Gestures like the Colorado Rockies mowing a huge No. 17 into the Coors Field outfield for Todd Helton frequently remind me of otherwise unrelated, even fictional moments that, yet, somehow are analogous.
Like the time the "Brady Bunch" was about to lose Alice the housekeeper. Realizing that simply telling Alice how much they loved and needed her wouldn't be enough to keep her around, dad Mike Brady had an epiphany: The family had to show her. It was a longhand way of saying that actions speak louder than words.
Well, the mowed No. 17 at Coors is so big — it stretches from just beyond the infield dirt behind second base, to nearly to the warning track in center field — that you might say the action and the word (or number) speak equally loudly. Teams usually do something of this scale only for an All-Star game, or the World Series. To the Rockies, Helton has been an even bigger deal.
Helton's final home game happens Wednesday. He's retiring at age 40, marking the end of a 17-year career that merits Hall of Fame consideration. Like any other player who played a significant number of games at bat-friendly Coors, he'll have points taken off for degree of difficulty. But he's also the first great homegrown player in Rox history, and has been in love with the franchise for a long time.
The grass in center field will grow out, the memories will fade some and another great Rockies player might come along. But Helton and the team always will have that first love.