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theo epstein thinkingThere are few better long-form sports writers out there than the suddenly well-travelled Joe Posnanski (who currently writes for NBC Sports, which has a content deal with CSN, which is where his latest piece appears). Actually, are there any better ones?

So, when Posnanski writes a long, thoughtful profile of Theo Epstein … well, you are commanded to take 10 minutes and read it.

It’s hard to even take a sliver to quote, which can appropriately reflect the whole and incentivize you to read it, but I’ll try:

This is a different kind of book. Epstein believes deeply in it. “The Cubs Way” was co-written by, well, pretty much everybody around here — all the managers and coaches and instructors and front office people in the Cubs organization. They gathered together for days and put it together. The book details the direction for the Cubs in every facet of the game — hitting, bunting, infield defense, outfield defense, pitching, strength and conditioning, everything you could imagine.

It was written with great care. At one point, there was a two-hour argument about whether the runner, when rounding first base, should touch the bag with his left or right foot. Many around baseball think left. The Cubs — because this is Theo’s team — went through a painstaking surveying process, where they decided that the distance is actually a little bit shorter if you touch the base with the right foot. So touching first base with the right foot is now part of The Cubs Way.

“I’ll tell about one of my best days of the year last year,” Epstein says. “I was walking on the field of our instructional league. We had our new farm director, our new field coordinator, our coaches, our young players, the energy they were putting out was off the charts. We had a talented group of young players who were clearly proud to be Cubs, who cared for each other, who were playing hard after a long season, pulling for each other, competing with each other.”

Epstein slaps down again on “The Cubs Way.”

“I walked off that field,” he continues, “thinking we’re definitely heading in the right direction.”

He smiles a little bit. “But,” he says, “when you are trying to build an organization the right way, moments like that are fleeting.”

For those who’ve followed Chicago Cubs baseball closely over the past two years, there won’t be much in the article that surprises or informs you. But it’s a well-written, pleasant reminder of what these guys are trying to do.

  • twins414

    Can’t wait for other teams to say “We need to do it The Cubs Way!”

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      There was really a conversation about what foot should touch first base when rounding the bag??? Seriously?

      That’s almost too hard to believe.

      That’ gold, Jerry…..real gold,

  • Cubbie Blues

    “The book details the direction for the Cubs in every facet of the game — hitting, bunting, infield defense …”
    Chapter 23
    Bunting

    Unless you are a pitcher, Don’t.

    Chapter 24

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Chapter 24 hitting. If you can drive the pitch, take a vicious cut. If you cannot drive the pitch, take it.

      • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

        Doc, you should write your own version of the Cubs Way.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          heh, there is no need: it’s just Earl Weaver sans swearing!

  • CubFan Paul

    Cubs Way. Great. 2 offseasons. non 80 win major league team.

    • roz77

      Patience CubFan Paul. You must have patience.

    • forlines

      I don’t know, just a suggestion, but maybe you might read the article again to see what it’s getting at?

  • Coldneck

    I love Joe Posnanski, but he can seriously fluff. He writes the best feel good fluff articles on the planet.

    • Coldneck

      And I should add that I thoroughly enjoyed that article.

  • hansman1982

    “…should touch the bag with his left or right foot. Many around baseball think left.”

    This has always been one thing that NEVER EVER NEVER NEVER EVER made any sense to me. Why, on God’s green earth, would you want to use your inside foot to round a bag?

    Also, is it just me, or does it seem like most things that the baseball world assumed to be true 10-15-20 years ago, get disproven through thoughtful research?

    • cub2014

      rounding bases: definitely your left foot keeps you
      leaning in towards themound and momentum
      moving towards second would be optimized

      • hansman1982

        I can do the same thing with my right foot and then I have increased leverage to push off the bag towards the next one.

        • arta

          i’m with you Hans……you go to the right of the foul line as you approach first, making the inward turn toward 2B shorter with the right foot. that’s how i did it back in the day! using the left takes you out a little and may cause the right to trip over the bag. using the right you touch the inside of the bag, less chance of tripping.

      • http://none millhah

        I have to respectfully disagree. Using left foot puts you off-balance and negates momentum. Never, ever use left foot.

  • cub2014

    like a pitcher uses the rubber to push off
    against you could get similiar type of push
    off the inside corner of the bag

  • Jono

    Niccce, love me some Theo quotes. Hopefully they can transfer from text on a page to execution on the field. Side note about bunting: why is everyone is baseball so bad at it?

    • Jono

      “….everyone *in* baseball…..”

