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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.

  • Fishin Phil

    Should have been done many years ago.  Kudos to Ricketts and the gang for finally getting it implemented.

  • MontelleW

    I have to agree with the puppet! Oh, and Kudos to Ricketts and the gang too! LOL

  • Tommy

    That is no doubt more important than plate discipline!

    • cls

      Wasn’t aware it was a “one-or-the-other” thing…

      • Tommy

        wasn’t aware anyone said it was.

  • ncsujuri

    Crash: “Take them one day at a time”

    Nuke: “These are boring…”

    Crash: “I know, that’s why they are cliches, WRITE IT DOWN”

  • John Breslin

    Very cool. We want the Cubs to be an organization we can respect, and this is another sign that they are intent on earning that. It is interesting to see the contrast with the public perception of the Bears right now. How often is it that the Cubs are making the Bears look inept?

    • Edwin

      Most of the time it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Cheryl

    As a former reporter I often came across young adults who had no knowledge of what the rules were in dealing with the media. There were two things that I alerted them to – 1) That they didn’t need to answer all questions and could state that a response could be off the record, but they must state that it is off the record before responding; and 2) That if they did not wish to have a conversation or interview recorded they could say so. I felt it was my responsibility to make sure that they understood this. By informing them, I often had people request that I be the one person they would talk to during an interview. This made for a better relationship with the media. This is a good move by Theo and the Ricketts. It will pay dividends in the long run.

  • Dave H

    This made me feel real good to be a Cub fan. Ricketts and Co. are working very hard to make this a true class act in MLB. Congrats to everyone over there on the Northside.

  • Cubsin

    Even mediocre or downright bad teams can benefit from players who can deal with the media, manage their public image and contribute to their community. It may or may not lead to more wins, but it will certainly result in fewer image problems for the team and its players, and will strengthen the fan base.

  • Demand a Winner

    We need a championship first and foremost before this nonsense. This sounds all good but Theo needs to get championship caliber players this is not a triple a ball club this is the majors but he is acting like this is all the cubs will ever have…it is just sad to see the cubs this far gone and people dreaming instead of going after facts but you people will learn… people in Oakland thought bean was the answer but he hasn’t won shit and neither will epstien unless he spends money on big name winners.

    • Rick Vaughn

      …yawn…

    • ferrets_bueller

      Why hello, Mr.  Hendry.  So nice of you to join our board.

  • Jesse

    Demand a winner: Are you serious? Do you want them to go out and sign Fielder just for the fun of it? Theo has completely and totally made this team young and hungry in the matter of a couple of months. Are we going to win this year, probably not. Are we going to have a solid team with sustained success moving forward, absolutely!

    • BetterNews

      I don’t see the Cubs being as bad as a lot of people seem to believe. Our corner infielders do raise a couple of flags but provided Garza is still around(Which I truly believe he will be) the Cubs will have a better pitching rotation. If Soto rebounds and Soriano has a good year(two big if’s) the year could prove surprising. I don’t see the the 2012 team 20 games under .500 as last year.

      • Fishin Phil

        Who are you? And what have you done with BetterNews???

        • BetterNews

          Haha.

  • auggie1955

    Yeah, I got a laugh out of that one. I know Bill Buckner has been brought in as a hitting coach at Boise, but has there been other changes to the coaching staffs on the Cubs minor league teams?

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