CHICAGO – He played on arguably the biggest stage in the last decade in Major League Baseball, performing at the highest level in front of thousands of fans.
But the pressure Javier Baez felt in a desert area outside of Phoenix this Spring Training rivaled any kind of nerves the infielder might have faced during the 2016 World Series.
There was the Cubs star posing in the nude for both still and video cameras, taking part in a shoot for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue.” Needless to say, it was quite a nerve-racking experience for the
“At first when I got there, when I did it in Spring Training, I was nervous because obviously being naked around people,” said Baez. “I had my girl there, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law. It was really weird at first but then it was very professional.”
Baez spoke about the experience after ESPN released some of the photos and some video of the shoot with Baez for the upcoming magazine. The entire issue will debut online on July 5th and appear in print on newsstands on July 7th.
Baez will grace one of the regional covers of the magazine, just as Arreita did in 2016. He hadn’t had a chance to see the photographs until the public did on Tuesday, a couple hours before the Cubs’ victory over the Padres at Wrigley Field.
“It’s been everywhere,” said Baez of the pictures, which he didn’t know that they would be released on Tuesday.
Approached about doing the shoot after the team’s World Series championship last November, Baez first went to Arrieta to get an idea of what might be ahead of him for the shoot.
“He told me that it was really cool,” said Baez of Arrieta’s description of the “Body Issue” photo session. “Same thing, he got nervous then everything was fine.”
Now that everyone – his teammates and family – have seen the pictures, what have they told him about it?
“They’re going to be on my side. They like it, everybody like it,” said Baez. “There’s a few people that don’t but, you know, I can’t do anything about it.”
At least the pressure didn’t get to Javier, in the World Series or during a photo shoot in the desert.