    • hansman1982

      I don’t think it’s that everyone is bad at it (although, I seriously do hope this is the case), I just think it is that difficult to do (think about it, the thing they practice more than most everything else (hitting) was only successful 40% of the time for one of the greatest hitters ever once.

      Something about a two round objects and you are supposed to square up the ball. (This is a quote stolen from someone and paraphrased)

      • Jono

        I never played professionally, so I never faced the kind of pitching these guys go up against. But when I did play, bunting was the easiest part of the game. I never really practiced, but I could lay down a successful bunt wl over 75% of the time. And I wasn’t a good hitter, either, so it’s not like I was talented or anything. But again, I never faced professional pitchers, so maybe that’s the difference (but at the same time, these are professional hitters, so I’m not sure how much that factors in). Off the top of my head, I’m guessing that the problem is form. Players seem to move their bats with their arms and hands, not their knees. They also hold the bat much differently than I used to. Maybe the way the hold it is better. I don’t know. All I know is that I cringe everytime a professional player can’t lay down a bunt, and it happens way too often

        • Jono

          I’m getting really annoyed with this no-edit-button thing, brett! I refuse to actually take a little more time to proof read my own writing! Those 3 seconds are too valuable (I hope you pick up on the sarcasm)

  • Morken

    Let’s actually finish above .500 before we start making Theo a God.

    Theo can preach about sabermetrics, a new brand of baseball, etc. But the common denominator in any season for which Theo has had success, is major spending. Theo’s teams have always been amongst the highest pay-rolled teams in all of baseball.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Let’s actually finish above .500 before we start making Theo a God.”

      But let’s not wait for anyone to actually deify Theo before we make absurd, hyperbolic statements!

      (Non-sarcastic response: You knee-cap any legitimate point you might make when you preamble it with superfluous, over-the-top rhetoric. If you want folks to actually consider your thoughts, just lead with them. Cut the BS, or at least save it for the end.)

      • Morken

        Enough with the Theo worship, Brett.

        • Jeremy

          Year 2 of a complete re-build. Which means fixing the farm system and continuing the way it should be done, with home grown talent. Did you not read the article where he talks about wanting to do it the “right way”? Look at an organiztaion like the Cards (although I hate to say it) but they are home grown talent that continues to flow to their MLB club. That is what he is trying to replicate.

          Also the article talks about how Theo realizes that spending is not the answer and the investment return is not there..

          No one is making Theo a God quite yet, but we are excited by the fact that he is trying to change the culture of losing and trying to make the Cubs a successful organization through development of our own talent. Something we haven’t seen in this organization in a long time.

          • Morken

            But his MO is spending.

            • Jeremy

              His MO from Boston yes. Where has he spent wildly on FA’s here in Chicago in the past 2 years?

              Year 1 he came in with bloated bad contracts which are not attributed to him. Year 2 I have recalled him signing guys on the cheap. Even Jackson’s contract is not overspending and is decent.

              So far he has concentrated on bringing in draft picks and international players, young talent to build up the farm system, which he has done an outstanding job at since we’ve gone from bottom 5 to top 10.

              Show us examples of his Chicago crazy spending ways. It definitely hasn’t been his MO here. People do change Morken. Now am I saying he won’t have to spend a little to fill in some holes? No. But the goal is to build from within to sustain long term success. That’s his MO in Chicago so far.

              • Morken

                But he hasn’t won here.

                When/if he does, huge sending will be the reason.

                • jdblades

                  Theo is better than what we have had in the past and I like the direction the Cubs are going. He made some mistakes with free agent spending in Boston, and learned from it. Moron oh sorry Morken, If a man with two World Series rings isn’t good enough for you, who is. Quit being a hater.

              • northsiders6

                You are missing the point. He won in Boston because of his excessive spending. Now he is doing it through developing players from within. He has never done it this way so why should we blindly believe it will work?

                • bails17

                  He did win in Boston because of the development from the farm.

                  • brickhouse

                    The 2004 WS team had no player developed from the farm from Theo and the 2nd team had Pedroia, Papelbon and some help from Lester. Thet were very veteran teams that one the WS

                    • hansman1982

                      Theo also “spent” a lot of prospect capital in building the 2007 team.

          • Morken

            Theo’s payrolls, by season:

            2003: 6th highest in baseball
            2004: 2nd highest in baseball
            2005: 2nd highest in baseball
            2006: 2nd highest in baseball
            2007: 2nd highest in baseball
            2008: 4th highest in baseball
            2009: 4th highest in baseball
            2010: 2nd highest in baseball
            2011: 3rd highest in baseball

            • hansman1982

              The 2007 team also was built with 1/3 players from the farm, 1/3 players acquired through trade and 1/3 players through free agency.

