Focused Blackmon captures NL batting crown

Focused Blackmon captures NL batting crown

DENVER -- Center fielder and leadoff man Charlie Blackmon provided the Rockies a good reason to sip some of the champagne that wasn't consumed or delightfully sprayed away during Saturday night's celebration of earning a National League Wild Card.

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Blackmon went 1-for-2 in Sunday's 6-3 regular season-ending loss to the Dodgers to finish the year with a .331 average and earned his first National League batting championship. So manager Bud Black gathered players for a postgame toast in the clubhouse.

Date Time Highlights
Oct. 4 D-backs 11, Rockies 8 WATCH

Blackmon earned the 11th batting title in the Rockies' 25-season history and their fourth in five years. More important for Blackmon, who also set a Major League record for a leadoff hitter with 103 RBIs (104 total), he did it for a club headed to the postseason. Only Matt Holliday in 2007 won the batting crown on a Rockies postseason team.

"We were the second Wild Card; we didn't get in by much," Blackmon said. "That's all it takes. We got the opportunity. It makes you realize that one pitch or that one swing or that one play could really be the difference in making the playoffs or not making the playoffs. I'm happy to celebrate with the guys that we did make the playoffs."

Black lauded Blackmon's consistency, saying, "Charlie put a stamp on that early on. He just kept going. He's probably been as consistent as any batting champ I can remember, from start to finish. I can't remember too many stretches where Charlie didn't get a hit."

Black on regular-season finale

After beginning the year 2-for-19, Blackmon didn't have consecutive games without a hit until going three straight from May 9-11, and not again until June 13-14. He took on a 5-for-38 (.132) slump Sept. 12-23. But with the Rockies needing to hold off the Brewers for the Wild Card spot, Blackmon went 12-for-26 with two home runs, a double and nine RBIs in the season's final seven games.

"Especially with the Wild Card situation, the thing is to play well at the right times," Blackmon said. "We have the opportunity to do that."

Blackmon never let off the intensity, even though the Rockies knew they were in the postseason -- and were in celebration mode -- before the final two games were played.

"He's so funny, because yesterday we were all so fired up before the game and he was still in his corner getting ready for the game," said third baseman Nolan Arenado, who finished with 130 RBIs -- two shy of the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, who kept him from winning a third straight NL RBI title. "We were like, 'Dude, chill. We're in. It's all good, bro. We did this.' That's Charlie."

After the toast, Black asked Blackmon to speak to his teammates. He talked more about the chase for the postseason than himself for roughly 40 seconds.

"I'm not a big stand-up-in-front-of-everybody kind of guy, but anytime you can get such a collection of great men to pause and take a moment, it's really special," Blackmon said.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.