Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Blackmon grateful for father's coaching

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- The ball teased Myron Blackmon's eyes. For more than two months, he'd knocked off decades of of rust in a batting cage, all to take his dream swing during Rockies 2016 Fantasy Camp. So, forgetting that many years ago he coached youth players not to, he fired at a pitch at eye level.

"What do you tell a little guy when they're young and learning to hit? 'Lay off the high fastballs,'" Blackmon said. "As a coach, that was the bane of your existence. The ball looks so big and fat and easy to hit. Guess what I did? I struck out."

DENVER -- The ball teased Myron Blackmon's eyes. For more than two months, he'd knocked off decades of of rust in a batting cage, all to take his dream swing during Rockies 2016 Fantasy Camp. So, forgetting that many years ago he coached youth players not to, he fired at a pitch at eye level.

"What do you tell a little guy when they're young and learning to hit? 'Lay off the high fastballs,'" Blackmon said. "As a coach, that was the bane of your existence. The ball looks so big and fat and easy to hit. Guess what I did? I struck out."

:: Father's Day 2017 ::

This time, Charlie Blackmon, then the little boy who would every now and then have to drag his little bat to the bench and now a star center fielder for the Rockies, was the Fantasy Camp coach. So, was there "atta boy" followed by a reminder and a juice box?

"Charlie lost it," Myron Blackmon said. "I actually got fined in Kangaroo Court. That was the big gotcha."

On Father's Day, MLB fans are watching their favorites on the field. But it's time to stop and remember that before these players entertained us, quite often they were learning to love baseball's successes and the challenges from -- and with -- Dad.

Charlie Blackmon readily credits his father with stoking his love for the game.

"It was cool because we kind of changed roles," Charlie Blackmon said. "Growing up, he always coached me. He was the inspiration-giver and teacher of lessons. And there I am standing in front of the group and him being a part of the team.

"His dad loved baseball. He loves baseball. He coached and was always there to play catch, throw me batting practice and have the team cookout."

Living in fast-growing Gwinnett County, Ga., Myron Blackmon had to take an extreme measure to make sure they could play.

"It was so busy and so crowded that I literally had to go and camp overnight in January at the facility where they were doing signups, so that we could make sure," the elder Blackmon said.

It wasn't as if he was sure his son would grow up to be arguably the most productive leadoff hitter in the National League over the last four seasons.

"He was always very astute and a student of the game," Blackmon said. "Even when he played football, he was a quarterback and he and the coach would be on the sideline making up plays as the game went on.

"But that powerful body, that came from going to college and working beyond to build it. When he was young, he was very thoughtful, very analytical."

Charlie Blackmon figured inviting his dad to camp that winter was in a small way a show of appreciation for the time and guidance. Myron Blackmon delighted in the resulting sore muscles.

"I won an award, the Ice Man Award, and got a trophy for the most time with the trainer and in the ice baths," he said. "It's awesome."

He even appreciated his son giving him a hard time.

Next time, maybe Dad will lay off the high fastball.

"He always tells me, 'Stop swinging at high fastballs,'" Blackmon said. "I say, 'Dad, I don't think you understand.'

"Sure enough, he swings at every pitch that's not over his head but above his shoulders."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Charlie Blackmon