbacks. Changing gears a bit here from funny to tear-jerker.

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I just love this little guy and everything that goes right for him on this day.

2. CSU Student clutches up.

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I mean, everything about this is just awesome.

1. “Tim Duncan Realizing He Has Arms”

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This could be the funniest video I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it dozens of times and I think I’ve cried with each viewing. I’ll never know exactly what that nerdy-robot-basketball-legend was doing, but that title is just perfect.

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Not Sports Videos: These are the best eight random videos from around the internet that made me laugh enough to share them with you over the past 6 months.

8. Double stiff-arm without breaking stride:

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One of a couple moments of levity from the terror of the Boston bombings. Dude’s pretty badass.

7. Large blue bird messes with people:

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No idea where this came from either. Really, I don’t know what the hell is happening at all. But I can not. Stop. Laughing.

6. Charles Ramsey:  Hero:

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Incredible story. Incredible interview.

5. Speaking of…

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Freaking Internet.

4. Patriotic and badass band kid:

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Tough situation. Handled like a damn champ.

3. Very necessary and easy fence jump:

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You can’t make things up that are more funny than that. That gate is just mocking that poor dude.

2. How to piss in public: (Borderline NSFW)

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Really, this has been one of my favorite YouTube videos for a long time. I just needed an excuse to post it on my blog. I’m doing so again. What can I say, it speaks to me.

1. How to defend your dog Toaster:

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That video inspired a little write-up from me in late July:

“That has 5.4 million views in three days and I understand why. I think about 100 of them are from me. No hesitation, shirtless, two hands, over the head, sending that maniacal rodent with ill intentions head over heels about ten yards and down a stairwell with his evil glowing eyes looking back at you with each rotation. Maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

Now all I can think about is it what it would be like to throw a live raccoon as far as I can. Would I take a running start? Would I shuffle step and go across my body like I’m dumping a heavy bucket of water on an unsuspecting friend? Perhaps I would try a one-armed fling to the side or back. Maybe I could perfect one of those soccer inbounds plays when they do a little flip. Should I spin around like an Olympian in the shot put? I bet I could throw an adult male raccoon over them mountains if I really wanted to.”

***

GIFs: GIFs (pronounced gif or jif or gif or jif) are my favorite. They’re like pictures, but the pictures move. Isn’t that crazy? Here are the top 10 GIFs from Tuesdays With Mitch.

10.  Phil Mickleson struts over a yellow rope with cheerleader-quality leg kicks. From August 13th:

via @sbnationgif

Not sure why I find that so funny. But I really, really do.

9.  Rick Pitino avoids gun fire or fireworks or something after winning the national championship. From April 9th:

via @worldofisaac

Get down Rick!

8.  Florida Gulf Coast equipment manager is thug as hell and goes HAM. From March 26th:

via gifsection.com

GetItGetItGetItGetItYeeeahYeeeahYeeeahYeeeah.

7. Non-sports one here. From May 21st:

via @bubbaprog

“I’m told that is someone named Miguel performing at something called the American Music Awards or something. Don’t know about any of that, but I’ve always said it’s never a good idea to try and jump across a large group of people if you’re a no-name musician lip syncing on a no-name awards show in a tight white suit unless you get a solid running start. I’ve always said that!”

6. David Ortiz would rather just text the bullpen. From July 3oth:

via @thescore

Aaaarrrghhh!  His teammates are like… Yikes broken phone pieces and a very large angry man with a bat! Is it over? Is it over yet?!?

5. Ummm… This guy.

via deadspin.com / @bubbaprog

Moving on…

4. Pam Oliver is just trying to do her job. From August 30th:

via businessinsider.com / @corkgaines

The funniest part was when the football hit that lady in the face.

3. We have a tie. These two guys just really like baseballs and would like to take them home with them. Also, they are not the least bit afraid of bushes or hedges. From June 18th:

via guyism.com

And from August 27th:

via guysim.com

2. Louie Anderson is a great diver.

via @guysim

Weeeeeeeee!!!!!  I love America.

1. Todd Helton has more swag than anyone.

GIF courtesy of @andy_mcdonnell. Lots of good stuff on his blog at andymcd.com. Check it out.

So our winner isn’t a funny GIF, it’s just the most badass bat flip/crowd reaction/dramatic homer ever. It also involves Todd Helton. (This was a game-tying homer in an 11-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning).

