I was fortunate enough to see a no-hitter by Carlos Zambrano back in 2008. It was absolutely magical. As a long time baseball fan, I often wondered if I would get to see one. I thought Zambrano might someday pitch another, but those days came and went in a blink of an eye. A new era was ushered in. Those desires eventually gave way to the crisp days of autumn, and eventually the harsh winter that is baseball’s offseason.
I have been on a Jake Arrieta kick since probably his 4th or 5th start as a Cubs player. Even early on, it was so apparent he had great stuff. He took game after game into the 6th or 7th inning without giving up a hit. All Jake did was go out and try harder, work harder. Arrieta quickly became “must see TV”. He was a “stopper”: a pitcher who was a real threat to snap a losing streak. Those types of pitchers are also called “aces”.
No doubt Arrietta was motivated by the Cubs going out and paying a hefty sum for veteran left-hander John Lester. While Lester has had his off games this year, Jake has been lights-out.
On a late August night in the City of Angels, Arrieta took the mound and stopped another losing streak. He stopped a Dodger lineup that had gotten 17 hits and 9 runs over the previous two days. Stopped them cold. He was bright spot on an otherwise dismal west coast road trip.
For me, and I’m sure a lot of Cubs fans, everything that happens this year is bittersweet. So many of us have friends and relatives who are no longer with us, who would be reveling in the wins and achievements of the 2015 Cubs. I can’t help to think of one of my best friends who passed away last December. We would no doubt have been on the phone or have been watching the game together.
To see this happen, not once, but twice in a lifetime is something very special. I hope all the young fans appreciate and enjoy the moment. Even though the team is on the up-swing, you never know how long it will last. Jake Arrieta, you will probably never read this, but thank you, for what you have done, and what you will do. Your accomplishments mean so much more to us that you may ever know.