The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Friday, October 8, 2010


            Zac Stevens
In the latter part of the 2007 baseball season the Colorado Rockies put together one of the greatest playoff runs in sports history. After winning 13 of the last 14 regular season games in the 162 games schedule the Rockies forced a 163rd playoff game which they found a way to win the bottom of the of the 13th inning with a controversial play at the plate. They continued this incredible journey into the playoffs sweeping there way to the World Series, capping off 21 wins in 22 games which the nation called Roctober. This picture was taken right after Todd Helton had received the ball to record the final out from Shortstop teammate Troy Tulowitski. Not only did this picture bring tremendous celebration to a team, an organization, and a city but it also delivered a message of hope to anyone who is willing to give it there all.
            Todd Helton has been the face of the Rockies organization for over a decade and was drafted just two years after the organization was established. This meant that Todd carried a lot of the weight of the team especially being a superstar first basemen. Because the team was brand new they were going to go through many difficult seasons of many losses and not much success, this put Todd in a position where most of the pressure was put on him because he was the only loyal player. He suffered through the worst times with the organization and when the 2007 season came around he was able to express all of his happiness and joy for the season and the past 10 years in this night. The emotion is shown through his entire body starting in the way his legs are positioned. He did not even have enough time to get out of his stance to celebrate; he was bursting in joy and celebration right when he caught the ball. This shows the passion and built up emotion that he had. Then it moves up to his arms and face. His arms in the air show a relief that he was finally able to help his team and his city reach the ultimate stage. And his face expresses a once in a lifetime feeling usually not expressed by men in there mid thirties. The emotions expressed by Helton represented the way his team felt, the city felt, and the entire organization over the past 15 years had felt. And yet this picture still stood for more. It stood for trying your hardest all of the time, never give up on a goal, and that you can succeed by taking the high road and doing the correct things in life.
            Todd Helton had many opportunities to leave the Rockies and go to a more successful organization but he decided to stay with the Rockies and try his hardest to help his team win. This showed many people the importance of unselfish behavior. He wanted the best for his team and he was going to stay and do everything that he could do to help them succeed no matter how long it took. This hard work ties in with never giving up on a goal and he is a prime example of it. Not only was he loyal to his team for many years but also he was a man that pushed himself and his teammates to get better. He showed that if you want something and you work hard enough for it you will usually be able to achieve it, it just might take time. Helton now represents people of loyalty and hard work reaching a goal and having the joy that goes with it. The joy that he expressed in the image can be inspiration to people to complete their goals because they see how happy it made him in the long run.
            This image can be metonymy because it stand for more than just a game or a season, it stands for the millions of people that try there hardest everyday to reach there individual goals for the ending result of indescribable happiness. It also stands for the good and unfortunately declining character that sports players have especially pertaining to baseball. In a business that is all about succeeding for yourself, whether that be signing bigger contracts, going to a more marketable city, or using unfair advantages to be the best, the few that “play the game” the correct way are being put on a greater pedestal and being idolized so greatly because people are relying on them to keep decency and quality in our national community. In the sports community the superstars main concern is money. Not just receiving enough money to be wealthy but to the point of unthinkable amounts. The message that this sends to the world is that Americans and sports stars are extremely greedy and that the only thing to life is money. Because sports stars are being viewed as icons and heroes this message is greatly spread to everyone from young to old with every background. In all professions that have celebrities people are always cheating and doing unfair things to get an advantage. Especially in sports and particularly in baseball. As we are in the midst of what they are calling the steroid era unfortunately a majority of players are using steroids to get that extra advantage to be better than everyone else. In other words cheating. Right as we start to depend on someone and look up to someone it seems as if they are caught for it. An example is Alex Rodriguez. Once Bonds became the all time home run champion we turned to find someone that would take him over because we didn’t want a cheater in that spot so we turned to ARod. Only a short time later he was on the highest pedestal in the greatest market of sports, and he too fell. We now look around whether it is the baseball world, the sports world, or the celebrity world and we find it hard to be able to truly believe in someone. Helton and guys like him are starting to rise on the pedestals because they are our last hope at showing the nation that you can be loyal, trustworthy, and fair. They will continue to rise and have greater respect placed on them however if they fail the fall will be more drastic and difficult for us to cope with. For us as the general public to find a decent role model and someone we can truly believe. Helton stands for something bigger than just the Rockies, than baseball, and more then sports. He and the other celebrities that act and hold themselves to these standards show that life can be lived by doing the correct thing and showing the proper morals of life.

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