Theo Epstein has been dropping bombs lately, but, at the risk of gushing, I won’t go into an extensive preamble about how great the Cubs’ plan for a rookie development program are.

Instead, I’ll just quote the man.

“When you have a lot of young players at the big-league level,” Epstein said, “often times you forget just how new they are to this whole thing -– professional baseball, the responsibility that comes with it, the importance of representing the organization the right way (and) being a good teammate.

“Organizations that just assume that they’ll figure it out on their own make a big mistake,” he said. “[We’re going to] teach them what’s it’s like to be a big-leaguer, set the expectations for them and give them tools on how to meet those expectations, everything from how to deal with the media to how to say ‘no’ to people off-the-field that want things from them.

“[It’s] how to properly handle themselves in the hotel or out on the town,” he said. “It’s an important part. You can’t make assumptions that guys know how to handle themselves. You need to work with them. You want an organization that projects the right image.

“To make a positive impact on the community, you have to work to get it. The players are the ones who are going to dictate how that goes. We need to support them every step of the way.”

This isn’t necessarily ground-breaking stuff, but, until Tom Ricketts came around, it isn’t something we’ve heard much about in the Cubs’ organization. I suppose that’s the other reason I won’t gush over Epstein here – the player development program is, I believe, Ricketts’ baby. But he’s relying on Epstein to implement it.

In part, I think the program speaks to the increased importance the new administration places on homegrown talent (the assumption being that there will be more internal rookies coming up to Chicago to teach), but, obviously, the greatest goal here is to ensure that Cubs players are the kind of people that kids can look up to. That we can all look up to.



Is there some cheesiness there? Sure. But I’m fine with it.




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