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Jake Arrieta Came THIS Close To Quitting MLB 10 Years Ago

I didn't see this story coming today. Not by a long shot. 

We were talking about Jose Cuas for tomorrow's show. He's the Royals pitcher who walked away from baseball years ago to work at a FedEx. Story goes his brother was relentless in keeping the baseball dream alive even though Jose was at FedEx. So they would train together after 12 hour shifts and you can imagine the rest. He hangs on to the dream and now he's made his MLB debut. The story is really just beginning. 

It's one of the many great things about baseball. Guys seemingly come from nowhere and everywhere, each with their own ambitions. And ultimately, it's entirely on the player to succeed in the game. That's the message I've learned over the years following baseball. You don't get a roster spot because you got drafted in a certain round or your scouting report says you're supposed to be good. It's not because a team favors an agent here for a favor there. The parity and competition is too robust. The only way to make MLB (and stay) is to do it on your own, which is an entirely personal quest. 

That's what shocked me about Jake's story. So much was accomplished and earned. I'm not repeating it but the body of work is there and it arrived with such force. Almost like it was pure destiny for him to master his craft right when the Cubs needed someone to partner with Lester in the rotation. And then one day he ended up standing alone on top of baseball. All alone, with absolutely no other pitcher in reach.

So imagine my surprise when he very naturally opened up about almost quitting in 2012. The Butterfly effect is staggering to even consider. Does Scott Feldman bring the Cubs 2016 glory? Did you take that seriously? Are we even considering the Cubs' break the curse? It's impossible to say with 100% certainty, but I am One Hundred Percent certain the Chicago Cubs are still chasing the first championship since 1908.

We're also definitely not doing this podcast together. So selfishly, I'm very happy Jake didn't end up quitting. 

More selfishly... I'm happy he put this out there. We're obviously going to talk baseball inside and out. Tomorrow's show is also loaded with random life stuff like unprotected sex and picking up the check at dinner. Then an interview with Ryan Dempster and a ton of inside stories and jokes and all the good shit that makes an entertaining show. 

But this is the stuff that sticks with me deep down. The story of not quitting. The commitment to getting the most out of life. Not letting other people and outside noise influence your own path. That hits so deep because it's not just baseball, but life. And the only person in charge of it is you. So go take some control and write your own story. 

"Nobody gets out of here alive." - My dad, repeatedly

New Starting 9 drops every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Subscribe to the show here. 


Starting 9

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