'I admire him': Blackmon becomes No. 2 in Rox all-time doubles

Colorado veteran sets example in consistency on, off field for teammates

May 24th, 2023

DENVER -- ’s teammates watch, marvel and seek to follow his example. But late Tuesday night, they just had to imagine.

During the game, Blackmon lashed a fifth-inning RBI double to give the Rockies the lead for good in the 5-4 victory over the Marlins, their second straight win in the four-game series at Coors Field. The double put him beyond Larry Walker and alone in second place on the club’s career doubles list with 298.

Then Blackmon did what his teammates admire -- a lengthy and strenuous postgame workout. But by the time he was done with the lifting and the cold tub treatment, every teammate was dressed and gone from the clubhouse.

“Every night it’s the same,” veteran teammate Mike Moustakas said as he prepared to head home. “That’s a reason why he’s so good.”

Blackmon’s four All-Star Games, his National League batting title, his four years of 29-plus homers and his one year of 43 steals are on the back of his baseball card. What is here and now, and what will last as long as he wears a Rockies uniform, is his consistent grind of preparation and professionalism. He is maintaining regular starts and a slash line of .275/.364/.419, and showing what it takes to do so.

“Ultimately, what you spend your time on and how you prepare is showing what you think is important,” Blackmon said. “For me to go tell someone, ‘Hey, I do this,’ they don’t want to hear that. 

“But I like it if they see, ‘Man, Charlie was 0-for-5 today and he’s doing the same thing he normally does. I can count on him tomorrow to be the same player he usually is, not the guy who is still thinking about that 0-for-5.’”

The victory put the Rockies 21-28, last in the NL West and a half-game behind the foundering Padres. It’s exactly what was predicted, but there is value in 13 wins over the past 21 games despite extreme pitching injuries. The Rockies haven’t fully turned over to prospects, partly because they want to keep winning examples for youth that is present.

Blackmon’s part is more important than his multifaceted job description of sometime leadoff hitter, mostly designated hitter and sparingly right fielder.

“It’s like motivation for yourself, you know what I mean?” said catcher Elias Díaz, whose three-hit night with a double lifted his batting average to .345 in a year of his own new-found consistency. He’s working. He’s doing something all the time.”

Outfielder Sean Bouchard, a rookie last year, underwent left biceps surgery in Spring Training and is working toward swinging a bat in August. He said when he's not rehabbing, he’s “majoring in watching.” There are message boards and big-screen TVs between him and Blackmon’s locker in the opposite corner, but he ventures over to study.

“I came up last year and watched him a lot,” Bouchard said. “But he’d come in the next day and you’d never know. With that consistency level, it’s not a surprise he’s had the career he’s had.”

Manager Bud Black counts himself among Blackmon watchers.

“I’ve been watching him for seven seasons and he never ceases to amaze me with the professionalism that he exhibits each and every day,” Black said. “I admire him.”

Blackmon tried to place his milestone in the present.

“Honestly, it means we got to take the lead right there,” he said.

Blackmon noted that he had more time to accumulate doubles than Walker (11 seasons to Walker’s 10). And at 36 and in the final year of his contract, he quipped that he would have to play “until I am 72" to surpass Todd Helton’s club mark of 592 doubles.

Reaching statistical peaks is one issue. Providing positives offensively for a club that needs them, and has and will have younger players who need to learn how to do it, keeps Blackmon pushing.

“Looking back on almost every season, there are times where if I had just limited my skids by just being able to pull out of the fog a little quicker, it would have made a big difference,” Blackmon said. “So by design, I tried to be very consistent in my nature.

“Like, Buddy never panics. He's the same guy all the time. And that makes me feel like things are OK. ‘It’s tough right now. We're gonna get better.’ Or, ‘Hey, we're playing good. We're supposed to play well.’ It exudes confidence and calmness is good for a clubhouse.”