The Rockies had some freak injuries in 2008. None was more heartbreaking than watching the Mets Jose Reyes slide into second base and sideline Clint Barmes with a sprained knee. Not again I thought. Can’t this guy ever catch a break…?
First lesson when you get knocked down-get back up. In his rookie season 2005, while leading
National League rookies in most offensive categories, Clint Barmes was a shining star. Like another freak injury, Barmes fell while carrying some deer meat he had gotten from Todd Helton and broke his collarbone. A titanium plate and some screws later, fans could only wonder what his career would look like.
Rooting for the Rockies is fun because we are a small market team with guys like Barmes. And in case you hadn’t heard it’s not Barmes like Barnes and Nobles but (bar-mess) or (bar-miss) depending on what emphasis or drawl you take. Either way you say it still equates to hard work and class.
There’s no huge money trouble-making free agents on the Rockies who hog the spotlight and don’t play like a team. There are just guys like Barmes who bust it day in and day out to get it done.
Before his injury in 2008, Barmes was another shining light for the Rockies. The season had
started with Jayson Nix at second base but he struggled and was replaced by Clint. Barmes would go on to replace Tulowitzki when he had his freakish muscle tearing off the bone injury. Either position, short or second, Barmes had his stride and you had faith the middle infield was secure.
He was unstoppable hitting .343 before taking the slide from Reyes. Again fans had to wonder how he would react and what would he be like when he came back.
I made it a point to be at his first rehab game for the Sky Sox. It was just like old times. He had his huge smile and took time to talk with every fan who wanted an autograph. No sign of stress or depression. Rather just a ballplayer who, reading his body language, was humbled to be playing the game.
That was the Clint Barmes I knew from watching the Sky Sox and those years he was trying to make the roster again for the Rockies. That was the same guy who, when never given anything but a Triple-A roster spot, acted like the most humbled guy with every autograph request and never shied away from taking a picture with a child or fan.
I didn’t have any memorabilia for Clint to sign but I handed him my ticket and wished him well rehabbing and getting back up to Denver. I wanted that ticket signed because I wanted to remember the day he came back and the start of something special.
He would make it back up to the show and still had his swing hitting .306 in his final 29 games of the season.
Barmes has been nothing but dependable in his spring so far and I and so many other Rockies fans expect big things from this ballplayer in ’09.
With guys like Barmes, Ianetta, Spilborghs, Jimenez and many others, it is easy and fun to root root root for the Rockies. No big money egos just soft spoken hard working big time players.
Photos- Foxsports.com- face