Rockies Star Todd Helton Arrested on DUI

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was arrested Tuesday night for suspicion of DUI, reports 9 News in Denver.

Helton has spent his entire major league career with the Rockies after being drafted in the first round of the 1995 draft. The team released a strongly worded statement about the situation, which was posted on the 9 News website.

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.

The 9 News report also has a statement from Todd Helton himself:

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.

Helton, a five-time All-Star and one of the best hitters in baseball during his prime, is preparing for what could be his final season. Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported last month that the star's injured hip has healed and he wants to go out on his own terms.

This clearly isn't what Helton had in mind with spring training right around the corner. The incident puts him, and the team, in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. It's an unnecessary distraction ahead of what should be a memorable season for the 39-year-old slugger.

For his career, Helton is hitting .320 with 354 home runs and over 1,300 runs batted in. He's been a stalwart in the Colorado lineup since 1998, winning a batting title and four Silver Slugger awards in the early 2000s.

His numbers dipped before the injury last season. He was hitting .238, a drop of over 70 points from the previous season, with just seven home runs in 69 games. So it shouldn't be a surprise that he worked hard to come back for another season.

The Tennessee native's best season came in 2000 when he posted a staggering .372 average with 42 home runs. Although those days are long gone, the Rockies were hoping he would provide a solid veteran presence at first base this season.

He can still do that, but this incident obviously doesn't send a good message as the team gets ready for spring training. 

The best thing Helton can do is refocus on the upcoming season. If it does turn out the 2013 season is his final one, he doesn't want this situation to be the last thing people remember about his terrific career.