The former Red Sox boss met with the Second City media today and dropped the kind of science we have come to expect from the architect of one of baseball’s best run teams (right up until it wasn’t any more.)
While offering the standard boiler plate on the value of tradition and the importance of winning, Epstein made some interesting comments (via Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune) on what constitutes his version of “the Cubs Way”
He spoke of building a strong farm system and changing the culture of the franchise, saying, “We will define and implement a ‘Cubs way.’ ”
Epstein said the “Cubs way” would include such things as distributing manuals for how all defensive positions should be played.
Very, very interesting. Considering Ryan Theriot played 609 games for the Chicago Cubs, this is a new policy on the North Side.
After touching on any number of other issues, Theo Epstein assuaged the fears of any Cubs fans concerned the team hired a drooling moron.
“I don’t believe in curses, (and) I guess I played a small part in proving they don’t exist, from a baseball standpoint,” he said to reporters after not being asked that question in the public portion of the interview. “I do think we can be honest and upfront that certain organizations haven’t gotten the job done. That’s the approach we took in Boston. We identified certain things that we hadn’t been doing well, that might have gotten in the way of (winning) a World Series, and eradicated them. That’s what we’ll do here.”
Waitwaitwait, making your team better helps you win more than demon-exorcizing rituals? Shocking stuff.
And how does one improve their team? Not as simple as just writing a big check, Theo assured the assembled Cubs writers and Chicago media, most of whom quietly cancelled their PUJOLS 5 Cubs custom shirsey orders.
“I’m not going to comment on anybody in particular,’’ Epstein told a group of reporters after the formal news conference broke up. “The impact free agents, the long-term commitments, there’s a time and a place for those type of commitments. But you have to understand the time and place. It’s also important you understand the player.
“Baseball players have a prime age, an age starting at 26, 27, usually until about 31, 32,” Epstein said. “You get the best production, the best bang for your buck with players (in that prime). Of course, the club we have will have a diversified roster. … Ideally, you’ll have most of your players in their prime, hopefully homegrown.’
It was a typically strong performance from Epstein, showing his intelligence and competence to a fanbase largely unaccustomed to said characteristics.
Epstein’s every move and utterance is under the microscope this week as he transitions to his new role. Recent reports detail a lunch with his new staff in which Theo asked, nay, DEMANDED, each staffer sing the fight song of their respective alma matters. Like a good leader, Epstein then stood and belted out a verse of the Yale fight song which, I believe, is Diamonds from Sierra Leone by Kayne West.