Jake Arrieta will take the mound in Game 2 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night at Progressive Field.
The 2015 Cy Young winner had a 1.74 ERA through June 22, but posted a 4.44 ERA over his final 16 starts with 41 walks in 99⅓ innings. After the Cubs were shut out by the Indians in a 6-0 loss in Game 1, all eyes will be on Arrieta. In order to even the series, Chicago will need a dominant performance from the 30-year-old right-hander.
Throughout the pressure of his baseball career, Arrieta’s family has kept him grounded and has been a key component of his success. Wednesday night will be no different as his family, and support system will be in the stands cheering him on.
Here’s a look at Arrieta’s life away from the diamond:
1. Arrieta Met His Wife, Brittany, in Elementary School
Arrieta first met Brittany when the two were in elementary school together in Texas. They began dating their junior year in high school, and then attended TCU together, according to the Baltimore Sun. Brittany received her degree in education.
The Sun says Brittany was an elite gymnast in Texas. In 2007, Arrieta proposed to his high school sweetheart, who had been with him through his college career and at least one cross-country move for baseball.
“You can’t explain him,” Brittany Arrieta said of her husband. “He is kind of his own breed of person.”
She also told the Sun that her husband has an incredible work ethic.
“Off the field, he’s just the biggest goofball,” Brittany said. “But anything he does in life, he does 100 percent. He does nothing halfheartedly.”
2. Arrieta & Brittany Have 2 Children
Arrieta and Brittany are the proud parents of two children: Cooper and Palmer.
When Brittany was pregnant with their first child, Cooper, Arrieta hung the ultrasound picture to his locker, according to the Sun. Now, both of their social media accounts are flooded with family photos.
Brittany spoke about the challenges of being a baseball family to Chicago Splash in August. She recounted when Arrieta received notice that he was traded from the Orioles to the Cubs, he had to be in Chicago the very next day.
Brittany, who was pregnant at the time with her daughter, was left to handle their moving arrangements on her own.
“I was stuck packing up our life,” she told Chicago Splash. “Figuring out, where do I go? What do I do? How am I supposed to handle this?”
Due to Arrieta’s grueling travel schedule during the season, there are weeks that Brittany goes without seeing her husband. However, Brittany said she has formed a close relationship with the other Cubs wives, fiances, and girlfriends.
“It’s like a sorority,” Brittany told the publication. “Other teams I’ve been on, it’s not like this necessarily. We’re each other’s family and friends while we’re here.”
And for Arrieta, having his wife’s support is a huge key to his success. After throwing a no-hitter in 2015, Arrieta spoke about the excitement of sharing that moment with his family.
“First time doing something like this so I don’t know how to feel,” he told ESPN. “It’s fun to celebrate with my family on the field. My two kids and wife after the game. Something that doesn’t happen very often.”
3. Arrieta’s Father Coached Him When He Was Growing Up
Arrieta was born in Farmington, Missouri, but grew up just outside of Dallas, Texas.
His father, Lou, has been a big influence throughout his life, and baseball career. Lou who coached Arrieta from a very young age, would hit the field with his son every day after work, according to Player Profiles.
The family lived nearby Little League fields, which is where Arrieta spent countless hours practicing with his dad.
“I’d hit them and he’d run and shag the balls, and I’d pick up the ones behind the plate,” Arrieta said. “The desire to be great is something my Dad instilled in me—that, and hard work.”
Arrieta’s parents welcomed him into the world when they were just 18 and 19 years old.
“My Mom and Dad had to persevere through a lot,” he said.
4. Arrieta & His Family Live in Austin During the Offseason
In the offseason, Arrieta and his family reside in Austin, Texas where they spend most of their time outdoors.
Arrieta told MLB.com that he often hikes near his home with his children. In the 2014 article, he said his 3-year-old son Cooper would be in a harness on his back and 11-month-old daughter Palmer in a baby carrier on his chest.
Not only do the hikes give him quality time with his kids, but toting around the extra weight increases the difficulty of the workout.
During the offseason, Arrieta said he takes the hikes nearly every day.
“If the sun’s out and it’s dry, there’s a 90 percent chance we’re hiking somewhere.”
Arrieta explained to MLB.com, that’s one of the main reasons the family chose Austin as their offseason residence.
“The weather is so nice for the majority of the offseason, and it’s easy for us to get out and ride bikes and get on some trails, to walk together as a family. Sometimes I’ll go out for a trail run. We just like to do things outdoors.”
5. Arrieta & Brittany Are Involved In Several Charitable Efforts
Brittany told Chicago Splash she balances many roles in the Arrieta household.
“If you name a job title, we check it off our list,” Arrieta says. “Mover, packer — I’m a professional packer — assistant, financial [aide], cook. We stay very busy. Our guys live out of a suitcase. When they get home [from a road trip] it’s laundry and dry cleaning and they’re on the road again in seven days.”
Despite the hectic schedule, something she and her husband always make time for is giving back to the community. “Race to Wrigley,” is an annual run that raises money for Cubs Charities that Brittany enjoys supporting.
She explained to Redeye Chicago why supporting the race is important to her and Arrieta:
Something that Jake and I stress in our lives outside of baseball is health and fitness. And last year, getting to know Chicago a little bit I did the Race to Wrigley with some of the other wives, it was just one of those things where I wanted to do it again. It’s obviously a good cause and I wanted to keep involved and help promote healthy living.
“Race to Wrigley” had 6,000 participants and raised $350,000 this spring. Brittany also helps to coordinate other Cubs fundraising efforts like the “Mystery Ball” and the Players’ Favorite Things baskets.