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DENVER (AP) — In the estimation of Ryan McMahon, Nolan Arenado may just be the best third baseman ever.

McMahon’s upcoming assignment: Replace him.

The Colorado Rockies’ versatile infielder is in line to get the first crack at filling in for Arenado, an eight-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star who was recently traded to St.

Louis.

That’s one tough act to follow.

“My goal is just going to be to go out there and be the best version of myself,” said the 26-year-old McMahon, a career .237 hitter with 38 homers. “Nolan is going to go down as probably one of the best third basemen, if not the best, to ever play this game. All I can do is go out there and try to be the best version of myself and try to help this team.”

Although McMahon’s played all over the infield for the Rockies, he grew up in California as a third baseman. He’s the frontrunner to earn the job, with Brendan Rodgers, Chris Owings, Josh Fuentes (Arenado’s cousin) and Colton Welker also in the mix.

“I’ve been getting reps over there and we’ll see how it shakes out,” said McMahon, a second-round pick by Colorado in the 2013 amateur draft. “But I’m definitely excited at the thought of playing third base.”

McMahon has always taken an immense amount of pride in his defense — no matter the position. Last season, he split his time between first base (10 starts), second (28) and third (10). He even played a few innings at shortstop.

For being a plus-defender — manager Bud Black’s description — at any spot he plays, McMahon credits being around Arenado, shortstop Trevor Story and former Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who’s now with the New York Yankees.

“Those guys just go to work defensively,” said McMahon, who committed 10 errors in 263 chances around the infield in 2020. “I feel like it’s really rubbed off on me and kind of how I go about my daily business.

“It’s fun to take away hits from the other team and feel good about helping your squad.”

McMahon started eight of the nine games at third when Arenado went on the injured list late last season with a bruised left shoulder. McMahon batted .250 over that nine-game stretch — it included one start at second — with two homers and six RBIs. He made two errors in the field.

“He played well, made some really good plays,” Black said.

What’s more, he may have just unlocked something at the plate over those final games and without any added pressure given the team was out of the playoff chase.

“We all kind of just were like, ‘Hey, let’s go out there, let’s grind out these at-bats and play some hard-nosed baseball and finish the season strong,’” said McMahon, whose nine homers last season were second-most on the club behind Story’s 11. “I was just a little bit more selective at the plate and honestly just loosened up and had a little bit more fun with it.”

It’s an approach he’s taking into this season.

“It’s got to be a mindset, because 162 games is no joke,” McMahon said. “I think that’s where your daily goals and your daily reminders and having a good group around you to check you back in and stuff like that, and different guys to lean on, that’s when that becomes important.”

Like everyone else, McMahon watches all the highlight plays Arenado has made at third with amazement.

A tough act to follow, indeed.

“You’ve got to kind of come up with your own style when you’re over there at third base,” McMahon said. “I’m going to go over there and do my thing.”

___

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Advice | Miss Manners: We laughed out loud at her funeral, and I dont regret it

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother was emotionally, physically and mentally abusive. Plus, she knew about sexual abuse in the home as my siblings and I were growing up, and allowed it to continue.

She most probably suffered from borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, although she consistently refused therapy.

All of her children ran away from home at age 16, and most of us became quite successful in life.

I tried having some limited contact with her as an adult, but it was like beating my head against a wall. In my 40s, I “divorced” her, and didn’t see her again until she was in a casket.

All the remaining siblings attended the funeral. We sat front and center.

As people unrelated to the family began to eulogize her profusely, my sister started giggling ever so slightly. As the eulogies became more absurd, we all started laughing out loud (including her brother, my uncle).

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We were in tears, from laughter, by the end of the service, and it was the most cathartic feeling I’ve ever experienced.

Rude? Quite. Real? Very. Best way to send her to her grave? Absolutely.

Afterwards, we popped champagne and rejoiced that we had survived her abuse, and that in spite of it, we had become kind, empathetic, educated and successful adults.

My advice to others in this situation would be: Go to your mother’s funeral, if you like — you may find peace because you outlived her and survived. But the other option is equally valid: Don’t go, if you like. No one will judge you, because the people who really knew her also knew her true character.

GENTLE READER: It will no doubt be a comfort to you that it sounds like your mother would have approved of your behavior.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a close friend who lives nearby, and over the past several years, she has asked me to water her 25+ house plants when she and her husband travel.

Initially, it was twice per week during a two-week trip, about once per year. This year, they went away for more than a month, and they are planning a longer trip next winter.

How can I gracefully decline this request next winter? Would it be presumptuous to suggest hiring a neighborhood teen? That is what I do when I travel.

GENTLE READER: Say that, unfortunately, you will not be available at that time, and would hate to have her return to dead plants.

As your friend will be away, it will not matter whether the reason you are unavailable is that you are going on vacation, or that you merely do not expect to feel like getting out of bed.

Miss Manners advises against suggesting a different solution, teenaged or not, as it might be viewed as assuming responsibility for solving the problem.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: How do I send a belated notice to friends and family of the death of my elderly parents more than a year later?

GENTLE READER: In a handwritten letter that includes an apology for the delay. The formality will help friends and family understand that the delay is related to your grief, not your forgetfulness.

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Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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