Friday, October 28, 2011

Here's Looking To You, Kid

Of all the baseball parks, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into ours. About time.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Cubs introduced Theo Epstein as the guy to fix the organization. He gave a masterful press conference answering most of the questions posed smartly and professionally. Others, ones that related to specific actions he would take in the near term, he deferred deftly and appropriately. In short, not even the most jaded of Cubs fans could listen to Theo and not feel confidence that this 38 year old has the ability to modernize this baseball organization. It was a memorable debut. I remember every detail. The Cubs wore blue, Theo wore gray.

What was the most exciting thing to hear was the focus on development. Scouting will be based on a foundation of metrics, not just a round up of the usual prospects. How refreshing.

Theo and his staff have a ton of work ahead of them. He, new GM Jed Hoyer, and new scouting and player development director Jason McLeod will be shocked, shocked to find baseball mismanagement going on here. They are going to probably have to hire all new minor league scouts and coaches. One hopes the focus on fundamentals will lead to fans being able to watch good, solid, consistent play.

What is also hoped is that the Cub fans will give Theo's team a chance to really build this from a weak team into a strong organization. If you listened closely we were told that there will be no quick fixes. There will be no Prince Fielders or C.J. Wilsons or Albert Pujols in the near future. Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano may end up in other uniforms sooner rather than later. It will be a tough slog for a few years. But, as time goes by, this will change. The plan is for the "Cub Way" to represent consistency and quality rather than another new way to lose.

Welcome to Chicago, Theo. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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