There’s no denying baseball is changing. In today’s era, analytics and statistics are redefining the way the game is played. General managers treat scouting reports like advanced math problems, crunching numbers to gain a competitive advantage in any situation. No player’s weakness goes unnoticed. But for Eastbay’s January cover athlete, Nolan Arenado, this is no problem.
Only six seasons into his career, Arenado is on pace to be one of the top two-way players in history. The third baseman is only the second player in league history to post three or more seasons with at least 35 home runs and 130 RBIs before age 27. He’s also only one of three third basemen to win four straight Silver Slugger Awards.
Arenado’s consistency at the plate is supplemented with his spectacular play-making in the field, yielding an impressive set of accolades. He’s won a Gold Glove in each of his first six seasons and has been voted into the All-Star game for the past four years. Not to mention, his .970 career fielding percentage places him eighth all time among players at the hot corner.
So, is Arenado aware of how his numbers reflect his performance on the field? Of course he is. He even sets specific goals each year, challenging himself to improve.
“My goal is always to make 10 or fewer errors,” Arenado said. “It’s kind of hard to do and I’ve only done it once. In 2017, I made nine and that was my best fielding year.”
That type of drive is what propelled Arenado to stardom in the first place. When he first entered the majors, Arenado said scouts were doubtful he could even play third base because of size and lack of speed. But with a strong work ethic and continued confidence in his abilities, he was able to block out the doubters and prove he belonged at the top.
“When you get a report on you, it just sticks. I knew third base was something I could do and I could do it better than what I was getting credit for,” Arenado said. “Once I really took pride in my offseason work, I think that’s what changed for me.”
Arenado also knows baseball is a complicated game and to be the best, you must be a complete player. While he continues to smack homers and drive in runs with the best in the league, he still strives to be more efficient at the plate.
“It’s easy to say everyone’s goal is to hit .300 with 30-plus home runs and 100 RBIs and that’s one of my goals also,” Arenado said. “But I would really like to cut down on the strikeouts and give myself a better chance of putting the ball in play.”
Today, Arenado’s confidence is at an all-time high. He’s continually moved up the ranks in the National League MVP vote since 2015. Last year he placed third, behind only Christian Yelich and Javier Báez. He credits that improvement to never losing focus, even during the offseason, and advises younger players to do the same. He says that with hard work comes confidence and once that confidence is instilled, the sky’s the limit.
“Being confident is huge but you’re only going to be confident after putting in the work,” Arenado said. “Work hard so when the game starts you feel confident. You know you’re prepared for the day.”
Arenado prepares to conquer every season with the latest and greatest gear in baseball. Check out Eastbay’s full selection of top products for on and off the diamond.
Be a part of history with the Nike Air Clippers 2017 baseball cleats.
Baseball cleats have gone through quite a lot of changes through the decades. But for Nike baseball lovers, one cleat has consistently stood out from the pack: the Nike Clippers. Well-known for their great style, long-lasting fit, and proven performance, many legendary players have laced up in them over the years. Let’s take a look at how the Clippers have revolutionized the cleat game over time.
It all started in 1980, with the original Nike Clipper cleats. A full-grain leather upper and nylon sole plate made this cleat durable and supportive. It immediately became a go-to among serious baseball players and was worn by MLB stars such as Rick Sutcliffe and Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.
The next year saw the intro of a second colorway. The clean look of the white main with black accents was a big-time hit. With its unrivaled style, fit, and performance, the Clipper would go on to be on-diamond favorite for the next three years.
After a five year hiatus, the Clipper made its long awaited return during 1989 and 1990. Although it wasn’t available for the general public yet, the popular cleats started to be worn during games again by legends like Dale Murphy and strikeout king Nolan Ryan.
This was a huge year for the cleats. Not only was the Clipper available for the public for the first time since 1984, but a completely new model was introduced: the Air Clipper XTR. Its high-cut design provided unbelievable levels of support and stability without sacrificing comfort.
The next year saw another great addition to the Clipper Family with the Anniversary cleat. A supple deer-tanned leather upper and vintage treatment gave the cleat a premium look while maintaining the elite performance of the original.
After a few more strong years, Nike made another strong move by finally dropped a women’s version of the Clipper. Its low-profile heel and lightweight cushioning made it a perfect fit for serious fastpitch players throughout the world.
By the time 2003 hit, Nike had the Clipper cleat perfected down to a science. Their Pebax plate now featured a combination of full and 5/8-length cleats in the forefoot for a new level of traction. The Clipper would continue to shake up the cleat world until 2008.
After an 8 year break, the Clipper is back and better than ever! While taking design inspirations from the classic models before it, this cleat is as advanced as possible. Flywire cables are intergrated with the laces for a better fit and stability. The full-length Phylon midsole keeps your feet comfortable and cushioned all game long. Simply put, the Nike Air Clipper 2017 is the best of both the past and the present.
words // Brandon Richard
The Bronx Bombers. The Brew Crew. The Amazin’ Mets. The Halos. If you’re on the hunt for fan gear that speaks directly to the culture of your favorite baseball team, the new Nike MLB Local T-Shirts are the way to go. Available for every team in the league, these shirts feature team specific screen-printed graphics and callouts that celebrate baseball tradition in your city. The Nike Swoosh is also located on the front of the shirt, while the team logo boldly adorns the left sleeve.
Show your MLB team pride by grabbing one of these unique tees over at Eastbay.
words // Zack Schlemmer
Today brings the return of MLB baseball and the start of the 2012 season with the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics kicking things off with a two game series in Japan. This week’s Memory Lane page ties in to the Japanese series in two ways: 1. Ken Griffey Junior, who played for the Mariners and 2. Hideo Nomo who was the first Japanese born baseball player to permanently relocate to Major League Baseball.
On this page we see two classics from Nike Baseball, which are among the most popular models in Nike’s training line that are still being retroed today. We see the trainer and cleat versions of the Air Griffey Max II and the Air Nomo Max as well as the forgotten Air Zoom Diamond trainer and cleat. Where do the Griffey Max II and the Nomo Max rank on your list of favorite trainers?