You know that feeling you get when you just totally nail a project at work on a Friday afternoon, you leave the office pumped up and with even the boss acknowledging that you went above and beyond, then you carry that all the way through the weekend?
With Major League Baseball playing its last games before the All-Star break on Sunday, Nolan Arenado, third baseman for the Colorado Rockies, got a taste of that feeling.
Arenado made a barehanded grab on a chopper, threw the ball across the infield, and got Arizona Diamondbacks hitter Domingo Leyba by three steps for the out.
How amazing was that play? The game was at Chase Field and even the D-backs fans applauded because they know great baseball when they see it.
“Unbelievable,” the announcer said. “Who does that?”
Even though the play was a big part of the Rockies keeping their deficit at 5-0, it wasn’t enough to power the team to victory.
Arizona won 5-3 and gave up just four hits in total, two of which were home runs that accounted for the scoring.
Arenado went 0-for-4 in the game, dropping his batting average to .312, still good enough for 10th in all of baseball and fifth in the National League.
The reaction of the D-backs fans, though — even if you just listen to the audio, you hear a distinct shift in tone from “nice, a hit” to “uh-oh” to “awww, nuts” to “gotta admit, that was pretty awesome” in the space of about 10 seconds.
Watching Arenado’s highlight reel is a seemingly never-ending string of “unbelievable” moments.
Some baseball writers have even floated the idea that Arenado is the greatest defensive third baseman ever to play the game, ahead of legends such as Brooks Robinson (who won 16 Gold Gloves) and Mike Schmidt (who won 10). They say the new era of power hitting makes fielding more difficult than ever before as the ball comes off the bat faster and gives defenders less time to react.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about Arenado? He does it all without making mistakes, never sacrificing flash for fundamentals.
Arenado’s .979 fielding percentage was second by an extra decimal place in the National League in 2017 to Anthony Rendon of Washington, and his range factor, which measures a player’s ability to get to the ball and make plays, crushed Rendon’s by a country mile and led the league.
So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that opposing fans had to tip their hats and cheer when the enemy third baseman did what Nolan Arenado does on a staggeringly regular basis on the baseball diamond.
As for Arenado himself, just like an office worker riding a work high through the weekend, he gets to go to the All-Star Game, which he’ll be playing in for the fifth straight year, and have a little more fun than usual.
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