Friday night marks the first time that Nolan Arenado will take on the Colorado Rockies as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Before the awkward reunion, Arenado took time to talk to the media, including Rox Pile.
There, of course, was plenty to talk about when it came to Arenado and the much-dissected trade that sent him from the Colorado Rockies, the team who drafted him and saw his rise from rookie to one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game, to St. Louis on February 1.
But that time with Colorado is in the past, and it’s clear that is where Arenado wants to leave things when it comes to the Rockies … in the past.
Here are the most interesting quotes we heard from Nolan Arenado before the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies play this weekend.
"“At the end of the day, it’s another series,” Arenado said on Friday. “It’s a series that we want to win. It’s the Cardinals vs. the Rockies. That’s the big picture and just trying to focus on that.”"
That’s part of what Arenado said in a portion of the interview that was recorded and shared through MLB.com You can watch it below.
"Another part of the clip above was this, “I loved my moment in Colorado. I loved everything. I played with excitement. I feel like I gave Colorado fans something to cheer for. I wasn’t miserable. 2020 was just a tough year in general, being hurt and just frustrating.”"
But there was a part of that quote before what is written above that is worth noting. The context is that Arenado was asked about the circumstances he was playing in last year in Colorado (unhappy with front office) and a shoulder injury that slowed him throughout the year and eventually forced him to miss the end of the season.
"“People think that I was so miserable last year. I mean, 2020 was miserable for a lot of people,” Arenado said. “Regardless of whether you’re playing baseball or not playing baseball, it was just a tough year in general. Obviously, playing baseball during that was tough, and then being hurt was not good either.”"
Arenado emphasized that he wasn’t miserable in Colorado, which is an important point to remember as the two teams get together this weekend. Did Arenado want to win in Colorado? Absolutely. Was he frustrated that that didn’t happen? You bet. Did he still find moments in the game and with his teammates that he loved, even while winning wasn’t happening? Certainly.
And let’s not make too much out of this weekend series, Arenado tried to say without saying on Friday. He told reporters that, when he was traded, he was more interested in seeing when the Cardinals played the Chicago Cubs than when the Rockies were first coming to St. Louis and he’d see his former teammates for the first time.
That’s not a slight at the Rockies. It’s an indication of Arenado ready to embrace the biggest rival his new team has historically had.
"“The goal is to go out there and win. I know it (this weekend) feels a little more significant than kind of what it is,” Arenado said. “But we have a chance to win a ball game tonight, and that’s what we’re gonna try to go do.”"
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Of course, Arenado’s departure isn’t the only thing that has changed with the Rockies since the calendar turned to 2021. Jeff Bridich, one of the main antagonists for Arenado in his final months with the team, is no longer the general manager for Colorado. While he outlasted Arenado in Colorado by about three months, the All-Star third baseman didn’t react to the news of Bridich’s departure with much emotion.
"“I didn’t know about it for a while until a few days ago. I guess, surprise? But no, I don’t really have a whole lot of reaction,” Arenado said of Bridich no longer being with Colorado. “I guess I was just a little surprised. But you know, what, I’m not there anymore. So what am I gonna do? You know?”"
So does Arenado have any regrets about the surroundings regarding the end of his time in Colorado? He offered just one.
"“I guess my only regret would be that I let it get to the media. That would probably be my only regret.”"
Arenado’s final comment to the media had nothing to do with the Rockies, but everything to do with a former Cardinals great. As the Zoom interview was wrapping up, Arenado asked if he could add one final thing … and it was about Albert Pujols, who was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week.
"“Albert Pujols, I love you, man. You’re one of the greatest to ever play this game and I hope you get to go out the right way. I’m just a huge fan and I hope you hear this one day, because you’re my favorite player.”"