Giambi and Helton are bonded by their love of hitting |

Giambi and Helton are bonded by their love of hitting

Troy E. Renck
The Denver Post
Colorado Rockies Todd Helton, left, and Jason Giambi are in the 1st full squad practice of spring training at Hi Crobett Field in Tucson, AZ on Friday. HI CORBETT FIELDHyoung Chang/ The Denver Post

TUCSON – Jason Giambi weighs a ripped 230 pounds, is covered in tattoos and lives in Las Vegas.

Todd Helton jokes that he’s one of only two Rockies without abs, has no ink on his body and is a certified redneck.

Giambi has financial stakes in multiple Hard Rock Hotel nightclubs, including Vanity and Wasted Space. Helton gets extra space in the Rockies’ clubhouse, afforded two lockers as a sign of respect.

Giambi is a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, specifically Metallica. Helton is a little bit country, namely George Strait. Giambi owns a private jet. Helton drives a Ford pickup. And yet it’s hard to find two players who get along better than the Rockies’ resident odd couple.

“We are like an old married couple, constantly needling each other,” Giambi said. “I love to make him laugh. His laugh is hilarious.”

At first glance, these two would appear to have nothing in common, the rock star and the Rockies star. But dig deeper, and the strong connection is revealed through their competitive nature and knowledge of hitting.

“Our bond is that we both care about the team and want to win. That’s the important thing,” Helton said. “I always knew that he was a good dude. He’s one of those guys you look forward to seeing at the field. He knows the game and he’s easy to talk to. And I am not that easy to talk to.”

That Giambi is a Rockie is due in large part to Helton, who called the slugger and asked him to come back when Giambi was waiting for an American League DH role. Helton told him there would be enough at-bats in Denver, that he was willing to reduce his workload. It was a remarkable sign of trust from a player who would rather eat gravel than share at-bats.

“That meant a lot,” Giambi said. “We know we can help each other out. We can tag-team the league.”

Though it can’t be found in the stat sheet, Helton has unofficially smiled more this spring than any time during his 13-year career. Giambi

All Things Rockies blog

Troy E. Renck and Jim Armstrong post analysis, notes and minutiae on this blog devoted to the Colorado Rockies.

is an endless stream of stories and one-liners.

He doesn’t just say funny things. He says things funny.

“The other day he used the word gangster to describe something,” Helton said. “I can honestly say I have never heard that before.”

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