Why This Miami-Born Baseball Player Left The Major Leagues To Make Movies

Mar 7, 2018

Adrian Cardenas was once a second baseman for the Chicago Cubs. He gave up baseball to become a full-time writer and filmmaker.
Credit A. Cardenas

Imagine being a professional athlete and hearing -- on a pretty regular basis -- the cheers of thousands of sports fans in countless stadiums.

Now imagine, simply walking off the field to pursue another dream, one that’s fraught with constant rejection and no guarantee of success.

That’s exactly what 30-year-old Adrian Cardenas did. The one-time second baseman for the Chicago Cubs left his life as a major league baseball player in 2012 to embark on a career as a writer and filmmaker.

And now, he’s one of the finalists in a short film competition hosted by the Miami Film Festival, which kicks off its 35th anniversary edition on March 9th.

Cardenas, who grew up in Hialeah and Miami Lakes, is the son of what he describes as a “liberal, vegetarian, Democratic Cuban family.”

His mother and father, while supportive of an athletic talent that became evident in his childhood (Cardenas was a first-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies straight out of high school), were more interested in the arts than sports. They encouraged Cardenas to excel scholastically and also in his study of classical piano.

During his 2012 Chicago Cubs season, Cardenas had 67 plate appearances in 45 games. But throughout that time, he felt an insatiable desire to take his education further. Before long, he was splitting his time between the two worlds of professional sports and academics. In the spring and summer, he played ball; in the fall, he studied creative writing and philosophy at New York University. 

“I would say what ultimately drove me away from baseball was my desire to dedicate most of my time to learning and expressing myself artistically,” says Cardenas, “eventually, of course, through the medium of film.”

Below is the trailer for Cardenas’ short film, “Canoe Poems.”

The Miami Film Festival, which for 15 years has been run by Miami Dade College, will screen 148 feature movies, documentaries and short films of all genres, from 50 different countries.

If you go:

The 35th Miami Film Festival

March 9 – 18, 2018

At venues throughout Miami-Dade.

For more information, please visit Miami Film Festival.com