Here’s something weird: the next home run you see from a Chicago Cub in an exhibition game/event may come from Jake Arrieta, before it comes from either of Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo.
Yes, I know. You are well aware that Jake Arrieta, Madison Bumgarner, Adam Wainwright and several other NL pitchers voiced their desire to participate in the Home Run Derby (and that may yet happen!), but recently, when asked about his interest, Kris Bryant indicated that he would likely pass on the event if he were asked to participate.
Indeed, in a report at the Chicago Sun Times, Kris Bryant told Gordon Wittenmyer that he doesn’t really want to participate in the 2016 MLB Home Run Derby (and a single tear rolled down my cheek). “All I know is it was tough. It was very exhausting,” Bryant said via Wittenmyer. “And I don’t know if I’d want to do it again.”
But the bad news doesn’t end there, my friends, Anthony Rizzo isn’t itching to return, either. According to Wittenmyer, Rizzo is still undecided on his participation. Clearly, I’ll have to find two new favorite Cubs, because #Bryzzo is getting weak (JK guys, pls respond 2 my fan mail. Thx.).
To be fair, Bryant told Wittenmyer he enjoyed the experience last year, but because it was mentally draining, he’s not sure he enjoyed it all as much as he otherwise would have. Fair enough. I always understood how it could be a physically exhausting event, but I never considered the other half of the game. With the All-Star game shortly thereafter, the All-Star break wouldn’t be much of a break at all for those participating in both events.
But guess who still doesn’t care: Jake “Just Give Me My Bat” Arrieta.
According to Wittenmyer, Arrieta is still ready to participate, no matter what people think or say. He is dismissive of all the downside risk, including injury or the the simple exhaustion factor (which could be especially important if he’s asked to start or pitch in the game the very next day). Arrieta has only been on the Cubs for 2.5 years now, but his response is the most classic Jake response ever: “It’ll get me loose.”
I love it and I think I believe him (but mostly I’m too afraid to call him out, even jokingly, like I did with Bryant and Rizzo). Whether it’s Arrieta, Rizzo, or someone else in the coming years, I don’t think we’re done seeing Cubs players swing for the fences in the middle of July.