When we last left Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein, the Cubs were in last place, and the talk was patience. And now … the Cubs are in last place. And the talk is patience.
Well, being a Cubs fan is the very definition of the word “patience” isn’t it?
“The toughest thing,” Epstein says, “is that fans here feel -- and they’re right to feel this way -- they feel like they’ve already been through enough. So they are saying: ‘Why are you ACTIVELY putting us through more of this?’ And I don’t have an answer for that except that we think it’s the only way we’re going to win.”
Well the Cubs plan IS coming into focus, and it IS exciting, and it IS going to take more time. This is the harsh reality. When Epstein became the Boston Red Sox general manager in late 2002, he was given a team on the brink of doing remarkable things. A few tweaks, some smart acquisitions, a little bit of luck and the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. Then, some excellent drafting, a few more tweaks, a little more luck, the Red Sox won their second World Series three years later.
It was heady stuff for a young guy who grew up in Boston, but say this for Epstein: He didn’t really fall for his own hype. When he took over the Cubs job, he made it as clear as he possibly could that there he was no miracle worker and he could see no easy or quick fixes. He saw in the Cubs an expensive team that lost 90 games, a minor league system without much talent and a star, Starlin Castro, who could not stop himself from swinging at bad pitches.
In other words, he saw an intense and long rebuilding project.