Holliday named NLCS MVP

Holliday named NLCS MVP

DENVER -- Rockies fans have been chanting "MVP" before and during every Matt Holliday at-bat for more than a month.

Their chants have been aimed toward the belief that he deserves the National League Most Valuable Player Award, which will be presented next month. But during a raucous celebration that erupted at Coors Field late Monday night, they were able to do so with definitive reason.

While it remains to be seen whether Holliday will garner that coveted MVP Award in November, he'll definitely be heading home in the offseason with the NL Championship Series MVP trophy that he was awarded Monday night, after leading the Rockies to a 6-4 series-clinching win over the Diamondbacks.

Without Holliday's constant production throughout the regular season, the Rockies wouldn't have experienced a postseason. And without the three-run, fourth-inning homer that he delivered in Monday's Game 4, the city of Denver would still be wondering if this is the year it finally gets to experience a World Series.

"He deserves it," Todd Helton said after Holliday was named the NLCS MVP. "There's no doubt about. He works his butt off. He's got a lot of big hits this whole season. He's been unbelievably huge. He deserves to be the MVP of the whole National League, not just the National League Championship Series."

Holliday, who collected four hits, including two homers, in his final seven at-bats of the NLCS, showed a sense of humility when he was presented with the MVP Award on a stage behind second base. Once he had the trophy in his hand, he pointed it toward his teammates to show his belief that they were just as deserving.

"I don't deserve this," the ever-humble Holliday said. "It should go to everybody. There could be 10 or 15 other guys who deserve this. Our bullpen as a group could have had it. I'm just happy to have it and I just want to share it with them."

Preserving the dignity of the award, Holliday jokingly confirmed he has no plans to smash the trophy and give parts to each of his other deserving teammates.

"I'm not sure that I can smash it that good," said a smiling Holliday, who hit .333 (5-for-15) with two homers and four RBIs during the NLCS. "I might get somebody to cut it into 25 pieces or something."

It's been quite a year for Holliday, who led the National League with a .340 batting average and 137 RBIs. His second career All-Star experience included the opportunity to have his brother, Josh, throw to him in the Home Run Derby.

But to be able to make this final significant contribution that now allows him and his Rockies teammates to make an improbable run into the World Series tops any of the many individual honors that he'll receive this season.

"It's a special time to be able to share it with guys like that. I never had any expectations of what it would feel like," Holliday said. "But it's really neat."

Heading into Sunday's Game 3, Holliday had recorded just one hit in his previous 13 postseason at-bats. His first-inning homer Sunday seemed to get him back into a groove, and a first-inning single Monday further proved that he was rounding back into form.

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After the Rockies erupted for three two-out runs off Micah Owings in Game 4's fourth inning, Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins knew what was coming next. He'd seen Holliday hit 36 homers during the regular season and felt the time was right for another one.

Thus, when Holliday drilled Owings' 1-1 pitch over the center-field wall, Hawkins and his teammates were ready to celebrate yet another pivotal homer. The Rockies went 28-5 when Holliday homered during the regular season.

"I called it in the bullpen," Hawkins said. "It's not like it was something out of the ordinary. He's been doing it all year. But at that point in time, it was just so huge.

"It was only right for him to do that, after the year that he had. He's just been unbelievable. For him to top it off like that for the National League championship, it was just unbelievable. But we're not done yet."

Having won 21 of their past 22 games, the Rockies have been labeled as a team that has mojo on its side. Holliday prefers to believe that an overwhelming sense of growing confidence has helped him and his teammates taste defeat just once since Sept. 15.

"I believe in confidence and I believe that this team has great chemistry," Holliday said. "I do believe in that. You can call that mojo or whatever you want to call it. It's a lot of fun coming to work with these guys and spending time with them."

Like many of his teammates, Holliday says he isn't allowing himself to grasp the magnitude of this incredible streak. For now, he and his Rockies teammates can only focus on the World Series, which will begin on Oct. 24.

But when that is over, they'll all join the rest of the baseball world and realize they've basically done the unimaginable and because of it, they now find themselves ready to live the boyhood dream of participating in the World Series.

"Obviously, some time in the offseason, we'll sit back and say, 'Man that's quite a run.'" Holliday said. "To be able to do it with these guys, I feel very blessed."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.