Thursday night St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado returned to Coors Field for the first time as a visiting player. He of course spent the first eight years of his career with the Colorado Rockies.
As expected, Arenado received a long and loud standing ovation prior to his first at-bat Thursday night. The Rockies also played a tribute video on the scoreboard.
It is no secret Arenado's split with the Rockies was not amicable. He essentially forced a trade after saying he felt disrespected by the team's lack of activity the past two years. Arenado signed a long-term contract and the Rockies didn't do much to improve the team around him.
"I really feel like I could look at my past and really have no regrets when it comes to what I did here. I feel like I did some great things," Arenado told reporters, including the Associated Press, prior to Thursday's game. "... I don't know how it would have really turned out (if I had stayed with the Rockies)."
In his eight years with Colorado, the 30-year-old Arenado hit .293/.349/.541 and averaged 35 home runs and 114 RBI per 162 games. He went to five All-Star Games and won a Gold Glove all eight years with the Rockies. By WAR, Arenado is the third-best player in franchise history behind Todd Helton and Hall of Famer Larry Walker.
The Rockies visited the Cardinals in St. Louis in May and Arenado went 4 for 12 with two doubles and a home run in the three-game series. The Cardinals are in Denver through the weekend, so fans will have three more days to cheer Arenado after Thursday.
Colorado traded Arenado to the Cardinals for lefty Austin Gomber and four prospects in February. Colorado is paying $51 million of the $199 million remaining on his contract.
Arenado is hitting .267/.320/.513 with 16 home runs in 79 games this season..