Todd Helton has been a mainstay for the Colorado Rockies for a long, long time, holding steady while other teammates screwed up on the diamond and off. Which means it's about time for him to have a gaffe of his own.
Like, for instance, a DUI arrest this morning, which generated an ultra-embarrassing mug shot and a major Helton mea culpa.
Before his booking photo, the most recent candid of Helton to make the rounds was one purporting to show him and buddy/former University of Tennessee teammate Peyton Manning after having gone duck hunting.
We saw this image on a 7News page a week or two ago, but it's since vanished from the site, suggesting that it might not be the real deal. However, there's no doubt about the authenticity of the following image:
What happened? According to 9News, a witness called the cops in Thornton after seeing a black Ford F-150 truck driving erratically as it headed south on Colorado Boulevard. Cops pulled the driver over at a Conoco gas station on the 12000 block of Colorado, and lo and behold, he turned out to be Helton, who was busted on suspicion of driving under the influence, then processed and released into the custody of what's described as a "responsible party."
Suggesting that Helton himself wasn't all that responsible at the time.
Here's the Colorado Rockies' statement about the arrest....
"We were extremely disappointed to learn that Todd was arrested this morning. This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization. We know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decision, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused to himself, his family, the Colorado Rockies organization and to Major League Baseball.
"Todd is taking full accountability for his actions with his family, his fans and the organization. The man we have grown to know has strong values that are grounded in his family and hard work. Todd clearly understands the severity of the situation."
...and here's a statement Helton posted on his Facebook page a few minutes ago:
"Last evening I exercised poor judgment and was charged with drinking and driving after driving to a gas station near my house. I am very sorry and embarrassed by my actions. I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously. My entire career I have worked to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I fell far short of this standard.
I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies Organization, Major League Baseball and the community to accept my apology. I make no excuses and accept full responsibility for my actions. I humbly ask your forgiveness."
Thus far, Helton's Facebook friends are responding sympathetically. Here's one example:
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Todd if you were to read this, I would like to say, you've demonstrated over the course of your career the standard of excellence in how you approach baseball. Take that same approach to this situation. You are still the same man I have followed and appreciated over the years, now continue to be strong and don't look back. You have a great life that still lies ahead of you, so leave the things that are behind and stretch towards the things that lie ahead.
In the meantime, though, there's plenty of embarrassment ahead for Helton -- as well as the knowledge that the mug shot above will linger online far longer than the buzz that led to it.
More from our Denver Blogs archive: "Todd Helton: Should the Colorado Rockies bench him?"