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[Ed. – The following is a guest post from a reader and Chicago Cubs fan, Ankur Roy, who has a different take on where things stand with respect to the new man in charge, Theo Epstein. You may have heard me saying things similar to number three below. It’s not something I want to feel, but it lingers there in the back of my mind, nonetheless.]

Like all Cubs fans, I was ecstatic when the Cubs were able to pry Theo away from the cold dying hands of Larry Lucchino and John Henry. Well, maybe pry isn’t the right word. Either way, it was sheer joy and I remember texting all my fellow Cubs fans in celebration. Amongst the return celebratory texts, I received a reply from a jaded, old Cubs fan and friend. It read, simply, “I hate you.” That reply could have been him simply expressing his pent up emotion towards me, but I decided that he was really angry about my pleasure with the Theo hiring.

I pondered the text for a few days, and a thought kept gnawing at me. Maybe, I should hate me too. Maybe I was the dumbass for basking in the majesty that is Theo. So, the cynical, jilted Cubs fan that I am, I had to introspect. There’s quite a few of us out there now and the days of the “Lovable Losers” (god, I hated that) are long gone. As I delved deeper into the broken psyche of a Cubs fan, I realized that there are a number of reasons that left me uneasy about Theo.

1.) Look, I’m going to be very frank about my relationship with the Cubs. I’ll repeat, it’s jaded. I love them so much that I hate them. So, I realized really quickly that maybe I shouldn’t be elated by Theo. Wasn’t this the exact same feeling I had when Sweet Lou came out of the booth to the dugout? The man had won one World Series as a manager. One. And yet I thought he was the final piece. Wasn’t I one of the many yelling “In Dusty We Trusty”? The same Dusty that single-handedly cost the Giants the 2007 World Series? The man that was directly responsible for Dr. James Andrews’ wealth? How about when the Cubs hired the wunderkind, Andy MacPhail? Heck, we can go all the way back to Dallas Green and his “Building a New Tradition.” The point is, I’d been down this sadistic road before. It leads to nowhere. And my newfound awakening was asking if I wanted Theo to lead me there again.

2.) The jaded relationship could explain some of my apprehension, but it couldn’t explain all of it. No, there had to be something more. As I delved deeper, I realized that there was some intellectual jealousy. Look, I know some very smart people. In fact, I consider myself to be a very smart person. So, then, why should I put someone like Theo in such an exalted position? I mean, Theo’s very smart. But, there are thousands of very smart people out there. More narrowly, there are hundreds of people within MLB right now that are every bit as smart as Theo. Why should Theo get all this credit? Theo would be the first to tell you that randomness had more to do with his current life than any skill that he brought to the table. Would we even be talking about Theo had David Ortiz not hit the walk-off in Game 5? Randomness effects all walks of life, but even the most novice of sabremetricians can tell you, randomness is the silent siren of baseball. It draws in many a fan and owner without us even knowing. Could Theo be Theo because of sheer luck?

3.) Now we’re getting somewhere. This self diagnosed therapy session is really helping me out. So, I’ve begun to make sense of why my friend hates me, but there has to be more. And there is. It’s simple resentment. The more I thought about the Cubs winning the World Series, the more I realized that it will be every bit about Theo as it is about the Cubs. The man who brought world championships to two cursed (I curse at curses) franchises. The man who was able to conquer the Bambino and the Goat. You know what? I don’t want that. And I’m not afraid to say it. For as long as I have been a Cubs fan, and as long as we have suffered as Cubs fans, I don’t want our World Series to be about Theo. It’s about us, the Cubs. Look, Theo has every right to his legacy and I hope beyond hope he achieves part of it in Chicago with a Cubs World Series win, but I do not want it to overshadow how much more important it is to the Chicago Cubs and Cubs fans like us.

