Just kidding. That’s not a video of Jake Arrieta making his first toss of Spring Training at Spectrum Field, but during his press conference this morning the question was put to him about his drop in velocity. Naturally Jake’s answer was that velocity isn’t everything. Look, miles per hour isn’t the only metric that shrinks as men age, so some candor can be refreshing. Arrieta doesn’t seem like the type of athlete that wants or needs to be the center of attention. If you came to the ballgame today you’d never know he had joined the club. No fanfare, no wave to the fans, and you wouldn’t have even known he was in the dugout were it not for his signature beard visible behind the shades as he briefly turned around to scope the crowd.
What you could see, if you were near enough to the dugout, was that Jake was frequently chatting with teammates who were intent on taking in every word during these E.F. Hutton moments.
Even though Jake kept his uniform under wraps during the game, there were telltale signs among the fans making the circuit around the concourse rimming the outfield.
It’s tradition in baseball that stud status confers the right for an incoming pitcher to request his customary number. In Arrieta’s case that means he’ll wear his #49 jersey as he wore it for the Cubs during his star years from 2013-2017. (He previously wore #s 57, 34, and 38 when with the Orioles from 2010-2012). That means he owes Ben Lively a nice watch for vacating #49.
There was buzz all around the stadium about Arrieta today. Pitchers and catchers were talking about him in the bullpen.
Even wildlife in the pond rimming the stadium were excited (well, about as excited as they can get).
Not to mention the excitement among Mad Dogs and Beat Writers.
Well … that’s enough excitement for one day. Arrieta wasn’t the only big arrival in town imported from Chicago. Time to head to the airport to pick Miriam up, presently on her way back from Chicago after surprising our superstar opening up his new office. Seems like this is the season of renewal in many ways.