Blackmon all business on field, less so off
Rockies center fielder enjoying time away from game before getting back to work
DENVER -- Center fielder Charlie Blackmon is kind enough not to let Rockies fans go through beard withdrawal.
Blackmon's familiar, bushy face has already been pictured smiling with an unlucky fish on his Instagram page. And he's kept fans up to date with his eating habits.
Blackmon also is scheduled to be a guest star on "The Most Wanted List" on the Sportsman Channel, which fits in nicely with a hunting and fishing schedule that includes jaunts to Tennessee, Idaho, Florida and through his home state of Georgia.
If the Rockies were playing in the postseason, Blackmon's quirky off-field personality would not be a little secret that people who follow the team enjoy. The whole world would know about him. Actually, though, Blackmon displayed the improved consistency in 2015 that could lead to merit star recognition, even if that's not exactly his goal.
"I want to be really good -- that's my goal. I'm not the flashiest player, but that's not really my personality, either," Blackmon said. "I do a little bit of everything. To be honest, I would prefer not to be all over ESPN or anything like that. It's not something that drives me, really."
But Blackmon, the Rockies' leadoff hitter, could achieve higher status in 2016 if his improvement continues.
Blackmon's .287 batting average was a point below his 2014 mark, but overall, his performance was better. In '14, a tremendous start led to an All-Star Game appearance. But this year he hit .290 or better in four of the six months, as opposed to just two months the previous year. He also improved his on-base percentage (.347, up 12 points) and slugging percentage (.450, up 10 points).
Blackmon stole 43 bases -- third in the National League, behind the Marlins' Dee Gordon (58) and the Reds' Billy Hamilton (56) -- and was caught just 13 times for a 76.8-percent success rate. Even more, according to FanGraphs, Blackmon finished the year with 3.2 runs created with stolen bases -- or weighted stolen bases (wSB), a risk-reward measurement. That figure was behind only the D-backs' A.J. Pollock's outstanding 4.7 and Gordon's 3.4.
Manager Walt Weiss sees Blackmon, 29, on the upswing.
"The consistency, the fact that he's developed into an elite basestealer, the overall consistency -- you could argue that he's had a little bit better year this year," Weiss said.
Blackmon borders on obsessive with video study. The holder of a bachelor's in business administration with a concentration in finance from Georgia Tech, Blackmon is logical and stubborn. He takes into account coaching and outside analysis, but sees basestealing as so personal that all decisions are his own. He also is known for having one of the most time-consuming postgame weight-training routines on the club.
So enjoy this goofy guy on your computer, tablet or smartphone.
That guy won't be seen much at game time.
"One guy's very serious and the other guy's not so serious," Blackmon said. "Sometimes I feel bad. I'd like to chum it up with the fans or wave or that kind of stuff, but I feel like it's distracting from what I'm trying to do. If it's that easy to break my focus, what kind of baseball player am I?
"Very few people besides my family and my teammates see both. My friends at home, they don't really know Baseball Charlie. They're not in the clubhouse. They're not around. My family sees both, unfortunately. They catch both sides, good or bad."
A good year, and some Rockies success, could help fans get to know both sides of his personality in the future.