DENVER — Like the fans, even Mother Nature didn’t want to let their star shortstop leave.
But that’s inevitable, and the writing has been on the wall, as Trevor Story has said, since the trade deadline debacle early this year. Story, a free agent after this season, has not outright said that Wednesday was his last home game with the Rockies. But he, along with his teammates and fans, clearly treated it as such.
"It's hard to put into words," Story said. "Just trying to be in the moment as much as I can."
He said goodbye to people pregame, thanking them for their support over the years and spending time with staff and fans. His teammates gave him a moment alone with the fans, letting him run out by himself before the start of the game. Story didn't know Charlie Blackmon, who he considers to be like a brother, was planning that.
Story ran right to his spot on the infield, looking down at the dirt as the crowd, which was 20,000 strong at the start of the game, acknowledged him.
"Chuck got me good," Story said. "It means a lot that they did that. A big, big thank you to those guys."
Then Story had four hits, all infield singles, to help the Rockies beat the Nationals 10-5 for one last game at Coors Field this season. The Rockies finished 48-33 at home, their sixth-best record in franchise history. They head to Arizona now for three games against the Diamondbacks, plus a potential makeup game in Atlanta on Monday, to wrap up the season. Wednesday's meaningless game between two teams long ago eliminated from the playoffs finished six hours after it started, after a two-hour rain delay.
There were only about 2,000 people left by the time Story came up for his last at-bat in the bottom of the eighth, but they honored him with a standing ovation. The crowd had dwindled even more by the time the game ended, with the sky now dark and parking passes long since expired.
After the last out, Story turned to Brendan Rodgers first, who has stood next to him at second for most of the year. Story mentored Rodgers, and Rodgers has credited him for helping boost his confidence during his break-out season.
Then Story embraced Ryan McMahon, who stands on the other side of him. Those two are also exceptionally close, and Story was in McMahon's wedding last winter.
"It's hard for me to talk about those guys," a visibly emotional Story said. "They are going to continue on the legacy."
"They are going to carry on their own tradition and their own legacy," Trevor Story, fighting back tears as he talks about Ryan McMahon and Brendan Rodgers pic.twitter.com/Yn8hbiqKMN— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) September 30, 2021
Blackmon, who has been with him during his entire tenure here, ran in from the outfield to get his turn. And manager Bud Black stepped out of the handshake line to hug his shortstop.
Then Story took the traditional end-of-season lap around the field with his teammates, stopping before entering the dugout to tip his cap to the fans.
But Story wasn't quite ready to stay goodbye yet. He came back out, with a pile of gear, to hand to the few fans remaining.
"Just a small gesture that I hope goes a long way to the fans," Story said. "I couldn't get everyone something, but just small token of my appreciation."