Links: Not sure how many of you actually take the time to click on the media that I suggest, but here are five pieces that are worth reading or viewing if you skipped them. If you did read them, they’re worth your time once more:

5.  “Carry On” from ESPN’s Outside The Lines. This one is a long video accompanied by an article, but it’s moving and inspiring. Considered by many to be the best piece ESPN has ever done. Take the time to watch it. You’ll be glad you did.

4. From MLB.com: An interview between the great Harry Caray and the great Bill Murray. Pretty cool few minutes from 25 years ago.

3. The Insane Sorority Letter, as read by Michael Shannon (NSFW. Very NSFW). I would have just embedded the video, but this is the most vulgar, inappropriate thing I’ve ever referenced here. Still, I watched it again today and truly appreciated this rendition of the hilarious letter that went viral, in which some crazy sorority girl was upset with her “sisters.” If you don’t like foul language, skip it. But this sure makes me laugh.

2. Memphis quarterback Jacob Karam is a pretty good dude. Please take a couple minutes to watch this guy play piano (by ear) with a young cancer patient in a hospital and read his story. He does these things voluntarily. This might make you feel like a loser, but it will make you feel really good about the world. This is great. Highest recommendation.

1. The remarkable obituary of Frosty WesteringThis is hands-down, my favorite piece I’ve read over the past six months. I’ve never heard of this man until I stumbled across the link on Twitter.

“Did you know one of the most remarkable American coaches died on Friday? Did you know that Frosty Westering, who had 32 seasons at Pacific Lutheran without a losing record in any, who never mentioned playoffs or titles to his players but won four national championships and four runner-up finishes on two levels, died at 85 surrounded by his considerable family? Please know. Please, please know.”

You’ll enjoy this piece. Read it. Or reread it like I just did.

***

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading over the last half-year. Looking forward to trying to entertain over the next half-year. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Todd Helton and the 2500 Hit Club; Von Miller is Confusing; Fox Sports 1 Launches

Welcome to the 23rd Tuesdays With Mitch. Big post this week. Get to readin…

Todd Helton is about to reach the 2500 hit mark for his career. (Photo: Getty Images)

Todd Helton turns 40 today, so he just reached a huge milestone. He’s about to reach another. Helton is 7 hits shy of 2500 in his career. I’m a huge baseball nerd and a Helton devotee, so I did quite a bit of research on this. Much is made of the 3000 hit club and rightfully so, but the 2500 hit club is one pretty good indicator of Hall Of Fame worthiness.

Todd is going to be the 96th person in the history of baseball to join the club. Of the 95 players to do it, 62 are in the HOF. Only 33 are not. That number 33; however, is misleading.

Three players would certainly be Hall of Famers if they were not in hot water. Pete Rose is banned by baseball. Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds are eligible for the HOF, but are PED users, so they haven’t been voted in.

Thirteen of the 33 players in this group are either active (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Ichiro Suziki and Manny Ramirez) or have retired too recently to become eligible for the Hall.

That leaves 17 eligible, non-cheaters who have 2500 hits and are not in the Hall Of Fame. Of these 17, 3 players (Lave Cross, George Van Haltren and Jimmy Ryan) had careers that began in the 1880s, so it’s really impossible to include them in this discussion. Another, Doc Cramer, joined the MLB in 1929 and has 37 career homers.

So now we’re down to 13 modern-day MLB players with 2500 hits who are eligible for the HOF and are not cheaters or banned gamblers and still not in. Here’s that list, and remember this is only the players that meet the aforementioned criteria.

2500 hits list

We can cross Biggio off this list. He’ll be in; probably next year. He didn’t make it this year because baseball writers are peculiar about “first ballot” entrants. They try to save that for the super elite of the elite.

Of the other 12, only Harold Baines has more homers (384) than Helton’s current number of 362. Most of the dudes on this list are nice players that played for about 22 years, hit .270 and about 23o homers.

Two players on this list have a career OPS above .800. Baines’s is .820; Parker’s is .810. The rest are somewhere in the .700s. Helton’s current career OPS is .955. Many baseball people consider this stat (which is calculated as OBP + SLG) to be the most important stat in baseball.

