St. Louis Cardinals: A Coors All-Star Game sets up Arenado’s homecoming
By Matt Graves
The 2021 All-Star Game will be played in Colorado, setting up a homecoming for the St. Louis Cardinals’ newest star.
Nolan Arenado has been red hot to start his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals. Through four games, he has seven hits in 17 at-bats including a homer and three RBI. Defensively, Arenado has been just as good as advertised. Though it’s only been four games, he has helped give the Cardinals a new look on the field.
As happy as St. Louis fans are to have Arenado in Cardinal Red, the pain from losing their star has to be there still for Rockies fans. Without their star manning the hot corner, the team is off to a 1-3 start, but got some good news over the weekend as it was announced that the 2021 All-Star Game would now be held in Colorado.
For the first time since 1998, the friendly hitting confines of Coors Field will host the main event, as well as the Futures Game and the Home Run Derby. The prospect of a derby in the thin air of Colorado is fun enough, but an even better storyline to watch for this year’s Midsummer Classic will be the potential return of Arenado.
For Arenado, he has made it to the All-Star Game for five straight years (not counting 2020 where there wasn’t one). The second he put on a Cardinals jersey, he became the most likely Cardinal to represent the team there, though the hope is that he isn’t the only one this year.
2020 was a down year for Arenado and he may not have made the All-Star Game had there been one. However, the shoulder issue that ailed him last season hasn’t seemed to hold him back so far this season. While Arenado may not keep his current 190 OPS+ for the whole season, he has been a key part of the offense’s best start in the past five years.
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Since his debut in 2013, Arenado has been the Rockies’ best player and was a pillar of the identity of the team. His trade to St. Louis is still being looked at as a major loss for the Rox and if he can make it back to the All-Star Game, the reaction the fans give to his return is going to be wonderful to watch.
Arenado and the Cardinals will play a four-game series in Colorado from July 1-4, just a week before the All-Star Game. That sort of jumps the gun on the whole “first time back” storyline, but let’s be honest, that series likely won’t get the same national fanfare that a return in the ASG will.
At this point, it is unclear what the stadium capacity will be for Coors for the game, but they started at about 42% which is a good starting point to hopefully build on before July.
The expectation is still that Arenado sticks around in St. Louis for a while, but the potential for a reunion at the All-Star Game will likely be a gut-wrenching sight for Rockies’ fans.