4.) Lest I start getting my Andy Rooney on, let me stop bitching. But, before I stop, I do have one more quibble. THEO? What has Theo done to deserve being called just Theo? He may have some accomplishments under his belt in Boston, but nothing in Chicago. So, why the honor of just being called by his first name? We are Chicago sports fans and we don’t just hand out that honor. There’s Michael, there’s Walter, and there will be Derrick. Hell, even Ryne and Andre were called Ryno and the Hawk. So, I ask, is Theo already worthy of being just Theo?

As I reread what I just wrote, it’s obvious that many of my points just sound bitter. Well, that’s because I am. I’ve been a Cubs fan since 1984 (great time to hop on the wagon – I never could have predicted the sustained pain that was to be inflicted on me). I’ve seen Garvey mash, I’ve seen Will the Thrill kill, and I’ve seen Alex Gonzalez bobble (I refuse to acknowledge that Bartman had even a minuscule role to play in 2003). So, forgive me if my initial elation has turned to apprehension. But, I’ll tell you this, Theo: you bring a World Series champion to Chicago and I will call you Daddy.

Ankur Roy is fanatical about the Chicago Cubs, but doesn’t want to be defined as such (except when he’s doing the defining). He has written previously at www.ankurroy.com, and you can find him on Twitter @ajroy.

  • Henry J

    I don’t care what anyone says……….Bud Selig screwed every cubs fan when he wouldn’t sell the team to Mark Cuban with no Salary cap Mark would have bought Pujols,Darvish,Burly and Wilson and would have resigned Ramirez to play 3b and the cubs would have won a WS………Bud doesn’t want to be questioned because he runs the MLB like he is a god and he knew that cuban would call him on his BS………Ricketts is a Liar or don’t know baseball………..The Cubs have tons of Money and they couldve gotten every big free agent this year and last year………..They won’t because most of my fellow cubs fans are stupid……….Yes I called ya stupid because you show up to wrigley and you put up with the crap the front offices does……..I stated before the Cubs owe us fans a Series Championship..we do not owe them……..That means to spend money……..No Team of young talent wins a Series in this day and age,yes it’s a nice dream that could happen but it doesn’t………..Ricketts is either greedy or epstien and hoyer are incompitent and all 3 need to be ran out of town by a Posse …………the Cubs Fans have waited for over a 100 yrs for a championship and we deserve better and when you continuesly lie to us and play games……….You can call it crazy…..I call it sports……….If Ricketts and company don’t spend any money on a Big Free Agent I think every fan should boycot opening day at wrigley and all fans should burn all there Cubs stuff in front of wrigley………That would make the ownership wake up because it’s never been done…….But thats to much like a statement and I must admit that I don’t like most cubs fans because I watched when the majority of you blamed Bartman when it was clearly Gonzo’s fault ………… no body ran of the field and beat his ass but you wanted to blame a nerd………and thats the real reason we got Ricketts is because we are being punished by God for you idiots acting like that…………Thanks alot you F%$kin Idiots………

    • Stinky Pete

      Welcome to the board!!  =-)

    • Bluekoolaidaholic

      Why don’t you just come right out and say how you REALLY feel about it??
      hahahaha

    • Ian Afterbirth

      My goodness – a breath of fresh air after all these other annoyingly thoughtful, respectful, and correctly-spelled posts!

      The rest of you are a bunch of over-educated, hoity-toity, PBS-watching, spelling bee-attending, University of Chicago-attending, Prius drivers!

      Y’all probably even watch Godard films without the subtitles in the off season while you sip white wine spritzers and nibble on wasabi-encrusted goat cheese-stuffed bon bons!

      There. I said it.

      • JasonB

        Now hold on just one second – I went to Northwestern, not UofC.

        • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

          I almost said Northwestern instead of the U of C.

      • Wilbur

        You didn’t say much …

      • hardtop

        dude, those bon bons sound scrumptious. i went to ia state, but i doubt you’re counting me among the thoughtful and respectful. it certainly has become a lot more “technical” around here lately; which is good… i think?. im smarter, but more disgruntled than ever before.

