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April 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm ET
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Taking It to the House

In general, when I refer to the Baltimore place I live, I call it “my wife’s house.” This is only a little bit overstated as, if I owned the house by myself, it would look vastly different. For instance, rather than adorn the walls of the little closet at the back of the third floor that Mary decided could be “my” space to furnish, the purple, black and white Colorado Rockies wall border might, um, spread a bit. There’d be red, white and blue bunting in the crazy flip-down windows above all the transoms — an architectural feature above hallway doors in late-1800s houses that were designed to let air flow. Helpful in non-air-conditioned homes, which my wife’s house still is.

Oh, and I’d have a whole room devoted to my personal baseball hall of fame. Pete Rose would be there. OK, Pete’s got a better shot at getting into the real Hall of Fame in his lifetime than I do of having a whole room devoted to baseball in my lifetime. At least I’ve got this:

My shrine to baseball. Four Rockies-themed baseballs placed in a diamond shape, a Wade Boggs model bat (not shown) and a jet-black Steve St. Angelo model bat from the Louisville Slugger factory. And a Todd Helton Gold Glove bobblehead.

Which is a good enough place to start on my pick for where the Rockies will end the season that opens tonight in Houston.

I mean Todd Helton, not my shrine.

And I mean first place in the weak National League West.

If … Helton agrees. It officially isn’t all on him anymore. Which makes it even more about him, if you follow. The lineup’s got mostly solid and a few spectacular pieces. Speed and power. The defense is more dependable if not awesome with a real infielder at second base in Marco Scutaro. The rotation isn’t San Francisco’s, but I’ll take Jeremy Guthrie, Jamie Moyer, Jhoulys Chacin, Juan Nicasio and Drew Pomeranz (plus solid young replacement parts)¬† against a whole lot of starting fives. (And San Francisco would GLADLY take the Rockies’ lineup.) The bullpen brings hard stuff after hard stuff, followed by hard stuff. The catching’s two deep in the exciting Wilin Rosario and what should be a well-rested Ramon Hernandez. And Jason Giambi’s back on the bench after a torrid spring.

But Helton’s the key. Be himself, 2012 version, and the rest will fall into place. Todd just needs to bring his gold glove, hit to the gaps for his standard¬† 35 to 40 doubles, hit a few well-timed homers, and stay healthy and shut up and sit when told to do so for season-extending reasons. At 38 years old, it’s probably time he learned to do this.

Anyway, the other night I lit a candle at the Rockies shrine in my wife’s house and asked the baseball gods whether there was any hope that I’m right about Colorado’s chances this season.

Helton’s head bobbed vigorously.

Of course, that could just have been the breeze over the transoms.

But I’ll take it. Order of finish:

1. Rockies
2. Giants
3. Diamondbacks
4. Dodgers
5. Padres

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