When the song “Your love” blasts out of the loudspeakers at Coors Field, Colorado Rockies fans have grown accustomed to singing the last word of the infectious chorus: “I don’t want to lose your love tonight.” One thing is certain, the player who bats immediately following the 80’s jam isn’t going to be losing the love of Rockies fans anytime soon.
That player is Charlie Blackmon. In his ninth MLB season, the three-time-All-Star has continued to show how effective he can be as a complete player. On Thursday against the San Diego Padres, it was his offense that took over.
Blackmon was 4-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI. The Rockies won 9-6 and Blackmon, who finished the game a double shy of a cycle, was a major reason why.
It was the 12th multi-home run game of Blackmon's illustrious career, and his two centerfield bombs on Wednesday brought his season total to 14, good for third on the team.
“I was trying to pull one of those balls and I was just a little bit late. If you can hit it not exactly where you want to hit it and still hit it out, that's good,” Blackmon said.
The fact that Blackmon is coming off of a calf injury that forced him to miss 14 games makes his performance all the more remarkable. Rockies manager Bud Black, however, wasn’t surprised. He has come to expect such things from the star outfielder.
If Thursday is any indication, it is clear that Blackmon is at or approaching full strength.
“I feel pretty good,” Blackmon said. “I feel like I'm limiting my mistakes, not giving away a ton of at-bats. I think playing at home helps a little bit. Having a couple of weeks off you're not run down, you're not tired (which) helps too.”
Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray knows how important Blackmon's play is for the team and has been very impressed with how he has come back after injury.
“It's incredible man,” Gray said. “Just seeing how well he is in his zone right now. He's in his own place and you can tell. It's really scary for other pitchers and good for us.”
Blackmon, a former second-round Rockies draft pick is successful for a number of reasons. Athleticism and work ethic immediately come to mind, but according to Bud Black, it’s his preparation that sets him apart.
The 32-year-old outfielder creates a personal plan before each and every game centered around the opponents that he’s facing, specifically the pitchers.
“He literally has a plan before the game starts and when the game unfolds, depending on the situation he enacts that plan,” Black said.
Black illustrated a specific example.
“His last at-bat, he got a bunch of sliders from Whistler and whistled one down the right-field corner. That's what he does. He's a very, very smart player and he always has a plan,” Black said.
Coming into the game Blackmon evaluated Padres starting pitcher Matt Stahm, and thought that he was balanced.
“He (Strahm) could throw curveballs, changeup, sliders, fastballs and sinkers,” Blackmon said. “I felt like, it wasn't like he fell into a pattern, so I was just trying to look middle of the plate and make as few mistakes as I could.”
Blackmon's stat line is evidence enough that his pre-game preparation clearly works, especially at home.
With “Your love” playing and the fans at Coors Field cheering, Blackmon has found home life to be very fruitful on offense.
This season Blackmon has safely reached base in all 23 home games he has played in and is slashing .427/.491/.979 with 12 home runs at Coors Field.
Blackmon's hitting form is likely unsustainable, but it’s unwise to ever count out a player of his caliber.
As for his undeniably catchy walk-up song, Blackmon said it was his walk-up during his college days at Georgia Tech. He remembers that time period fondly and decided to bring it with him to the big leagues. It’s safe to say that it’s worked out thus far for the leadoff batter, plus it gives Rockies fans an outlet to showcase their pipes.
Chuck Nazty, as he is affectionately known by the twitter world, provides stability and consistent flashes of stardom at the top of the Rockies batting order. His iconic mullet and beard only add to his legend. Blackmon is a champion of the community and will never lose the love of Rockies fans. Performances like the one he had on Thursday are a big part of the reason why.