    • SweetJamesJones

      Not sure if serious?

      Jesus. I cant believe I read that entire rant.

      Did you ever learn English in high school? Ugh.

    • NyN

      Does anyone have a good recipe for some brownies

      • BetterNews

        I’m there are a few here.(LOL)

    • Ankur

      W-T-F?

  • Elwood

    Are some of you serious?!?!?! Putting parameters around the Cubs winning a World Series (I want it to be about the Cubs, not Theo, wahhh!!!) is utterly ridiculous. Friggin’ win, and that’s all any of us should care about. I don’t care if Theo signs Rue Paul to play 3B, if the Cubs win the World Series I am kissing the ground Theo walks on!!! Did I just refer to Rue Paul?????

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      RuPaul’s BABIP was unusually low last year. Could be a good bounce back candidate.

      • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

        I’m on board. He’d be a defensive upgrade over Ramirez.

        • Bluekoolaidaholic

          The batboy is a defensive upgrade from Ramirez.

          • SirCub

            Yea, but I heard he is looking for a longterm deal. RuPaul seems the better fit.

        • Elwood

          Are we certain it’s a “HE”?? Who cares, as long as they can field a grounder….

      • Wilbur

        If he/she would improve the Cubs I’d sign him, her, it?

  • Jason

    Someone other than you will get credit for the cubs winning the world series. So who cares if it’s theo. All that matter is the cubs winning the freaking thing.

  • Todd

    Good read. Whether agreeing with the author’s sentiments or not, it does give a nice look into some of the trepidations experienced by fans after the Theo hiring. I’m 31 and #1 highlights some of the same feelings I have toward Cubs. Past failures give me pause when opening up my heart to this next chapter in Cubs history. For me, however, the difference between the examples in #1 and now, is my baseball IQ.

    In the past, mainstream media was my only source of Cubs information, and, therefore, I was only able to judge the Cubs at face value. I didn’t understand the business of baseball. I was a fan, like many others, who believed the Cubs should win at all costs when presented with the opportunity. Damn the farm system or future payroll flexibility. Go all in, and, like Donnie Brasco says, “fuckin’ fuggetaboutit.”

    But now I know better, and I owe it to maturity, and to websites like BN. I’m a fan of the process now. The only thing I want from the Cubs is a sound decision-making process. This brings me to point #2, and why I disagree with the author.

    I believe in Theo because I believe in his process of building a consistent winner. There will always be windows of opportunity for winning championships that open and close, but they should last longer than a year or two. True, there are many intelligent baseball people, but it takes more than intelligence to overcome the pressure to win a World Series with the Cubs. It takes courage. Courage to stay the course in the face enormous pressure to win at all costs. McPhail and Hendry were intelligent baseball guys, but they didn’t have this quality.

    So, that’s why I’m opening up my heart to the Cubs again. And you know what? It feels good. It feels good because they’re my favorite team, and I like what they’re doing. I like Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein because they’ve both shown the ability to make sound decisions in the face media scrutiny. I think this chapter in Cubs history will end well.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Good stuff, Todd.

    • Ankur

      Todd that was an awesome comment. I agree, especially, that Theo deserves a shot to be “loved” because of his past success. In fact, I am ecstatic that Theo and the Cubs are one. I can honestly say that there is nobody else in professional baseball that I would want running my Cubs.

      Also, agree that Theo has proven quite a bit with his past process. One of the first things I noticed about Theo was his discussion of the process during the intro press conference. It felt great to hear that from OUR baseball guy. People don’t talk about that enough in baseball. It’s a multi-variate, complicated, dynamic system and always has been. So, without process, you die.

  • no longer a fan of bs or bs as it should be called

    I dont look at this site to read your turd buddies horseshit. go [hug] yourselves.

    [Ed. – I hate editing comments, especially those ripping on me (it looks bad), but there’s a line on the language thing.]

