9/14/2013 2:46 P.M. ET
When time comes, Helton will walk away quietly
By Tracy Ringolsby / MLB.com
Earlier this season Todd Helton was asked if he could see himself following in the footsteps of former teammate Jason Giambi, who last Sunday, at the age of 42 years, eight months, became the oldest player to record his 2,000th hit.
A five-time All-Star and the 2000 AL MVP, Giambi has, in the last four years, been more a camp counselor in youthful clubhouses than a force in the lineup, but has relished his chance to stay in uniform, and get an occasional at-bat.
``I have all the respect for G,'' Helton said of Giambi, ``but no.''
The last four seasons, Giambi has had a total of 568 at-bats. In his prime, Giambi was a lock for 500-plus at-bats a season.
Helton is an everyday guy. That is one of the primary reasons he liked baseball more than football.
``Too much practice and too few games,'' Helton said of the gridiron.
That's why at the age of 40, Helton is in his final days as an active player.
There have been questions if Helton might might have second thoughts and might come back for another year. That's not Helton's way. Nothing about Helton is impulsive. He thinks through situations, reached a decision and is strong enough in his conviction to not waiver in whatever he decides to do in life.
He made the decision to retire at season's end long before he even showed up in Spring Training, but has never made it official, because he wanted to avoid the hype as long as possible. If he had his druthers he would just slip away without anything being said.
Baseball, however, doesn't like it's stars to just fade into oblivion.
And someday soon, Helton, the Rockies career leader in every cumulative offensive stat excepts triples and stolen bases, will fess up, and admit he's ready to move on with his life.
The Rockies do open their final home stand of the season on Monday.
For a player who has been the face of the franchise for more than 16 years in its 21-season existence, the team undoubtedly wants to create some type of a sendoff before Helton walks off, even if he has worked hard to avoid a Chipper Jones-type tour of America.
The Rockies, after all, did last winter schedule Todd Helton Bobblehead Day for the Sept. 25 game against the Boston Red Sox, their final home game of the season.
That's a Wednesday. That's the only Bobblehead that isn't part of a Sunday promotion this season.
That, in itself, says a lot.
It's not simply a matter that the Dodgers have played well since June 22 that has allowed them to rally from last place in the NL West, 9 1/2 games out of first, to the top of the division with a 12 1/2-game lead on Saturday morning.
Yes, the Dodgers have been hot. They went into Saturday having won 56 of their last 75 games, the most wins in a stretch of 75 decisions since 2001 Oakland A's ran off 58 wins in a 75-game stretch. The 1944 S. Louis Cardinals had the best 75-game stretch at 61-74.
But the Dodgers haven't had much competition from within during their nearly-three month hot streak.
No other team in the NL West is even .500 since June 22. Arizona is 33-40, Colorado 21-42, San Diego 28-42 and San Francisco 30-45.
The Dodgers are 22-7 against the NL West during that stretch -- 6-4 against the Rockies, 6-2 against San Francisco, 5-1 against Arizona and 5-0 against San Diego. They are 34-12 against the rest of baseball. The only teams with winning records against them during the 75 games were Boston, which won two of three, and Cincinnati, which won four of seven.
• Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum will be an interesting free-agent this off-season. A two-time Cy Young Award winner, he was 69-41 from 2007-2011, the most wins in the NL and and the third-best winning percentage (.627). His 2.98 ERA was the fourth best. In the last two years, however, he is 19-28 with a 4.80 ERA, the fifth highest ERA and most losses of any pitcher in the NL. Do teams gamble on a return to earlier form?
• Boston has been successful on 29 consecutive stolen base attempts dating back to Aug. 9. For the season the Red Sox have succeeded on 113 of 132 attempts, an 85.6 percent success rate that is the best in franchise history. The Red Sox were successful on 80 percent of their attempts in 2007 and 2010. The 113 stolen bases with 13 games to play is the fifth highest total for a Red Sox team since 1916. The Sox stole 126 bases in 2009, 120 in 2008, 116 in 1934, and 114 in 1973.
• CC Sabathia of the Yankees, on Monday lost his 12th game of the season for the first time in 12 big-league seasons. Pedro Martinez never had a 12-loss season in his 18-year career, the longest streak of any 200-game winner, according to Bill Arnold.
OUT OF LEFT FIELD
According to hitting streak expert Trent McCotter of SABR, no American League player had posted a hitting streak of 20 games or more this season through Wednesday; the last year in which there were no 20-game hit streaks in the American League was 1977. Longest so far this year was 19 games by Jacoby Ellsbury of Boston June 19-July 11.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.