Baseball writers will hold against him the era in which he played and the park in which he played, but if Todd Helton doesn’t make the Hall of Fame, it would be a huge snub and a disservice to the game. (Really, he should get in on the swag of this bat flip alone).

I bring this up now because there’s a little more than a month left in what is likely Helton’s final season. His last home game is Wednesday, Sept 25 against the Red Sox (unfortunately because of their obnoxious douche bag fans that will take over Coors Field and potentially ruin what should be a very special game/moment in the Colorado sports pantheon).

The Rockies are done and most of us have tuned out. Helton isn’t the player he once was (although he’s actually been hitting pretty well since July). All that said, Rockies fans and Colorado sports fans don’t have much time left to watch a true Hall of Famer and one of baseball’s all-time great hitters as he plays out the last of what has been an incredible career.

I don’t have any idea what is going on with the Von Miller story either. He was going to be suspended for four games. Then there were pretty good chances that his appeal would be at least a little successful and his suspension would be reduced to less than four games. Then we were supposed to find out what the deal was on Thursday. Instead he met with the union and there was no other news. Then yesterday we learned that he’s likely going to be suspended for six games instead of four for some reason that nobody really understands.

Von Miller doesn’t appear to be making smart decisions. (AP Photo)

We know (maybe) that he failed a drug test in 2011. Then he missed a drug test? Or failed another one? Or missed multiple drug tests? Or botched a drug test by spilling his pee, maybe intentionally, maybe unintentionally? Then drinking so much water his next test was unusable?

And now he may have been a witness to a murder? And he may have been trying to buy guns? I have no idea what’s going on. At this point, just tell me how many games he’s going to miss and I’ll go from there. His “I know I have done nothing wrong” statement sure doesn’t look real good right now.

If Von is gone for six games, the Broncos defense looks very shaky all of the sudden. What made the Broncos so good last year was balance. They were they only team in the NFL with a top 5 offense and a top 5 defense. Right now it looks like they will need to lean much more heavily on their offense.

Miller is going to miss 6 games. Elvis Dumervil is gone. Champ Bailey was excellent last year (save the Baltimore game) but he is aging it’s not unrealistic to imagine some regression there. He’s also banged up now. Those three alone are some really, really badass dudes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chris Harris (who I’m a big fan of) doesn’t play quite as well as last year. Rahim Moore might not ever figure it out. Derek Wolfe was taken off the field in an ambulance. It sounds like he’ll be okay, but that’s never a good thing.

Anyway, at the moment it seems like the addition of Wes Welker (also banged up) will need to lead to a whole lot more points on offense, because it’s hard to imagine this defense playing at a top-5 level in 2013. And missing Von Miller for six games is a big part of that.

Fox Sports One launched on Saturday. Here’s the open to the first Fox Sports Live, which is their version of SportsCenter. Charissa Thompson, who used to be a Rockies reporter lady, has a prominent role.

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My initial impression on  Fox Sports Live has been positive. Hosts Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait are funny, laid back and hip. In a fascinating tactic, Fox Sports Live actually shows highlights from games, something that SportsCenter gave up long ago. No joke, about 20 minutes into Fox Sports Live on Sunday, they showed highlights from the Rockies – Orioles game. I can’t remember the last time anyone on SportsCenter has even mentioned the Rockies.

Lots happening on the Fox Sports Live screen. via @mocksession

Some people have complained that there’s too much crap happening on the screen (a ticker at the bottom, a headline above the ticker, a large sidebar with even more information and graphics on the side) but I actually don’t mind that. FSL is clearly aimed at a fairly young demographic– they’re not afraid to “bro it up”. One intersting note, SportsCenter is great at reporting somber stories or bad news and it will be interesting to see how Fox Sports Live is able to handle news that isn’t all lighthearted and fun.

Doing stuff like this is always a good move. This segment killed me. Hope it’s recurring:

`

At the very least, there’s another option for a nightly sports show, which I’m happy about because I just can’t do SportsCenter anymore.

Speaking of ESPN being horrible, this man is paid 7 figures a year by that network:

skip

The most important thing to happen in Sunday’s Red Sox – Yankees game that produced all kinds of drama was the sign from this genius .

via @cjzero

In a stunning surprise, not a single Colorado team received a single vote in the AP Top 25.

Ty Lawson is also in trouble.

I laughed pretty hard when I saw this.

