Through the month of March, leading up to MLB Opening Day on April 1,
Sports Spectrum is highlighting 21 Christ-following players to watch in 2021.
Arguably the most high-profile move of the offseason was five-time All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado being traded from the Colorado Rockies to the St. Louis Cardinals. With Arenado now in the fold, the Cardinals like their chances to claim the NL Central for just the second time in the past six years (after winning the division three straight years from 2013-2015) and compete for their 12th World Series title.
The Cards tied for second in the division last year, and a player of Arenado’s ability immediately improves any team he’s on. He is the game’s premiere third baseman. He’s won a Gold Glove every season of his eight-year career and the NL Platinum Glove the last four years.
Offensively, he’s hit more than 35 home runs and drove in more than 100 runs every year since 2015 aside from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, when he finished with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in his final 48 games for the Rockies.
Nolan Arenado's 1st hit as a Cardinal! pic.twitter.com/tZiaL2OUY8
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 2, 2021
And the 29-year-old future Hall of Famer joins a Cardinals roster full of fellow believers in Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Jack Flaherty, and Paul Goldschmidt. He’ll be coached by believers in manager Mike Shildt and bench coach Oliver Marmol.
Arenado told reporters in his introductory press conference that he’s excited to be part of a winning culture in St. Louis.
“You know how good they are, the winning tradition they have behind them and the great players that have come through this organization,” Arenado said. “I admire the way they’ve won consistently. And they’re so good.”
Arenado has developed a reputation as being a “gym rat” who is constantly working on his craft. Former Cardinal Matt Holliday, who played with Arenado in Colorado in 2018, said Cardinals fans will love him for his devotion to being as good as he can be at baseball, and also someone with high character.
“I think the thing that they’ll love, as far as a baseball standpoint, is his intensity for the game, his love for the game, his work ethic, how serious he takes it,” Holliday told Sports Spectrum. “I think they’ll love his intensity and the way that he plays the game every day. I think that’s something Cardinal fans appreciate.
“I think you’ll see him involved and doing things in the community. I would say he’s a little bit more shy, maybe, publicly than some guys in the past, but I think he’s a tremendous person, a great teammate. He’s just kind of a hard-nosed ballplayer and loves the game, and I think that’s something that Cardinals fans have always appreciated.”
Arenado was on Sports Spectrum’s Table Forty Podcast with Matt and Leslee Holliday in June and he talked about how important his faith is to him. He talked about growing up learning how to treat people with respect and love, and how his parents instilled integrity in him at an early age.
He has Matthew 19:26 tattooed on his left forearm and has been quick to give God the glory for the success he’s had on the baseball field.
“God’s blessed me with this opportunity and I just feel like I don’t want to lose it and I don’t want to nonchalant it,” he said on Table Forty. “I wanted to go as hard as I can. It’s going to end. It’s going to end one day, and I understand that. I just want it to last as long as it can.”
He’ll look to put together another All-Star season and rack up another Gold Glove award while leading the Cardinals toward a World Series title. He said whatever success comes his way, he’ll give the glory to God.
“I’ll never take credit for this career,” he said on Table Forty. “It’s all Him.”
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