SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was a good enough pitcher in youth ball that he threw a perfect game. He saved the ball, but not for himself. That's because baseball is a game for friends.The story is part of a feature on Arenado that will be part
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was a good enough pitcher in youth ball that he threw a perfect game. He saved the ball, but not for himself. That's because baseball is a game for friends.
The story is part of a feature on Arenado that will be part of "Play Ball," a weekly MLB Network show geared toward youngsters, that will air in April. Harold Reynolds hosts the program with other MLB analysts, as players such as Arenado, Padres outfielder Matt Kemp and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor offer ideas on how kids can play baseball in its many forms.
Here's Arenado's story of his perfect game, which nearly wasn't. It went down to the last batter and an uncommon play by his right fielder.
"As a kid, you don't really think about those things, and I wasn't thinking about them, either," Arenado said. "But as the game went on, I kind of had a clue that no one was getting on base. Then, finally, the ball was hit to right field and I kind of put my head down, like, 'Oh, man. I blew it.'
"But then he threw him out [at first base] and I was going crazy, man. It was a crazy experience. That was fun."
But how Arenado handled the success spoke volumes. Arenado made sure the right fielder received the ball as a keepsake.
"He preserved it," Arenado said. "That was a huge thing, and it meant a lot to me. Obviously, people were always congratulating me. But if he doesn't throw that guy out, I'm not getting congratulated. So I owe him the credit.
"I care about people. I care about their feelings. I look out for them."
In the interview, Arenado and Reynolds discuss their favorite Arenado plays and the fact Arenado is named for the Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. Arenado also talks about family Wiffle ball games that still occur -- Arenado, his brother, Giants Minor League infielder Jonah Arenado, and his cousin, Rockies Minor League infielder Justin Fuentes, play against other family members, but the pro players have to bat left-handed.
The Wiffle ball contests are not some kind of baseball preparation, just "being around the game." But Arenado said, "I'll tell you what, I make a lot of barehand plays and in baseball I do that, too. I'd be lying if I said I'd try those things in a game if I hadn't already in Wiffle ball."
Arenado also details his stance, routine and swing and demonstrates "flips," with Reynolds flipping him balls.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.