Blackmon doesn't take Opening Day for granted

April 4th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding's Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies’ looked to the sky at Petco Park on Sunday -- a day the team traditionally honors the military -- and cherished the noise and every last plume of the jet streams.

Blackmon loves flyovers.

The Rockies’ home opener is Thursday against the Nationals. Blackmon loves those, for performance reasons, as well as the planes.

In his first Opening Day, on April 4, 2014, Blackmon went 6-for-6 with a home run, three doubles and five RBIs in a 12-2 victory over the D-backs. He is 14-for-36 (.389) with nine runs, four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

“Opening Day in Denver is always just a special time,” Blackmon said. “The whole city really celebrates that home opener. My family is going to be there. It’s certainly a sight to behold.

“Hopefully, we have a flyover. That’s my favorite part of the whole day.”

Will it be the last time the jets roar while Blackmon looks up while wearing purple pinstripes?

Blackmon, 36, certainly isn’t playing like a guy ready to hang it up. He was 7-for-16 with two doubles and a home run as the Rockies split the four-game season-opening series at San Diego.

But Blackmon is at the end of his contract after exercising his $15 million player option for this year. He admitted being more reflective during Spring Training and into a season, not knowing if, where or how many more he will have.

“I was sure to be grateful for the opportunity, take some time to recognize how great the facility was, how great an organization and how much fun I’ve had playing this game,” Blackmon said.

“Instead of being super narrow-minded, occasionally I’ll step back and think kind of big picture. This is Opening Day. I’ve gotten to celebrate a few of these. Don’t take it for granted.”

Part of Blackmon’s current fun comes from being healthy. During the latter part of last season, Blackmon dealt with recurring hamstring pain and a knee injury that required postseason surgery. The leg issues were a big part of why Blackmon hit his 16th and final home run of last season on July 2. His homer off the Padres’ Nick Martinez in Saturday’s 4-1 victory ended a career-worst 47-game homer drought, and he is moving well enough to occasionally shed his current designated hitter duties and play right field.

“For sure [injuries] impacted Charlie,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Like a lot of players, he played through the nagging injuries. But when a player doesn’t have his legs beneath him, it affects him more than you think because he doesn’t have his foundation to hit.”