Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the Colorado Rockies are on the brink of clinching the second National League Wild Card spot. But before they can earn that trip to play the Arizona Diamondbacks in the elimination game, they’ll need to beat the Dodgers, a team that’s already clinched the best record in the Senior Circuit. Joining The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio, Rockies MVP candidate Nolan Arenado said why weekend’s like this are what makes baseball great.
“This is what we want,” Arenado said. “We were talking about in spring training how the last Dodgers series of the year could be a really big series, and at the end of the day it is now. It’s pretty cool that it all fell into place the way that we knew that it could, because we thought we had something special. We still need to go out there and take care of business.”
Arenado has taken care of business all season. The former Rookie of the Year, four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger has a chance to add one more award to his mantle—Most Valuable Player. With a .305 batting average, 36 home runs, and tied for the league lead in both doubles and RBI, Arenado is in the top ten of every major battling category and also brings one of the best gloves in baseball to third base with him every day.
At just 26 years old and barely 700 games into his big league career, he’s already being compared to all-time greats like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, just a single RBI away from being the youngest player to ever have three-straight 100 RBI seasons. That’s lofty territory that’s hard for even Arenado to wrap his head around.
“I can’t really comprehend it to be honest with you,” Arenado said. “It’s kind of crazy to think about. I’m just thankful I’ve been able to stay healthy and been able to play. Thank God I have teammates that are really good that get on base for me…To hear Babe Ruth and (Lou) Gehrig, it’s hard to really comprehend. I try not to let it get to my head, but I can’t help but think that those guys are two of the original OGs when it comes to baseball and setting the standard. Obviously, it’s an amazing thing. I’m very humbled to hear that, but I still have a lot of work to do.”
One big change for the Rockies this season was manager Bud Black. Hired to replace Walt Weiss, Arenado and Black got to know each other this offseason during a winter workout in Southern California. It was there that Black got introduced to his third baseman’s work ethic, after an extended session of ground balls.
“When I was in the minors, I wasn’t really a great fielder and that’s always something I’ve always wanted to keep up on. I take ground balls earlier than most people, it’s just something that I’ve always done,” Arenado explained. “I took so many that it helped me with my range. So now I just do it all the time. I really just enjoy it. I think Bud was thinking I was just trying to show off at one point, but the (UC Irvine) coaches that I work out with told him that this is actually what I do every other day.”