Follow the mobile-friendly live blog for Todd Helton's final game.

Todd Helton, being Todd Helton, tried to pretend that it was just another game. That was impossible.

Even as he was driving down I-25 from his home in Brighton it hit him.

"We know there's no crying in baseball," he said Wednesday evening before the Rockies hosted the Red Sox. "I shed a tear on the way here, so hopefully that will let me keep my emotions in check."

That's going to be difficult.

Todd Helton watches the 368th home run of his Rockies career, a solo shot Wednesday night in the second inning of his last game at Coors Field. More
Todd Helton watches the 368th home run of his Rockies career, a solo shot Wednesday night in the second inning of his last game at Coors Field. More photos. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

When Helton stepped onto the diamond at Coors Field for late afternoon batting practice, he couldn't help but notice the giant No. 17 cut into the outfield grass by head grounds keeper Mark Razum and his crew. He stretched out on the purple No. 17 painted onto the grass down the first baseline.

During batting practice, cameras clicked and whirled while Helton took his cuts. It was like the 2007 World Series all over again.

Wednesday marked the 1,141st, and final, regular-season home game of Helton's career.

"Todd will be a little bit out of his element," said manager Walt Weiss, who was playing shortstop for the Rockies when Helton made his big-league debut in August 1997. "He doesn't like to show emotions on the field, but tonight will be different for him. I think he will get caught up the emotions of the night."

Outside the gates at Coors Field, fans lined up by the thousands to be able to get their hands on one of 35,000 Todd Helton bobblehead dolls being handed out.

Helton said he's very aware that the fans are coming out to see him during his short farewell tour at the end of his 17th season.

"Absolutely, I hear the applause," he said. "I have stepped out (of the batter's box) a couple of times and saw that they were still standing, and I recognized that. But at the same time, I think they would rather see me get a hit than strike out."

Helton has been swinging the bat well of late, but he's not reconsidering retirement.

"Mentally, 17 years is enough, and physically it's definitely enough," he said. "I think I'm at peace with it. I think this game will be emotional, but once the game starts it will be easier."

He said he is not thinking of continuing in baseball, at least not right now.

"That's for a later date," he said. "Right now I just want to go out and compete for these last few weeks."

Patrick Saunders: , psaunders@denverpost.com or twitter.com/psaundersdp

Follow the mobile-friendly live blog for Todd Helton's final game.