Colorado Rockies fans, here comes Nolan Arenado-St. Louis Cardinals opt-out drama

Jun 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) reacts to striking out during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) reacts to striking out during the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /
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Colorado Rockies fans, cast your eyes east on Interstate 70 toward St. Louis, the land of the Gateway Arch, Anheuser-Busch, and those St. Louis Cardinals. Something over there on the banks of the mighty Mississippi seems … very familiar.

There is more connecting Denver and St. Louis than I-70, a solid NHL rivalry, and competing beer overlords controlling baseball stadium naming rights. There’s also the shared connection of one Nolan Arenado.

Ah yes, we know that for some in Denver, Arenado has been reduced to “he who shall not be named” or simply “the cousin of Joshua Fuentes.” Despite the Father’s Day cycle, the numerous “how did he do that” plays at third base, and so many other memories in a Rockies uniform, the day that Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, number 28 somehow became the number 666 in many minds.

But Rockies and Cardinals fans not only share Arenado, but they’re also sharing something else about baseball’s best third baseman. That’s the drama that comes with the opt-out clause built into his contract at the end of the 2021 season as well as the end of the 2022 campaign.

Fans of the Colorado Rockies are watching St. Louis Cardinals fans prepare for the opt-out drama surrounding Nolan Arenado.

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All seemed well when Arenado was first introduced to Cardinals fans back in February. Arenado said all of the right things, including assuring Cardinals fans that he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. Flash forward to late June and St. Louis finds itself in fourth place in the National League Central and isn’t performing as expected. With Arenado’s Cardinals contract having an opt-out clause at the end of the season, it’s already being asked if Arenado will stay or will he go.

Rockies fans, doesn’t that sound familiar? It wasn’t that long ago that Rockies fans were wondering if Arenado would exercise his opt-out clause (we later learned he wasn’t planning to do that). Now the proclaimed best fans in baseball are getting ready to squirm on their seats in the exact same way as their cohorts at altitude.

Make no mistake about it, Arenado wants to win. And he knows that each season that passes is another World Series opportunity he didn’t get. He already has plenty of money and fame. He doesn’t have the ring, and that is the ultimate goal.

As he told ESPN’s Karl Ravech less than a year ago, “And, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about: I just wanna win.”

And Arenado wants to win now. A 36-38 Cardinals record heading into Thursday’s action isn’t going to cut it, for a playoff spot or Arenado’s definition of “winning.”

So what will St. Louis do to improve this season and build around Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Yadier Molina? Here’s an interesting quote from John Mozeliak, the president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, from this article:

"“If, at some point, we look for something outside the organization (via a trade), we certainly will, but we’re not at a point where we’re only going to define ourselves by 2021. We’re not feeling that pressure if we don’t win this year that we’re all in trouble. We must understand that we can all do things better.”"

Something about those words may ring familiar in Arenado’s ears. After all, all the Rockies have to do is play better to be better, right?

The opt-out drama is just beginning in St. Louis, and it’s not likely to die down any time soon. For Rockies fans, it’s time to sit back, grab the popcorn, watch it unfold, and be thankful it’s not happening again in Denver.

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Of course, there is one more thing uniting Rockies and Cardinals fans here. Both fanbases don’t even want to think about Arenado opting out and heading to the Dodgers.

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