Welcome to the second Purple Row edition (and the 107th edition overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where we're here to provide plenty of material to help you avoid any and all NFL mock drafts. Let's get into it...
The other night I was watching a baseball game and enjoying several beers when Nolan Arenado did something amazing. In disbelief of what I had just witnessed, I leapt from my seat and extolled virtues upon the white and black clad figure nimbly moving about on the television set in front of me. I SMH'ed for many minutes with my jaw agape. I excitedly took to social media so I could say things like "WOW" to other excited onlookers.
Nolan Arenado has made reactions such as this commonplace.
Of course, this is the play in question:
...and in poorly produced Vine form:
Look at the way he takes just a split second to survey the field after he hops up. Beyond ridiculous athleticism this was a really smart, headsy play.
After the game, Giants broadcaster Jon Miller-- in between analyzing baseballs in the Rockies' humidor-- said, "He could be one of the all-time greats someday."
Rockies broadcaster Jack Corrigan, using words from Walt Weiss, helps put it in perspective:
Walt Weiss is right. Nolan Arenado is re-inventing defense at 3B every game. Sometimes you cannot believe what you're seeing.— Jack Corrigan (@jackcorrigan2) April 25, 2015
Re-inventing the position is a good way to put it. Arenado is making plays that third basemen don't make. Keep in mind that amazing double play isn't even the most awesome thing Arenado has done defensively in the season's first month. Yeah, he also did this just two weeks ago.
And I don't think he's going to stop. I mean, he did this just last night.
Watching Arenado save runs and change games in jaw-dropping fashion has become a constant, expected occurrence.
When watching a great fielder over the course of a long season I think fan bases can become guilty of seeing a very good play and becoming convinced that THAT GUY is the only player in the league that can make that play, when in reality a handful of major leaguers could have pulled it off. They are all pretty good at baseball, after all.
That's not what's happening here.
THIS is not supposed to happen! Third basemen don't do THIS! THIS is not a thing that third basemen do!
The coolest part about all of this is that we're not talking about a light-hitting guy who stays on the roster because of his glove. This is not Andrelton Simmons or Brandon Crawford. Arenado can hit! In fact, he's really good at hitting baseballs! He went .287/.328/.500 last year. Those numbers are only going to go up as Arenado continues to grow at the plate. The on-base percentage in particular will benefit from a reduced strikeout rate, which is down from 12.4% last year to 6.9% in the early going this year.
Arenado posted a 4.1 (Baseball Reference) WAR last year in just 111 games. If he stays healthy this year, is a 7-ish WAR out of the question? I don't think so. And that would garner at least a few MVP votes. I'll be pretty shocked if he doesn't start the all-star game this July.
According to Baseball Reference, Arenado is making just $513,000 this year and will be arbitration eligible after this season. He's emerged as perhaps the most popular player on the roster. So it'll be interesting to see if the Rockies proactively work to give the him some sort of huge extension the way they did with Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. That kind of thing always produces a dicey situation for the Rockies, but it's a situation they need to plan for.
Because in his third year, Nolan Arenado has already emerged as one of the game's elite talents. He is no longer a bright, young star. He's not a star-in-the-making. He's not simply the best defensive third baseman in the game. He's not someone to keep your eye on. As you read this today, Nolan Arenado is a full-fledged superstar.
If you don't recognize it yet, that's on you.
We also have to talk about this Drew Stubbs slide. Before this stolen base attempt "Drew Stubbs' Slide" was an accurate way to describe his train wreck of an April; now that phrase has another meaning. If this didn't happen in such a key moment (ninth inning of a tie game) it would be absolutely hilarious. Look at the arm flails at the end!
The real reason I bring this up is because I did essentially the same thing in a co-ed slow pitch softball game Thursday night. It was not graceful. Some might consider it embarrassing. In that moment, Drew Stubbs was really representing for idiots like me.
And one more cute Rockies thing I feel obliged to include:
Off to the weekly departments...
Stud of the week:
This week's stud is a stadium.
Coors Field is a beautiful, near-perfect stadium. It's the essence of LoDo. It's perfectly maintained with zero signs of depreciation after twenty years. When I was a kid, the big, black and white scoreboard would flash "Coors Field: The Greatest Place On Earth" during the seventh inning stretch. I found that statement to be true twenty years ago and I think I still might.
(Of course, this mindset is part of the reason many would argue that the Monfort's are content to put losing teams on the field, but we won't get into that right now.)
Also a shoutout to the Rockies PR staff for letting Purple Row run the official Rockies' Twitter account during Saturday night's game. It's pretty cool how open-minded the Rox are to the blogging community and websites like this one. A lot of team's are not.
Tweet of the week:
Hey I was just talking about this place! A gorgeous shot from the official account of MLB:
Purple mountain majesties … pic.twitter.com/84JhAr436O— MLB (@MLB) April 25, 2015
Ass of the week:
So Max Scherzer is going to miss a start because of a thumb injury he suffered while hitting. Now (and in the wake of Adam Wainwright's season-ending injury on the base paths), Scherzer is rallying for a DH in the National League. Max, if you don't want to hit, you didn't have to sign a 7-year, $210 million contract in the National League. Dude's been here for one month and he's calling for the one rule change I'll always cling to (until it inevitably gets changed).
Vine of the week:
Switching out of baseball quickly here. This young fella sang the national anthem before a Rockets' playoff game last week and J.J. Watt left his courtside seat to give him some love. The look on the kid's face is absolutely priceless.
Photo of the week:
Carlos Gomez is a weird dude with a new haircut:
Some other stuff the internet had to offer:
It's hard to imagine a more badass way to get hit by a pitch:
This play is absolutely insane. WEEEEEE!!
Apparently other MLB teams have infielders who make good plays, too. This is ridiculous from Freddy Galvis.
I have never, ever seen a bunt like this from EYJ:
This is just about the most awesome (or worst) possible tribute to Anthony Davis and his unibrow.
Pelicans fan busts out the UniBra.... pic.twitter.com/LnjqXsLjLg— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) April 24, 2015
Hey did you know Steph Curry is good at basketball?
I have to post this in an effort to raise the embarrassment level of this person's family:
I'm a pretty big fan of watching Bartolo Colon look ridiculous doing baseball things.
I'm just going to link to this one because there is a lot of foul language, but Funny Or Die and David Spade spoofed the Britt McHenry video. It's pretty hilarious.
Another link that may interest only me: Grantland's excellent profile of the incomparable Dwight Yoakam.
Comedian and baseball fan Chris Rock showed up on Real Sports to discuss one of the problems facing baseball. This is relevant and worth your time. (It's Chris Rock and HBO, so I probably shouldn't have to warn you about a little NSFW language, but I will anyway.)
Happy Tuesday, everybody. (And Happy 31st anniversary, Mom and Dad.) Thanks for readin'. See ya next week.
Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with post ideas, videos, or other media I should know about. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.