BERTHOUD, Colo. (CBS4) – Baseball fans in Colorado are use to seeing Clint Barmes on the diamond. Barmes, who made his major league debut with the Rockies back in 2003, totaled more than 10 season in the big leagues, including parts of eight seasons with the Rockies.
Now, some two years after Barmes announced his retirement from the game, he’s back on the diamond at Berthoud High School, serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the Spartans baseball team.
Barmes, who had become family friends with Berthoud’s head coach Buddy Kouns, was recruited out of retirement by Kouns and was out at practice two times a week during the season.
“I took a year off and after a year he was like, ‘are you ready?’” Barmes said of Kouns’ recruiting pitching.
“I just said, hey, you know I would love to have you out there in any capacity that you could give us,” said Kouns.
Kouns sold the work as an “opportunity” he recalls with a wry smile on his face, “I wasn’t telling him it was an opportunity for him, I think I said that, but really the opportunity would be for us,” he said with a laugh.
“It’s really surreal,” said senior outfielder Jake Yuska. “We all grew up watching Rockies games and going to games and it’s kind of crazy to think that this guy we use to watch play baseball on the biggest stage is here helping us out.”
This season Berthoud’s baseball team ended a 19 year playoff drought, whether or not Barmes’ presence at practice had anything to do with that depends on who you ask.
“I picked a good year. This is a talented group, they’ve had a great year. As much as I’d like to take a lot of the credit, I can’t sit here and tell you that’s why they’re in the playoffs. They’ve put the work in and I couldn’t be happier for them,” said Barmes.
Kouns agrees that his players have done a great job fighting their way into the postseason, but is not shy about pouring on the praise for Barmes.
“I think that he has brought the kids a level of confidence,” said Kouns. “I think that it’s contributed to it. We’ve been building to this, we’ve been better and better each year, but I think that may have been what put us over the hump.”
Barmes is active at practice, throwing batting practice and dishing out hitting advice, but when asked if he ever gets the urge to strap on the spikes he turns down the invitation.
“The way my body feels now, I’m not too quick to grab my glove and run out there.”
Berthoud’s season came to an end Saturday with an 11-4 loss to Valor Christian.