MIAMI — Todd Helton is gone. He turned out the lights on his career Sept. 29 in Los Angeles, leaving his cleats and cap on an empty shelf as he walked out of Dodger Stadium.

The Rockies moved on, signing Justin Morneau.

Helton's absence didn't hit home until Monday, when reality struck that the lights will never be rekindled the same way. Helton's streak of 17 consecutive opening-day starts ended as he watched the Rockies open their 2014 season against the Miami Marlins from the Pepper Pod restaurant in Hudson.

"It was a little weird," Helton told The Post.

Helton, 40, is enjoying life out of the batter's box. He has traveled, spending time at rodeo school in New Mexico. He coached his daughter's youth basketball team, an experience that left an indelible mark.

Read more here.