              I have had this debate with minds much greater than yours before.

              • Morken

                You’ve had this debate before, and fell on your face.

                I enjoy your ridiculous math.

                • hansman1982

                  Ok, then, prove me wrong with a detailed roster analysis.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                    Let’s not do this again here. You can’t win (and you know why that is).

                    • hansman1982

                      [img]http://mynorthwest.com/emedia/seattle/7/786/78650.jpg?filter=mynw/300wide[/img]???

            • Jeremy

              I asked you to quote me Chicago’s payrolls and his spending ways, not Bostons… I think we all agree he paid money for his teams up there, but it was also to retain his own talent, not just spend wildly on every free agent.

              Again, show me the Cubs wild spending ways. In the 2 years he has been here he has not wildly spent on talent. He has committed to the building of the Cubs organiztion from the farm system on up.

              Again no one is making Theo out to be a God, we are simply saying that he is doing things the right way that should have been done for a number of years. And you cannot assume he will start spending money wildly based on his Boston days. He is in Chicago now. Different organization, different year. differently method.

              I’m not saying the Cubs won’t have to add some pieces, but I think his goal is to develop and retain our own players more than adding large bloated contracts of free agents.

        • TWC

          Enough with the “being a dickhead,” Merken.

          • hansman1982

            Ehhh, he’s just more of a man than the rest of us.

            I’m jealous.

            • Morken

              Nah. That’s hunger you’re feeling. Not jealousy.

      • Morken

        Christ, your [lady part] gets sandy anytime someone doesn’t join you in blowing Theo.

        Wherever Theo’s presided, huge spending on players has followed. That’s what defines Theo’s ability as GM.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          You literally did it again. Like, to a freaking T. Right down to the completely unnecessary and inappropriate language. I’m going to assume you were being ironic …

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            And I just saw the “enough with Theo worship,” comment. Which, in relation to what I posted, shows that you’re just trolling me.

            Got it. Moving on.

            • Morken

              I’ll put it gently for sensitive Brett:

              Some of us don’t believe that Theo is a God. There’s a reason he’s no longer in Boston. So the “Theo is great” articles, should be saved for when he actually turns the Cubs into a winner.

              There’s also a giant misconception into what made Theo a winner in Boston. Somehow, the narrative has been spun to describe Theo as some kind of progressive thinker. The truth is, Theo’s always been a huge spender.

              • hansman1982

                (psst, when Theo was a winner in Boston, he was spending big on guys that were developed in the farm system or traded for from the farm system with few big time free agents, his “failure in Boston” came after a FA spending binge)

                • itzscott

                  Hey Morken…

                  I don’t know how old you are, but even if you’re in your teens you would recognize that what Theo is doing is light years ahead and God-like in comparison to the bozos that preceded him since Dallas Green.

              • bails17

                2 World Series rings, Morken. And Boston didn’t want to let him go. And why do you think he is not in Boston anymore?

              • http://www.obstructedview.net Myles

                Yeah, that dope broke the bank for their first World Series, with signing Gabe Kapler ($750,000) and all. And we can’t forget that albatross 2 year, 5.8 million albatross he signed David Ortiz to.

              • jdblades

                Morken must be a Yankee fan and’s pissed that Theo took it to them. Find another sight to piss on you douche.

            • http://none millhah

              Duped!

            • CubFan Paul

              Seems like you were trolling him by bitching and ignoring the meat of comment/thoughts.

              We know he’s a dick, but his point was valid and ignored. So much for creative writing.

              • TWC

                No, Paul, his sole point was to jab a stick in Ace’s eye. If he had wanted to make a point about what he perceives as Theo’s tenure in Boston being propped up by high spending, he could do so (as so very many people have) without being a condescending, hyperbolic, trolling dick. He chose not to. And not for the first time.

                • hansman1982

                  Ya, that is how he operates, he will bury 1 valid point amongst a sea of crap and whine that he is a superior man.

                  I mean, the guy brought up Marge Schott as a great female owner during a post that was asking why there weren’t more women in baseball.

                  • Morken

                    Ha! More examples of your purposeful distortions.

                    Schott was an example of a women who succeeded in baseball. Nothing more.

                    • hansman1982

                      “…why are there no women in baseball?”

                      This was my original question.

                • CubFan Paul

                  Ace wasn’t mentioned in Morken’s 9:46 post. It had nothing to do him. Morken was referring to the article and comments above his slobbing on theo(‘s knob).

