It was a moment caught on camera for all to see. Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies had had enough … and he was letting anyone in the dugout inside Petco Park know about it.
After the Colorado Rockies had fallen behind 3-0 in the first inning to the San Diego Padres, Arenado reached his boiling point. The All-Star third baseman needed to let off some steam after his team was behind once again in the early stages of the game … and he did to anyone in his vicinity, including catcher Nick Hundley.
It’s been too common of an occurrence in recent games as the opponent gets the upper hand early and the Rockies are forced to battle from behind. Arenado saw it happening again on Friday night and enough was simply enough.
Playing from behind is tough for most MLB teams. For the Rockies? It’s a death sentence.
Heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Padres, Colorado is 8-24 this season when the opponent scores first. The numbers get even worse as the game goes along.
When Colorado is behind after six innings, the Rockies are 2-29.
After seven innings? The number drops to 0-29.
After eight innings? Colorado is 0-27.
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Let that soak in for a moment. This is not a team that is built to come from behind or at least has shown the ability to do so this season. Arenado knows that as well. Seeing a 3-spot go up on the scoreboard in the first inning isn’t a good sign for the 2016 Rockies.
“He was frustrated. He cares. He wasn’t directing it at anybody,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said about Arenado’s reaction. “He was just kind of pacing in the dugout. Not a big deal. He was just frustrated. You let him have his say and then move on.”
But it is a big deal and you can’t move on, not this season. Not in a season where Colorado showed some life and promise in the early parts of the campaign. A sweep of the defending National League champion New York Mets in mid-May brought the Rockies to 19-18. Since then, Colorado is 5-13. The roof has caved in and the bottom has fallen out on the Rockies, all in one slow, ugly motion.
“Just frustration got the best of me,” Arenado said after the incident. “If I was going to do that I probably should have done that in the tunnel. I got frustrated, I let it out. The boys know I love them. I wasn’t yelling directly at anyone. Just losing is getting old.”
That last sentence sums up the feelings of so many Rockies fans. Many vent on social media or at their local bar or in the comforts of their living room. They scream. They shake their heads. They throw their hands up in disbelief. They’re tired of seeing Colorado on the wrong end of the scoreboard.
Maybe Rockies fans were mistaken to think this team was going to compete in 2016 … but they’re absolutely not wrong to praise Arenado for what he did in the dugout in San Diego. For all of the amazing plays he makes in the field and all of the homers he hits, Arenado probably endeared himself more to Colorado fans with that display than any blast he’ll ever send over the Coors Field fences.
We’ve become a society where participation trophies are OK and professional athletes sometimes seem to care more about endorsement deals than win-loss records.
Nolan Arenado, on behalf of all Rockies fans, thank you for reminding us and showing us it’s OK for someone to still care about winning … and not be afraid to show it.