    • Cubsfankevin

      thanks for stopping by!

    • SirCub

      [I am] Not  a fan of this vulgar language [hugging] or vulgar language [hugging] as it should be called.

    • BetterNews

      Gonna miss you and your “incredible” vocabulary!

    • The Other Matt

      When did White Sox fan start coming to BN?

    • Bluekoolaidaholic

      The Cardinals have a website for guys just like you, no longer a fan,
      See Ya!

    • BetterNews

      Get your dog’s turds off my lawn before you leave and get rid of all the trash you’ve been collecting. Good riddance.

  • Cubsfankevin

    in ballparks this Spring………………….the wait almost killed them…………….the Nippon Ham Fighters present……………..”Waiting on Darvish”

  • Coal

    It may not happen, but we’ve clearly improved our odds over any regime in the last 2 decades. Theo is a clear upgrade over Hendry, and every move Ricketts has made suggests he’s serious about getting the Cubs to the World Series. It’s that simple.

  • Wilbur

    I can’t offer any solace to those of you filled with angst over this or fear of that (it may correlate with an obsessive or controlling personality), but only your loved one’s or trained professionals can help you there. I can only say get some focus and don’t sweat the small stuff …

    A guy named Theo Epstein (please feel free to call him what you wish, calling him cute names doesn’t mean anything other than you’re excited about the potential of the situation) was hired to both improve and increase the level of professional management for the Cubs. I think he will be eminently successful, and over time his management team’s success will translate into consistently better baseball and consistent (not guaranteed appearances, just relatively more frequent than Hendry experienced) trips to the playoffs.

    At that point its all up for grabs and the chaos that is the universe and randomness that is at the heart of every sabrmetric calculation kicks in and its just baseball … sit back, grab a beer, and literally just hope for best,

    • Todd

      Well said, and I completely agree.

  • rocky8263

    First off, you yuts as in “two yuts” are too damn smart. Having finished college 30 years ago I have a hard time following the grammer stuff. I may of mentioned this before, during a conversation with T.Ricketts at Woods fundraiser I expressed optimism and told him most fans would be patient for a winner. T.R. shook his head telling me a winner was in fact possible sooner rather than later. I walked away thinking he was either drunk on his own kool aid or planning something big. I think about this encounter every time I read BN.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I hope it was the latter.

  • ty

    Most of us really do welcome our new Boston friends to cubdom but let us not be fooled by theo boyish face and innocent eyes. those winning Boston clubs were dirty as hell with medicated players. HOW about Manny Ramirez–Johnny Damon whose wife ran out of court screaming about his steroid use-Nomar who was built like superman under that thin facial look until body parts started falling off when he tried to run out of a batters box-several players who had a season that was hard to explain when you view their careers-not to forget old Curt Schilling who had Hydrocortisone 100 mg. injected intra-articularly into a ankle so much that it ozzed all over his sock and he pitched lights out–talk your local Doc into one of those shots for an ailment and you will not sleep for a week and will acccomplish heroic deeds around the house and at the job. Add on those big headed position players at that time–no–acromegaly is not contagious–..Equipment managers had to order new caps every month and remember how those helmets used to fall of most of those boston guys when they ran the bases. Come on Theo-come on

  • Cubsfankevin

    one simple reason(among others) i was excited because of Theo’s arrival: pitches per at bat mean something to him. As long as i can remember the Cubs do not groom players or have not drafted/signed players to work counts all that well. in 2008 the offense was great. it almost seemed like Fukudome’s patience was contagious.  i look forward to the years to come when players coming though the system are able to get a BB.

    Now the Cubs are under a Theocracy.

  • die hard

    Origin and Meaning of the Name Theo

    Gender: Boy

    Origin: Greek

    Meaning: Gift of God

    Enuf said!!!

    • Ron

      Is this an imposter?

