“Josie’s on a vacation far away, come around and talk it over.”
Any Colorado Rockies fan who’s attended a game at Coors Field in the last three seasons has likely heard the opening line of The Outfield’s 1985 hit “Your Love” accompanied by that familiar guitar riff. A snippet of the song plays three or four times most home games. It’s leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon’s walkup tune.
Contrasted with the modern-day country, hip-hop and EDM hits most MLB players opt for, the song stands out. Which is fitting. A lot stands out about Blackmon. From the lumberjack-esque beard he grows to the car he drives — a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo — the Rockies’ star center fielder marches to the beat of his own drum.
Take the 12-year-old Jeep, for example.
The weathered, black SUV is the only car Blackmon owns. He estimates it’s got 140,000 miles on it. He drives it to Coors Field on game days when he doesn’t feel like walking.
Blackmon’s driven it since his senior year of high school. It’s been with him through his college days at Young Harris College and Georgia Tech and in minor league stops across America. And it’s remained Blackmon’s every-day car since he’s become a big-league All-Star who’s earning $3.5 million this season.
“It suits me well,” said Blackmon, who was batting .295 with 57 hits and seven home runs through Monday. “I’m comfortable in it. I don’t feel the need to wash it every day. It’s a utility vehicle, and that’s how I use it.”
Teammates say that the whip is a good representation of who Blackmon is: unpretentious, rugged and, OK, maybe a little odd.
“Yeah, Chuck, he’s a different cat,” shortstop Trevor Story said. “I love that about him. He’s a little bit frugal, I think. I think it’s awesome. We joke with him a lot.”
“It’s just him. It’s just who he is,” said second baseman DJ LeMahieu, one of Blackmon’s good friends on the team. “The worst part is he puts a little, I don’t know what you call it, a little sun protector on his windshield.”
LeMahieu is one of Blackmon’s good friends on the team. They’re roommates and work out with each other during the offseason.
On a cold morning back in January, they made plans to lift weights at an Atlanta-area gym. They drove separate cars. Just as LeMahieu was set to leave, he got a call from Blackmon.
“Dude, where are you at?” Blackmon asked LeMahieu.
LeMahieu told Blackmon that he was about to head out.
Then Blackmon said something unexpected: “I’m on the side of the road.”
The Jeep had run out of gas. Blackmon needed a ride to the nearest gas station. LeMahieu obliged — but made sure to document the incident on social media.
“I just thought I could make it,” Blackmon said. “Just playing a little chicken with the gas gauge, and it turns out I lost.”