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I can do that.

via @thebiglead.com

That’s just some high school kid in Oregon and I’m pretty sure it’s real.

Unsespecting people getting hit the face by things is always funny.

(via businessinsider.com / @corkgaines)

When a rookie hits a homer… sometimes this happens.

I love it.

Funny side story: My buddy (and a loyal reader… I think) recently completed a 100-mile ultra-marathon for elite runners in  (or across? or starting in?) Leadville, Colorado. It all takes place above 10,000 feet and takes about 24 hours to complete. He does these things without any publicity, so I only knew about this after the fact. I asked him, “Dude did you finish some kind of 100 mile race?” His response:

“Yes. It was hard.”

That made me laugh. (And congrats, Carson.)

This kid’s One Shining Moment:

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Remember Planking?

And yes, I stole that planking line from the dudes on Fox Sports Live. (via @sbnationgif)

Pretty sad story here. Danny Spond, who starred at Columbine and went on to be a starting linebacker at Notre Dame, ended his career due to medical issues. He had issues with “mysterious migraines” in the past. Football is bad for your brain.

And finally, Last week I showed you a touching video of a “My Wish” segment with the Carolina Panthers. ESPN published one Sunday and it’s even more of a tear-jerker. The look in this kid’s eyes when he rolls out on the field is just awesome.

I kept thinking that if I were six and got to do that at Coors Field, I would have literally been the happiest boy in the world. It looked like Kyle felt the same way. Great stuff.

Happy Tuesday everybody. Thanks for reading. See ya next week.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

Helton’s At-Bat and Other Stuff from the Sports World and Internet

Welcome to the first ever Wednesday edition of Tuesdays With Mitch. Sorry for the day long delay; I’ve been doing a lot of working and drinking and sleeping. Anyway, this GIF has pretty much been on a loop in my head since Friday.

Helton Swag

GIF courtesy of the former Dr. Pure, @andy_mcdonnell. Lots of good stuff on his blog at andymcd.com. Check it out.

Too. Much. Swag.

That is just too much swag for one computer screen to handle.

The term “swag” is probably not tossed around in regards to Todd Helton a whole lot, but that sequence is freaking swagtastic. Also, I promise to never use the word swagtastic again.

Here’s the full video with Drew Goodman’s solid call.

`

(That goober behind the dugout pointing to the stands sat throughout that entire at-bat just pointing like that. Then he just kind of chilled for a while when Todd actually hit it there. Seriously hilarious. Also a good job by Root to keep a live camera on him, just in case.)

Early in his career, you wouldn’t see even the most modest of bat flips out of the respectful and generally mild mannered Helton. That’s changed the past few years, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen him Pimp a homer quite that much. He’s earned it and it’s a welcome sight.

The situation there: Rockies down by 2. Runner on first. Bottom of the 9th. Helton pinch hits. Look at this at-bat.

Helton's AB

Screenshot courtesy of MLB.com

The count quickly goes to 1-2. Todd fouls off five pitches and takes two balls before launching a no-doubter into the second deck. Helton is the best I’ve (anyone’s?) ever seen at wasting pitches with two strikes and extending at-bats. Some solid representation of that came on Friday night. Pretty epic stuff. (The fact that Rafael Betancourt promptly gave up two runs in the 10th and the Rockies lost is a minor detail).

Todd’s the topic of plenty of debate these days with reasonable and intelligent baseball people like me quick to argue with over-reactors or very casual Rockies fans. Todd is the one athlete that I will probably never say a bad thing about, so I’m biased. I’m not diving into the whole argument here this week, but keep an eye out.

Right now I’m just trying to recover from an overdose of 39-year-old white man swag.

Last week I said that “baseball players are a quirky bunch” after showing Troy Tulowitzki reject Rafael Betancourt’s high five.

I was right about that.

That’s my favorite YouTube video in a long, long time, even though I seem to say that every week. The rakes. The fanning with the rakes. Genius.

Minnesota did not want to be out done.

`

All shenanigans aside, that is the least interesting interview I’ve ever seen.

This video is just heartbreaking. 40-year-old and 12-year veteran Ramon Ortiz throws what is likely his last pitch in the MLB. And he knew it.

`

That’s tough to watch and this piece by Will Leitch is an excellent and deep article on the difficulty of letting go.

