Holidays mean family time for Barmes
Rockies infielder expects special Christmas with 15-month-old son
DENVER -- Clint Barmes' 2008 has been a true gift.
He and his wife, Summer, have watched their son, Wyatt, grow from an infant to a baseball bat- and golf club-wielding toddler.
"He has a couple of plastic bats that he swings around and hits things with and a set of plastic golf clubs," Barmes said. "He hits everything but golf balls. But he's enjoying them, and swinging."
Barmes, who turns 30 on March 6, enjoyed swinging, too, batting .290 while splitting his time between shortstop and second base for the Rockies, starting much of the time. Quite a bit went wrong for the Rockies, who went from World Series participant in 2007 to 74-88 in 2008, but Barmes was one of the bright spots.
Before trying to help light up the Rockies' lineup next season, Barmes is turning on the Christmas tree and preparing to relax a little. He kicked back to answer some questions.
MLB.com: What is Christmas going to be like around the Barmes household?
Barmes: We're excited about it. Wyatt, our son, is going to be 15 months at Christmas. He's playing with a lot of toys already. I don't think he understands yet that Santa is on his way. But it'll be a lot of fun with Wyatt around here. Last Christmas, there wasn't much he could do.
We're going to have a nice Christmas here at home. Then we're going up to Summer's parents' house during the day. They live 45 minutes north of Denver in Platteville, Colo. Hopefully, we're going to start a Christmas tradition.
We also got to spend some time with my family in Indiana. We went back there for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
MLB.com: It also sounds like you're not pushing young Wyatt into baseball, the family business.
Barmes: Oh, no, he's got the baseball, the basketball, the football. We're not pressuring him to play any sport. But we'll be there for him, and baseball will be there for him if he chooses to go that route.
MLB.com: What's the best gift that 2008 has brought Clint Barmes?
Barmes: Obviously, my family would have to be No. 1. And other than that, I'm very thankful for my job. Those are two very big gifts that I'm blessed to have in my life.
MLB.com: You've always been gracious with the fans and with your time when you're not playing baseball. What community activities have you enjoyed?
Barmes: Most of what I've done has been baseball-related, but I've visited the children's hospital and things like that. I really enjoy seeing the kids' faces, whether it's at Christmas time or just during the season. I'd love to be able to do a lot more, but the offseason has been getting back home to my family and going to my hometown and getting ready for next season. I've worked three baseball camps. I really enjoy that. That's my way of trying to give back as much as I can.
MLB.com: Just from talking to you in the clubhouse, I realize you're very dedicated to making sure the next generation learns the game properly. Where does that come from?
Barmes: For one, baseball is what I know. It's something I can talk about. I just pass on what I've picked up through the years. Looking back, I didn't go to camps as a kid. My dad was a great coach, and he helped me out as a child. But once I got into pro ball, there was a lot of stuff that I wish I'd have learned when I was younger. I began to learn some things that I think kids can understand at a much younger age.
For me, it was grabbing a bat and ball, and learning to catch and hit. That's the way it was through high school and mostly through college. So the best gift I can give back to the game is to pass on some of what I've learned, so the kids will be a step ahead in the game. I just recently did an infield camp at Slammers in Lakewood (Colo.). That was a lot of fun. I love teaching, and have a passion for it, and I love to talk to the kids.
MLB.com: What's your wish for the Colorado Rockies in 2009?
Barmes: For us to put together a team, go into Spring Training and jell and get back to the playoffs. Of course, there are always going to be new faces added between now and Spring Training. We'll always have a lot of new faces. But you look at the talent on our roster and in our organization, and you can see we've got a lot of depth there. There are a lot of guys who can play. Even the guys who don't have a lot of time in the Majors, but those guys are good. That's real positive for us.
MLB.com: So what does Clint Barmes want from Santa this Christmas?
Barmes: I don't usually ask for much. Let's see, for the economy to turn around -- I know the fans feel it, people who aren't fans feel it, my family and my wife's family are feeling it. And for the Rockies to win the World Series.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.