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DENVER — The Hot Corner. Referred to as such because the position often leaves those defending it subject to scorching line drives, third base has been “hot” in Major League Baseball over the last several years by any definition of the word.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is right in the middle of all that, and sometimes right at the top.
“It’s kind crazy how many good third baseman there are,” Arenado told BSN Denver. “It’s a cool thing, there are so many guys who are just at the top of the game right now and it’s just fun to be a part of, and it just pushes me to get better.”
Josh Donaldson, he says, set the new high standard with his MVP performance last season and notes that Baltimore’s Manny Machado is having an MVP-caliber season this year. “I want to be known as one of the best,” he saysn. “That’s a tough list to beat but it’s something to strive for.”
I ask if he ever gets a chance to talk to those guys either to muse on how crazy it is that they are all in a boom around the same time or to do a little trash talking.
“I talked a little bit of trash last year to Donaldson,” says Arenado. “I don’t really talk to Manny, but I’m a big fan of his game.”
Historically speaking, Arenado is well-known to be an admirer of Adrian Beltre but was quick to heap praise on a cavalcade of others during our conversation.
“Scott Rolen had an unbelievable career,” he mused.Chipper Jones is another great player, Evan Longoria too. I don’t mind being compared to any of those guys. It’s an honor to be involved in the same conversation as them.”
Nolan Arenado has been compared favorably to some of the greatest ever to play the position including the great Brooks Robinson. There are those who believe he is already among the best to lace them up and take his place at the hot corner. There are still others who believe he is but a product of Coors Field; an illusion on offense and a wizard on defense.
But while the critics undercut his case and the choir sings nothing but his praises, Arenado just keeps remembering the guys he is chasing. “It definitely makes you want to keep up,” he says. He is just trying to keep up, whether it be to his remarkable contemporaries or the all-time greats he has admired his whole life. And someday, could surpass.