By Manny Randhawa for Sports on Earth
DENVER — “I know I’m not the best hitter in the game.”
Nolan Arenado is realistic about his place among baseball’s elite. When he hears the chants of “MVP, MVP!” from the Coors Field crowd after a dramatic home run, he takes it in stride, well aware of what playing in his home ballpark means for his chances to win the award.
“That’s for other people to decide,” Arenado says. “But I’m getting better.”
And that’s what we should understand about Arenado: He’s getting better, and the National League MVP Award aura surrounding him is extraneous as far as he’s concerned.
At age 26, Arenado is proving he’s not simply a product of his environment, a hitter benefiting from the altitude and acreage of Coors Field.
The MVP chants and the debate in baseball circles over whether Arenado is over- or underrated, which take into account his incredible defensive prowess at third base, only apply more external pressure on him to perform in a way that should satisfy the Coors detractors. And yet, he’s doing just that.