3/22 Samardzija commits to Cubs
Did Jeff Samardzija dump his girlfriend to become a big league pitcher or didn’t he? In an interview with writer Joe Posnanski, Theo Epstein says Samardzija met with Dale Sveum the day he was hired as Cubs manager, and talked about his complete commitment to baseball. According to Epstein, Samardzija said: “I just want you to know one thing about me. I will do whatever it takes to help the team. And I think the best way to help this team is by being a starting pitcher. I’m eliminating everything in my life that gets in the way. I’m dumping my girlfriend. I’m moving to Arizona. I just want the chance to show you that I’m a starting pitcher.”
On Friday, Samardzija said that he did meet with Sveum on the day he was hired in November 2011, and yes, he did dump his girlfriend.
“In previous years I didn’t feel like I had done everything I could,” Samardzija said Friday about baseball. “I thought I worked hard in the offseason and did a lot of things but especially in midseason I didn’t feel I was putting myself where I needed to be to be the best I could be. I worked hard that offsesaon and when I met, I told [Sveum], I had no distractions in my life, and this game can be a lot about just minimizing distractions from the outside. The older you get, the most you realize that.
“I wanted to level with him that I didn’t have any distractions and the only thing on my mind was making the rotation and pitching 30, 32 starts,” Samardzija said. “The best way I could describe it was by saying I didn’t have a girlfriend.”
So he dumped her?
“Hey, that’s fine — I dumped my girlfriend,” Samardzija said. “That sounds like a better story.”
It’s also true. He did break up with her, but it was about six, seven months before Samardzija met with Sveum.
“Like I said, I wanted to let [Sveum] know and let the staff know I was all in with this team and I wasn’t going to have any distractions on the outside and I was commited to being the guy they needed me to be for this team,” Samardzija said.
— Carrie Muskat