      • die hard

        nope…not an imposter….a poster…me

  • NyN

    I mean honestly, I do not give two craps if Theo Epstein gets the credit for us winning the World Series. Would it be better to not win the WS than to have Theo Epstein get the credit. Have we lost for so long that this is what it has come down to.

    • Ankur

      I don’t understand this “credit” argument. In fact, I would say that when the Cubs win the World Series under Theo Epstein, he SHOULD get the bulk of the credit.

      My article was meant as a pause about the whole “Theo” thing. It was meant to look at the now and was meant to remind me to hold back some of my adoration until he earns the credit.

  • Pat

    To some degree I agree. It could just be another example of selling hope to the dopes.

    Let’s face it, Theo at 3.5 mil a year is a hell of a lot cheaper than signing a big name free agent, and it keeps a fair number of the season ticket holders hanging around for at least another couple of years fearing they may bail out too early. It’s the classic bad gambler’s fault, thinking about what is already in the pot, rather than the ROI of the next bet.

    That said, I have no doubt Theo is smarter than anyone the Cubs have had in the front office in quite some time. For that to translate to a title though, involves an incredible amount of luck as well. Still, better decisions mean a better chance of winning. But have we been sold cheap hope before? Sure. Jaramillo, Pinella, Baker, Baylor, etc.

    I know Brett is a fan of the Ricketts, but I’ve yet to see anything to make me believe he is anything more than a member of the lucky sperm club. Until I see more from him (and Theo), I’ll remain skeptical but hopeful.

  • kubphan82

    I have and will continue to have unabashed faith in my fanaticism that is the Cubs. I will root the Hell out of my Cubs. Do I own the Cubs? No. But as much effort as I place in following the team I feel a part of the team, every Cub fan has invested years into this club. If Theo builds a winner in Chicago, then FINALLY someone did. No matter who constructs the WS winner they would be a side story after as much turmoil as the Cubs have suffered. I actually look forward to reading about the Cubs WS/Theo “David not Goliath” Epstein. I will never have the cynicism that makes me hate my decision to love the Cubs.

    Theo is the next chapter in the Cubs script. We can find things we like and don’t like about the man, it’s natural to size people up. I will spend my days rooting for the man who now represents the Cubs best chance at a WS in my lifetime. He will fall under scrutiny, even with me… I’m excited for this next chapter (Theo as Prez, Jed as GM) because it looks better than the last chapter (Hendry, more playoff appearances in my lifetime than anyone), which was better than the chapter before (McFail)…

  • FromFenwayPahk

    I think I can help out with Ankur Roy’s #3. I’ve got perspective here. A) I’ve been lurking here at BN since October (Brett, great work) because I’ve become a fan of Theo. B) Boston’s success was built on a rabid fan base: a park/field full of fans who know the game. (If you don’t know the difference, go to a Diamondback’s home game.); people willing to pony-up while being merchandised to (you’ll know you’ve saturated this market when the “pink hats” get under the skin of traditionalists); and TV dollars (you’re going to need some more of these). C) Theo and his people will understand this. These aren’t his Cubs. These are The City’s.

    Ankur Roy, when you say “It’s about us, the Cubs” how are you defining “us”? How many years, games, (suffering?) does a fan have to feel kinship with before he is one of your “us”? I am just a visitor here. I’m not one of you. But, I have felt Wrigley Field (once). It was fantastic, but very different from home. I have watched a lot of baseball back here in our bandbox (regularly since the sixties). I know that “You” are a unique nation, but there is much we share.

    Let’s share this, too: an appreciation for fine scholarship and management, an appreciation for what Theo is going to try to do. The team that is going to need your support has always had it anyways. Prepare to be appreciated back. It feels great, and you are going to love it.

    I’ve been waiting for a National League team to root for a long time. I hope you don’t mind.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks for the perspective, FFP. Even if you’re not one of “us” with respect to the Cubs, you can be one “us” with respect to Bleacher Nation.

      /cheese-ball comment

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