10/25/07 6:42 PM ET
Pregame interview with Todd Helton
First baseman says Game 1 is forgotten, Rockies are resilient
By / MLB.com
TODD HELTON: He's a great pitcher, there's no doubt about that, and he was on his game. I think the score dictated some of that. They jumped on us pretty good. We needed to be a little more patient with him. But some of that, he was throwing first pitch right over, and he was getting ahead of us with strike one, and I think that added to some of our misery of last night's game.
But you've got to tip your cap; they beat us pretty good. But that game is over with and we're looking forward to tonight.
Is there anything that you could point to as to why this team has been so much better defensively this season than in past years?
TODD HELTON: I mean, defense starts up the middle, Tulowitzi, Matsui and Taveras, and our catcher, Torrealba. No, they've been spectacular up the middle. They've made all the plays, made the routine plays, made the great plays, and I think that's the biggest key for us defensively.
Obviously the last couple weeks the team has not hit to its capability and we know what happened last night. Your thoughts on perhaps why the team has not hit to its capability?
TODD HELTON: Well, I think in the playoffs runs are a lot harder to come by. You're seeing a guy's best stuff, his best pitch in every situation. You know, I think that's the biggest thing. It's hard to -- obviously it wasn't for them last night, but it's hard to score runs in the playoffs. I mean, games are -- traditionally they're a lot closer, a lot more low scoring ballgames. But yeah, that didn't happen last night.
When you guys lose the way you did last night, even if it's just for a split second, is it hard to remember, hey, it is only one game, we still have six to play?
TODD HELTON: No, it's not hard. I think once we stepped off the field and got to the locker room, that game was over with. We realize it's a best of seven. It's fastest to four basically. But there's a sense of urgency. We know what it's like to win Game 1 and how important that is. But we've had our backs against the wall all year, and we know how to respond.
Two part question for you. First part, you guys were here in June, but do you sense any kind of a different atmosphere at this ballpark in the playoffs? And the second part is after this game you're going home for three. Talk about the confidence you guys feel at Coors Field.
TODD HELTON: You know, I think every game here is a big game. Their fans are always into it. They've got great fans, very knowledgeable fans. They know the game of baseball. So there's not too much difference there. But getting back to Coors Field is going to be exciting. We're looking forward to getting back there and playing the World Series in front of our home fans.
You blogged, I guess, before the game that you had spoken to Peyton Manning to pick his brain a little bit. Have you heard from him since Game 1 or anybody special who's called with some words of encouragement after that game?
TODD HELTON: No, I haven't talked to -- I'm not a slave to my phone, so I haven't picked it up today. I've been focusing on the game.
A lot of people have seen the Rockies for the first time during this World Series. Does it matter at all that they haven't seen the team that you want them to see? Is that an issue at all to you or people in the clubhouse?
TODD HELTON: You know, I think first and foremost, we play for the guys in the locker room. Second, we play for our fans. Buddy Bell told me the first year he was managing us, he said, "I never want to hear you say you're embarrassed on a baseball field again." I thought about that last night. We're playing in the World Series. We're not going to hang our heads no matter what happens in this thing and never going to be embarrassed on the baseball field.
Do we want to give a better showing for the people that are first time watching us? Of course. We want to play like we're capable of playing.
They're making a big point about professional at-bats, grinding out at-bats --
TODD HELTON: Who is they?
The Red Sox. You're a guy who does that, how much discipline does it take to do it over the course of a Major League season?
TODD HELTON: That's a good question, and they did a great job of that last night. I mean, that's the one thing, they were patient, they didn't panic when they had two strikes. Obviously they had a lot of two strike hits, a lot of two out hits. They had a lot of professional at-bats.
Over a season you can get out of that. You can get out of rhythm. You can start to feel like you're panicking a little bit when you're not seeing the ball as well so you're trying to jump on the first pitch because you don't feel as confident with two strikes. But that's the one thing that I saw last night is they did a great job of that, and they hit they didn't miss any mistakes. If Jeff left it over the plate, or Franklin, they jumped all over it. It's the big leagues. You're only going to get one good pitch to hit, and they didn't miss last night.
Having been through some lean years with the Rockies, obviously as a player of your stature you've had I'm sure opportunities to leave. Why has it been so important for you to stay put?
TODD HELTON: There haven't been that many opportunities to leave. It's not like every other night somebody was calling trying to get me (laughter). You know, I was drafted by the Rockies, they gave me an opportunity to play in the big leagues. I feel like I owe them something for that. I always had just a confident feeling that we were going to make it, even though -- I'm not going to lie and say I didn't have my doubts at some points throughout the last 10 years. But a lot of guys in the front office took a lot of criticism in the past years, and they deserve a lot of credit now.
This relates to the streak and to last night's game. Can you talk about this popular notion of momentum versus the idea of just every game being a thing unto itself?
TODD HELTON: Come again?
Is there a way to keep the bad memories short and the good memories long? You can say last night doesn't mean anything, but when you're on a streak like the streak you were on, you want to keep that going.
TODD HELTON: Yeah. I don't know. Like I said, we've done a great job. We've used the word resilient a lot of times this year, and I think that definitely applies to this ballclub. We have a very short memory. You know, even when we win, we act the same as when we lose. We come in and guys are in there doing the exact same things they were doing yesterday, and we go out and we play a game and we see what happens. That's definitely a positive trait with this team.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.