Peyton Manning Takes In Colorado Rockies Game
Peyton Manning took in his first Colorado Rockies game as Denver’s newest resident and to see his friend and old college football teammate first baseman Todd Helton. Manning dropped by Coors Field on Sunday morning to visit his pal before the Rockies played the New York Mets.
Manning and Helton were quarterbacks at the University of Tennessee in the mid-1990s.
When Manning was going through his rehabilitation from neck surgery during the NFL lockout, Helton helped arrange for him to use the Rockies facilities to work out. Manning thanked Helton and the Rockies for their hospitality and generosity.
“He’s a great friend. What he did for me last year, allowing me to use this facility, use the trainers to work out as part of my rehab process,” Manning said. “I’ve come a long way in a year. They were a big part of it. The whole Rockies organization, I can’t thank them enough for opening their doors to me last year when I certainly was an outsider. I’ll always be indebted to them.”
Manning said he even had a locker now occupied by Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer.
“I needed a place to work out during the lockout. I was here a couple of different times, and I was here continuously. I didn’t travel with them,” he joked. “Cuddyer’s using my locker. He didn’t ask my permission.”
Hours after the visit, Helton hit a game-tying pinch-grand slam in the eighth inning. The Rockies, however, eventually lost the game, 6-5 in 11 innings.
“Eight, nine years ago the third base coach was hitting ground balls to me, by myself, and he was like, ‘Why am I hitting ground balls to Manning?’ I love everything about baseball. It’s such a different mentality than football, so many more games, a different atmosphere, I’ve always been a fan of it. Having a connection through Todd has made it very special for me,” he said.
Along with seeing Helton on Sunday, Manning also watched and filmed new Broncos teammate Eric Decker take some batting practice. Decker was a center fielder at the University of Minnesota and was drafted in 2008 (Milwaukee Brewers, 30th round) and 2009 (Minnesota Twins, 27th round).