Justin Bieber didn’t have the best week. He pissed off his famous neighbors by driving his Ferrari like a maniac. (Thank you TMZ! Without you no would have known that Keyshawn freaking Johnson was upset with the world’s most famous 19-year-old-pop-lip-syncing-robot-record-label-creation-dancer-guy-thing.) Then the world’s most famous 19-year-old-pop-lip-syncing-robot-record-label-creation-dancer-guy-thing looked like this at Game 7 on Monday.

Biebs

Biebs just taking in Game 7 like the common man.

You absolutely can not make any sort of reasonable argument that that person is not a complete douche bag.

This dude’s blog on a ridiculous, gum-throwing umpire is hilarious, but it’s also relevant whistle-blower journalism. I hope MLB suspends this joker. (Follow-up blogs here and here).

I really, really do not get the whole DU Pioneer mascot “controversy.” They don’t want a mascot that resembles a pioneer, even though they are the FREAKING DENVER UNIVERSITY PIONEERS. Just absurd.

And finally, since this is a special edition:

MikeMikeMikeMikeMike!

Happy Wednesday everybody. See ya in six days.

Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at mdhahn1@yahoo.com with post ideas, videos or other media I should know about. Subscribe at the top right of this page. Follow me on Twitter @MitchDHahn.

The Greatest Game Ever Played

October 1st, 2007

Remember this? I do.

Five years ago tonight Scott Hairston hit a 13th-inning, two-run homer to lift the San Diego Padres to an 8-6 lead over the Rockies at Coors Field. I don’t think I can remember a more devastating moment in my career as a sports fan. I was crushed. The Rockies were riding this unbelievable miracle of a winning and streak and were going to come up just short of the playoffs.

That devastation didn’t last long.

In comes Trevor Hoffman, only the greatest closer of all-time. Kaz Matsui doubles. Troy Tulowitzki doubles. Matt Holliday steps up to the plate.

Five years ago tonight. It’s pretty wild to think about the different directions our lives take since that moment. Anyway, that is, without a doubt, the greatest baseball game ever played, so I felt it appropriate to take a look back.

Coming into tonight the Rox had unspeakably won 13 of their past 14 games to somehow force a tiebreaker play-in game against the Padres. Josh Fogg (the Dragonslayer) vs Cy Young-winner Jake Peavy.

It’s easy to forget the deflating grand slam by Adrian Gonzalez in the 3rd inning. Or Todd Helton’s solo homer in the 3rd. Or how dominant Matt Herges and a young Heath Bell were for three innings. Or the Garrett Atkins home run that just sneaked over the fence but was incorrectly ruled a ground rule double. (Note: He would not score in that inning, so if anybody gives you any crap about Holliday not touching home plate, they can just shut it, because we had already been screwed by the umps and that game shouldn’t even have gone into extra innings, even though we’re all glad that it did). It’s easy to forget Holliday badly misplaying a game-tying double in the eighth.

That 13th-inning though, that one is easy to remember.

Up comes Holliday, a homegrown fan-favorite and a lock for the MVP (in my mind at least). Deep fly ball to right. Replays show that Matt thought he hit it out. Not quite. Giles goes back… jumps. This exact moment is one of the most vivid memories for me. From my seat down the third baseline I saw Giles jump and there was this split second of not knowing. Homer? Catch? Off the wall?

Then the ball bounces back toward the infield and Coors Field goes absolutely wild. I’ve never seen a venue like The Keg at that moment. Until Jamey Carroll’s at-bat after Helton was walked.

You know the rest.

Line drive to right. Holiday tags. Dives. Faceplants. Michael Barrett drops the ball. Tim McClelland stands there like an idiot for a few seconds and finally gives a half ass “safe” sign. Rox win. Playoffs. Rocktober. Miracle completed. Bedlam. Did that just happen? That just happened. How did that just happen?

Just look at that freaking crowd. Look at Helton’s reaction to the safe call off first base. And look at that freaking crowd.

And this is a great clip of Todd (and the ESPN crew) trying to make sense of what just happened (they can’t):

The Rockies are trying to avoid losing 100 losses this week with not much relief in sight. The franchise is essentially a laughing stock. But we should probably all brush that aside tonight and remember, try to relive, the greatest baseball game ever played.

Because October 1st, 2007 was awesome.