Nolan Arenado: The Rockies Golden Child
SCOTTSDALE, Az. – Nolan Arenado is a baseball junkie.
“I love the game,” the Rockies third baseman explained. “I want to be out there every day.”
Even in the spring.
The Rockies played their eighth game of the spring on Friday afternoon. Arenado was in the starting lineup for the sixth time. The only players on the Rockies roster who have.s made more starts are Michael Tauchman and Ramiel Tapia, who are in a three-man battle for an open spot in the outfield with David Dahl. Dahl shares the No. 2 spot in games started with Arenado.
Oh, and one of those games Arenado didn’t start, on Sunday, he was in the stands at Scottsdale Stadium, hoping to see younger brother, Jonah, a 16th round draft choice of the Giants in 2015 who has yet to play above the High-A level, but is an invite to the Giants spring training.
“It is part of my routine,” Arenado said of his passion to play every day, even in the spring. “I am trying to get my timing down and see how my body reacts (to the workload).
“I want to be as consistent as possible. I take care of my body off the field.”
And he takes care of playing the game when he is on the field.
Think about it.
He is the first infielder in Major League history to win a Gold Glove in each of his first five big-league seasons. He’s a three-time All-Star. He has won a Silver Slugger for offensive production the last three years.
He is the first third baseman in Major League history to have three consecutive season of 130 or more RBI, one of only eight players with three consecutive seasons of at least 35 home runs and 130 RBI, and the only one other than Jimmie Foxx to accomplish that before turning 27.
Get the picture?
He’s pretty good, even if the writers don’t seem to understand it when it’s time for the MVP.
The Coors Field Factor seems to outweigh the accomplishments.
“At times they would say, ‘He’s on a terrible team,’” said Arenado. “Then we are in the playoffs last year and they say, ‘He can’t hit on the road.’ And I had my best year on the road.”
He had one of baseball’s better years on the road . His .283 road average ranked 26th among qualifying ML players, and he tied for seventh with 18 home runs and tied for fifth with 54 RBI.
“At times it hurts a little bit, but I have no control over that,” said Arenado. “The thing I do care about is respect from my peers and I think I do have that. I think people in the game respect the way I play the game.”
That’s as apparent as those Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards, which are voted on by NL managers and coaches.
“Anyone would want to be an MVP, but at the same time it means a lot to have the respect of your peers,” he said. “You don’t play the game for MVP trophies or any of those awards. Y.ou play the game because you want to go to the post-season. You want to go to the World Series. You want to win the World Series.”
For the first time in Arenado’s five big-league season the Rockies took that first step on his wish list last year – advancing to the post-season.
He was a big part of it, and people within the game notice.
On a Giants telecast last season former big-league pitcher Mike Krukow marveled about a defensive play at third base, explaining to viewers, “You won’t see anyone make that play,” and his broadcaster partner, former big-league second baseman Duane Kuiper quickly adding, “other than Nolan Arenado.
“It means a lot coming from those guys,” said Arenado. “I just thank God I am able to stay healthy and go out and compete every day. It’s something that’s fun.”
And it is fun for the fans, watching him play, and wondering when that next moment to remember will occur.