Helton looks to sway voters
First baseman picking up steam heading into All-Star break
Three Camden Yards crowds of well over 40,000 brought out the better -- there's still a way to go before you can say it's the best -- of Colorado first baseman Todd Helton during the Rockies' weekend series with the Orioles.
Although he went 0-for-4 on Sunday, that had more to do with Baltimore's stellar pitching. In the previous two games, Helton had gone 3-for-7 with a home run and two doubles. He also made a nice diving play in one of the games. The Rockies won a one-run game, lost twice -- including once by two runs -- and generally kept the baseball entertaining.
"It was fun to play in this atmosphere, with a packed house," Helton said.
In other words, he looked more like the player who belongs on the big stage, the one who had been to the past five All-Star Games.
Helton's batting average is hovering around .250, and All-Star voting online and in person reflects that, but it's not too late for Helton to sway some opinions in the final stages of voting.
"I was talking to my dad this morning and said he reminds me of that Maxwell House commercial, where the coffee is percolating," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
At the very least, he has a shot at being the Rockies' representative on the National League squad. Right now, other healthy Rockies who might be worthy of consideration are center fielder Preston Wilson (a reserve in 2003), closer Brian Fuentes and a pair of rookies -- left-hander Jeff Francis and third baseman Garrett Atkins, who was above .300 before a recent slump.
A couple of candidates on the disabled list are right-hander Shawn Chacon, the team's most consistent starter when he's healthy, and, of course, shortstop Clint Barmes, who may miss the rest of the season with a broken collarbone.
No Rockies are among the leaders at any position.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.