KUSA - Every emotion on Todd Helton's face perfectly summed up Rocktober.
As he celebrated the final out at first base to clinch the team's first pennant in franchise history, the typically calm 34-year-old veteran showed unimaginable joy, relief and disbelief at what had transpired over the past month.
When Rocktober started on Sept. 16, the Rockies were 4.5 games out of a playoff spot.
On Oct. 15, 2007, Colorado would bust out the champagne in the Coors Field clubhouse for the third time in just two weeks. With a 6-4 victory, the Rockies swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS and clinched a berth to the World Series. It was their 21st win in 22 games.
The post game party is something fans will never forget. But, hopefully they didn't forget what led to the celebration. That includes the fourth inning, when the Rockies did all their damage.
Down 1-0, Colorado showed its offensive power when Seth Smith doubled and Kaz Matsui singled to drive in a combined three runs. Then, the NLCS MVP blew the game wide open. Matt Holliday came to the plate and crushed a 3-run homer to center field to extend the lead to 6-1.
It was just one of his seemingly countless big hits throughout the Rockies' magical '07 run.
The Diamondbacks cut the deficit to 6-4 heading into the ninth inning. And, after a double, the Diamondbacks brought the tying run to the plate with two outs. As fate would have it, the batter was Eric Byrnes.
The guy that gave the Rockies some "bulletin board" material after game two would have a chance to keep Arizona's season alive. Instead, he grounded out to short, making him 0-8 since his infamous comments.
His head first slide to first after the grounder was not in time. Rookie Troy Tulowitzki made a great throw to beat him. And, as Byrnes laid on the ground, Helton raised his fists in the air, celebrating an improbable trip to the World Series for the first time in his long, loyal career with the Colorado Rockies.
That night marked the end of Rocktober. After a long delay waiting to see who their opponent would be, the Rocks lost four straight in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox. The 9 days off killed their magic, but it couldn't kill the memories from perhaps the greatest month in Colorado sports history.
Player Reflections 10 Years Later
Brad Hawpe on Todd Helton's final out celebration: "Todd is a close friend of mine. He was my closest friend on the team, or one of them, and we spent a lot of time together over the years. He has a funny personality, but he's not emotional like that. And for emotions to kick in like that in front of all the people, that's crazy to me."
Latroy Hawkins on the '07 run: "It ranks at the top. Just because '07 was the only chance I had to play in the World Series. I played in the playoffs five or six times, but that was just an incredible ride. We just put our head down and went and played baseball, and we didn't listen to what other people were saying. We didn't read what people were writing. We just knew we had to go out and win baseball games, and that's what we tried to do."
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