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PHILADELPHIA — Without a doubt, there’s tremendous beauty and flair in Nolan Arenado’s game, with the way he plays third base like a combination of a graceful ballerina, a sure wide receiver and a cheeky cat burglar.
Meanwhile, at the plate, Arenado is a restless bundle of nerves and someone eager to pounce on a pitcher’s next mistake. Granted, there’s rarely a moment when he doesn’t think about hitting, so when he’s in the batting box, he’s eager to use the information he’s gathered from tirelessly watching a movie or batting baseballs. baseball into the batting cage to do some damage.
But the real beauty of Arenado’s game is the fire that burns deep within it and occasionally splashes and spills during matches. Challenge Arenado and you could get burned — like when he angrily barked at Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber and basically challenged the entire Phillies dugout on Saturday. Arenado’s white-hot fire works like the fuel that drives him to be great at everything he does, and it drives him to take nothing for granted. What’s more, it’s the furnace that propels him to a burn that’s as hot in the first inning as it is in the ninth and as intensely searing in a June regular-season game as it is in an October playoff game.
Arenado is a modern-day superstar in every sense of the word, a nine-time Gold Glover and a future Hall of Famer. But he’s also a relentless grinder who scratches and claws like an unnamed minor leaguer. What those around him love the most is the way he motivates with his contagious energy and his refusal to back down in any way.
“Fiery is an understatement because he doesn’t want to give anything away,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He’s ultra-competitive in every aspect of the game. You see a hitter like him, his offense is easy to think about, but he puts so much preparation into every part of his game. This guy wants to win every inch of the game. , so I’m glad he’s on our side.
Rookie Juan Yepez said he always marveled at Arenado’s talent from afar, but after joining the Cardinals he got a glimpse behind the curtain of preparation, focus and intensity who make the greatness of the eternal All-Star.
“You see a star like him and [Paul Goldschmidt] also, playing so hard, working hard on defense, hitting the cage and lifting [weights], and for us rookies, we admire that and want to do the same,” said Yepez, who was part of the Cardinals’ historic four-home run spree on Saturday. “If they’re paid the way they are and work as hard as they do, you’re like, ‘How am I not doing this too?’ It’s great to have leaders like that on this team.
Hearing that kind of praise means everything to Arenado, one of the true pillars of the Cardinals organization with the way he approaches every challenge and every game. He, like Goldschmidt, would rather lead by actions than by words. Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak calls Arenado and Goldschmidt “savants” because “they are always pushing to improve and find an edge.” In some ways, Arenado prefers the term “crusher” to any sort of flowery praise of his Gold Glove defense or his approach in home plate attack mode.
“What I want is to have an effect on young players,” Arenado said. “I’m not an aloof guy, but I want them to know that they have to work at this level and constantly look for ways to improve and push each day. This game is hard and I never want complacency in my game. That’s what I try to show others.