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Peavy strikes bond with NEEDTOBREATHE

Free-agent pitcher, band share fond love of game, music
MLB.com @DougMillerMLB

Jake Peavy is no stranger to hardball, which has gotten the veteran Major League pitcher very far. Now he's seeing where music might take him, and "Hard Love" is another step along the way.

The right-hander, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2007 while with the San Diego Padres and a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in '13, last pitched for the San Francisco Giants in '16. All the while, he has been honing his guitar, singing and songwriting skills in his off time as he prepares for life beyond the game he's always loved.

Jake Peavy is no stranger to hardball, which has gotten the veteran Major League pitcher very far. Now he's seeing where music might take him, and "Hard Love" is another step along the way.

The right-hander, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2007 while with the San Diego Padres and a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in '13, last pitched for the San Francisco Giants in '16. All the while, he has been honing his guitar, singing and songwriting skills in his off time as he prepares for life beyond the game he's always loved.

Watch: Youtube Video

Complete coverage: NEEDTOBREATHE

MLB Network and MLB.com caught up with Peavy and his good friends, the rock band NEEDTOBREATHE, during some offseason hours at Peavy's sprawling Alabama compound, Southern Falls Plantation. There, Peavy took his buddies out onto the patio, where they collaborated on a very special live version of NEEDTOBREATHE's song "Hard Love," the title track off their latest hit album.

The result was a long, fruitful and meaningful day of music and baseball and reflection that has been recorded for posterity and broadcast on MLB Network and in a docuseries at MLB.com/e.

"I love every part of music," Peavy said. "Music is a huge passion of mine. I'm as passionate about music as I am about baseball. Baseball is my first love and it's what I know and it's what I'll do until I can't do it anymore, and I'm still hungry to do that."

As he explains in the video -- Peavy, who picked up guitar over the past decade while on the road with the Padres, White Sox, Red Sox and Giants -- first got into NEEDTOBREATHE during Boston's stirring run to a World Series title in 2013. He'd blast the song "The Outsiders" in the clubhouse and the players would sing along, using the lyrics to fuel an "us against them" attitude that helped them march through October.

Video: WS2013 Gm3: Peavy holds Cards to two runs over four

"If we stop sinking, could we stand our ground?" the band sings. "And through everything we've learned/we've finally come to terms/we are the outsiders .... I'm not leaving without a fight."

The Red Sox lived up to those lyrics, fighting back from a 2-1 deficit to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, particularly a devastating Game 3 defeat that ended on a controversial call at home plate.

Video: WS2013 Gm3: Cardinals walk off on obstruction call

"We sat in the hotel and played music in the lobby and had a gathering that wasn't too out of control, but a gathering of like-minded people," Peavy said. "We let the music once again take us away. ... It changed the tide and a lot of our spirits that night, and we were able to win out."

Meanwhile, NEEDTOBREATHE was on tour and looking for a way into a World Series game. A few hours later, via a desperation plea on Twitter, Peavy's brother, Luke, had hooked up the band and a friendship was made.

"I wish that everyone could appreciate music the way Jake does, because his love for it is so deep," said Seth Bolt, NEEDTOBREATHE's bassist. "He'll tell stories about it for hours, about concerts he's been to, his favorite moment, and he's got really cool stuff, too."

Video: Rinehart throws White Sox first pitch

Plenty of that stuff is visible on Peavy's video tour of his spectacular Southern Falls grounds. He's got a music studio with guitars and psychedelic rock posters lining the walls, he's got a baseball field with a replica Fenway Park wall featuring the scoreboard with exact details of the Red Sox's Game 6 triumph in that unforgettable Fall Classic, and he's got the Boston duck boat that he bought after the triumphant ticker-tape parade.

The NEEDTOBREATHE brothers soaked it all in on a glorious day captured in the video. Peavy pitched to them, they played licks for him, and when the sun was going down overlooking the plantation, they all plugged in their instruments and sang "Hard Love" with conviction.

Peavy played rhythm guitar and took a vocal solo before the bridge. It was a day all the guys wouldn't soon forget.

"Music does something to me that's hard to explain," Peavy said. "To do that at our place here at Southern Falls with such good friends ... today was a full day."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.

Jake Peavy