SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — We knew, most probably, that Game 4 of the NLCS last October was Jake Arrieta’s last game as a Cub, even then. Sure, there was a chance he might return, but the ovation he received that night felt like a farewell.
Sunday, Jake signed with the Phillies, and I certainly wish him all the success he can have there, except of course when he’s pitching against the Cubs.
Late Tuesday, Jake sent out this handwritten note of thanks to Chicago via Twitter:
March 13, 2018
If it’s a little hard to read up there, here’s a transcript:
March 12th 2018
In the midst of what felt like never ending adversity and failure, I was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 2nd, 2013. This day was the beginning of a four and a half year stretch that would forever change our lives. On the verge of walking away from the game I love dearly, Theo called, and the transformation began. I looked myself in the mirror, as well as my two year old son and pregnant wife knowing in my heart that everything was about to change.
Chicago was our home, and will forever be a special place for my entire family. We raised our children in Wrigleyville, one of the most iconic places in all of sports. Going to work everyday was an honor for many reasons from the storied history of the organization, to the high character individuals I was surrounded by year after year. Three consecutive NLCS appearances, two NL Central titles and a World Series championship... the first in 108 years. Childhood dreams turned reality, thanks to so many amazing people, all holding one another to a very high standard.
I send gracious thanks to the Ricketts family and front office for their commitment to winning at any cost. Going the extra mile to take care of our families was never taken for granted. I was lucky to have dedicated teammates that willingly shed blood, sweat and tears to achieve our goals. I will miss going to battle with you, but look forward to competing on opposite sides moving forward. Lastly, thanks to all Cubs fans around the world for standing with us, and investing in us even when times were tough. You will all be missed dearly. Thanks for the memories.
If it seems like it’s getting a bit dusty in the room you’re reading that in, I understand. That’s one of the most eloquent statements of thanks I’ve ever read from a professional athlete.
To that, I can add only this: Thank YOU, Jake Arrieta, for your professionalism, for your talent, for your competitive nature that made you the pitcher you were for those four and a half years. The memories you helped give us will last a lifetime. When you return with the Phillies to Wrigley Field June 4, I will be standing and cheering for you when you’re introduced to the crowd that day. One day you’ll return for World Series reunions and Cubs Conventions, and you’ll receive there the hero’s welcome you deserve.
Thank YOU for the memories, and best of luck in the future.