DENVER -- After each standout defensive play, in another year full of them, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado instinctively listened for crowd reaction that never came.
But it’s nice to know that even with the cheers coming from the living room rather than the stands, Arenado was his spectacular self.
As a result, he was rewarded on Tuesday night with his eighth Rawlings Gold Glove Award in as many Major League seasons. Arenado is tied with Scott Rolen for the third most among third basemen in Major League history, behind Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10).
“There are times when I made some plays when I know that the fans would be a little bit fired up, and I miss it,” Arenado said late in the season. “You [expect to] hear them after certain plays, so it‘s definitely weird.
“I made some diving plays, and then it was kind of quiet. It’s never like that, even on the away side. They either boo you or they show you respect for making a great play. And I miss that. We’re kind of used to it now. Hopefully, we don’t have to be used to it for much longer.”
The Rockies' Charlie Blackmon was a first-time finalist in right field, but the Gold Glove went to the Dodgers' Mookie Betts.
Arenado, 29, made 48 appearances at third base this year while dealing with a left shoulder injury that bothered him from the season’s fifth game -- he landed hard while making a diving play on July 29 at Oakland -- until his last appearance on Sept. 19. Yet, according to Baseball Info Solutions (which awarded him with his fourth Fielding Bible Award), he led all Major League players in defensive runs saved with 15. He also led NL third basemen in total chances (163), double plays (19), zone rating (.848), ultimate zone rating (8.5) and defensive outs above average (9.3). He also finished second in assists (117) and third in fielding percentage (.982) and putouts (43).
"Again this year, Nolan showed why he is the premier defensive third baseman in the game," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Day in, day out, he makes plays that set him apart from all others. His eighth Gold Glove is a result of hard work and desire to be the best he can be."
Even though the left shoulder hurt, Arenado said a healthy right arm helped key his defensive performance.
“It [was] one of those years I felt complete on the defensive side. My arm felt rally strong this year,” Arenado said. “I kept that thing in better shape. I didn’t have that ol’ dead arm; it was a short season. I just felt better. I played well. I knew I was going to be up there. The pitchers gave me a lot of plays to make.”
Yes, 2020 was different in nearly every aspect. But Arenado’s performance offered welcome consistency:
• Arenado joined Schmidt and Robinson as the only third basemen to win at least eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards. Robinson won 16 straight (1960-75) and Schmidt took nine straight (1976-84).
• Arenado is the 15th infielder to win at least eight Gold Gloves and the sixth to win at least eight consecutive. The last infielder to win at least eight straight Gold Glove Awards was Omar Vizquel, who won nine consecutive at shortstop in the American League (1993-2001).
• Arenado’s eight straight to begin his career is the second-longest streak in Major League history, trailing Ichiro Suzuki’s 10 straight Gold Gloves from 2001-10 to begin his Major League career.
• Arenado’s Gold Glove streak is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and the longest since Yadier Molina won eight straight from 2008-15.
• Arenado’s eight Gold Gloves are the most in Rockies history. Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Walker held the previous franchise record with five.
“I just want to try to continue,” Arenado said. “I want one every year. It’s hard because there a lot of good third basemen out there. Maybe at the end, when I’m done, I’ll think about it, but right now I’m just trying to continue to work hard, continue to be up there with a chance to win again.”
Arenado also is up for his fourth straight Rawlings Platinum Glove Award. Voting began Tuesday at 6 p.m. MT online at rawlings.com and will remain open through Thursday at 9:59 p.m. MT. Fans will be able to select one player among the 2020 Rawlings Gold Glove winners from each league. Winners will be announced Friday at 4 p.m. MT on MLB Network.
Also on Friday, the winner of the new Rawlings Gold Glove TEAM Award, recognizing the top defensive team in each league, will be announced.