CHICAGO (CBS) — When Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta walked into Friedrich L. Jahn Elementary of the Fine Arts, 3149 N. Wolcott, needless to say there was a bit of excitement Monday.
“Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go,” chanted the pre-K through eighth-graders waiting outside.
Arrieta joined 25 other volunteers from the Cubs front office and from City Year Chicago to paint the auditorium and make banners ahead of graduation, WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
“I came here a couple of years and was able to help paint the gym and do some things to help fix up parts of their school,” he said. “It’s nice to be here again. Being in such a nice neighborhood and not getting the funding they necessarily deserve, it gives me more incentive to come here and help and see these kids really appreciative of me just stopping by and being part of their day for an hour or two, spending some time with them.”
Arrieta and Clark The Cub held a question-and-answer session on the playground.
“Why did I become a baseball player?” Arrieta said. “It started when I was two or three years old, my mom and dad bought me a plastic ball and I’d practice. My grandfather played, my dad played and that’s why I was interested it in. I also played soccer, basketball, football — I tried to play hockey, but I wasn’t very good at it, but hockey wasn’t popular in Texas.”
“That’s a good question. How do I handle the pressure playing baseball? I think the pressure I put on myself is greater than any other outside sources,” he said. “Wherever the pressures come from, they are all good sources, it keeps you motivated, but I think the way I prepare during my routine is the main thing I lean on to, not allow the pressure to get me down or to mess with the way I perform on the field.”
“How did it feel when we won the World Series? Very emotional. Extremely exciting.”
“Can we win again? Yes, that’s the goal this year,” Arrieta said.
“Who’s my best friend on the team? Other than Clark?” he laughed. “Well, we have a lot of really young guys. I look at guys like Javier Baez and Addison Russell and everyone loves Kris Bryant. Javy and Wilson Contreras I look at those guys as little brothers and I take care of them on and off the field.” he said.
Last year, the Cubs Caravan, an annual community outreach tour, stopped at Jahn Elementary School, where Cubs players and front office associates painted wall murals in the gymnasium, built classroom cubbies and packed healthy snacks for students.