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                No. I was trying to help him. He ignored it.

          • northsiders6

            And TVVC’s language is appropriate?

            • TWC

              Totally inappropriate.

              But I stand by it.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                I guess this is where I’m supposed to say you can make your point in the future without giving him ammo.

                • northsiders6

                  Funny you are obligated to tell people who agree with you to watch the content the put on this site.

                  • TWC

                    *yawn*

                    Ace is, of course, 100% correct. He knows I know that. These things happen.

                    But over the years I’ve had some fairly drawn-out disagreements with Ace (even a few *not* involving Lost); however, you can go back to that “people who agree with you”/them-vs-us nonsense if it makes you feel better.

                    • DarthHater

                      Good grief, why can’t all you people just get along and be civil with one another? :-P

                    • http://ehanauer.com clark addison

                      Don’t feed the trolls.

  • Jeremy

    very well written article and good insight. Some stuff we have seen before, like Brett said, but it’s still good to hear.

    I just don’t get some Cubs fans who expect results immediately. We tried that for a number of years throwing money at free agents and depleting our farm system and where did it get us? Nowhere!! These guys are re-building an organization from the ground up with young talent that takes a few years to develop. How can some Cubs fans not understand that? When you draft a kid who is 19, he isn’t immediately headed to the big Show. On top of the fact that our farm system was severely undermanned for a number of years with bad draft picks or sent away in trades.

    This FO has begun to build a very solid base of young talent, positional players more than pitchers, but they realize that. And I think we all can assume they will do what it takes to continue the flow of young talent in the system.

    Be Patient Cubs fans. Quite crying for immediate results. We are in Year 2. If by Year 4 we are still a 70 win team, then continue your whining, crying, and b***hing. Until then, step off the cliff!

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      ” How can some Cubs fans not understand that?”

      I don’t understand how some Cubs fans can not understand:

      A) that we’re in the easy part of the process now, the hard part is yet to come and we can easily fail
      B) We’ve done this before and failed.
      C) It’s not necessary to lose at the MLB level to build the farm system.

      • Jeremy

        My point is that people are whining and crying about not having results right now. No one wants to give it any time to take shape. We’ve had one season under Theo so far and that season was more about purging the roster and to begin the overhaul of our organization from top to bottom. We are now in our 2nd offseason and 2nd season.

        People need to step back from the cliff and relax. Give it time to develop. yes we can fail, but ultimately the teams that succeed build their organization from the ground up like the Cardinals. We can draft all the talent we want as well, but if no one is there to develop it, the process won’t work. that was one of the Cubs major problems prior to this regime. They didn’t develop our own players, drafted badly, and rushed guys to the big Show.

        With our team the way it was when he came in, there was no easy fix to redo the farm system and create a winner at the same time. So no, we had to go through some pains to fix this organization. We had older players with bloated contracts who were not producing. what the organization was doing prior did not work.

        The problem is fans dont have success after one season and freak out and say the Cubs suck and they should go after every free agent and spend spend spend.. Well we’ve seen first hand this doesnt work at all. I’m tired of over spending with bad contracts on players. I’d rather see the Cubs develop their own talent and use FA to plug some holes here and there.

        Cubs fans have little patience or faith and need to calm down and see what happens. Like I said, if we are in year 4 and were terrible still, then start to lose your mind.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          It shouldn’t take this much time. Good teams can be built in two offseasons.

          Epstein didn’t need to do any work to “purge the roster.” The contracts everyone complains about where running out.

          No one said it would be an “easy fix” to build the farm system and win at the same time. But it’s possible. And if our front office can only do things that are easy, I want a better front office.

          Allowing four full years before they have to be not terrible in order to earn your disapproval is just an absurdly lenient standard.

          • Jeremy

            Well then if it’s so easy maybe you should have been named GM of the Cubs… Obviously the current bosses of our favorite organization aren’t doing the job well enough for your approval, mr. impatient. I mean how did the Cubs miss out on such a great talent evaluator like you Kyle?

            And no the contracts were not all expiring. We still have Soriano on the roster which was a terrible contract to begin with. We are still handcuffed with him and Marmol. it took considerable effort to purge the team of some other contracts too. Rome is not built in a day.

            And purging the roster is exactly what he needed to do. But not because of all bad contracts like I said prior. I said bad contracts and non major league talent. There are alot of holes on this team. It also is not easy to build the farm system. As I also said prior, you have to develop the talent too, not just evaluate it. It’s why the Cubs failed previously. No part of this process is easy. Drafting, developing, signing the FA’s..

            Honestly if you think any part of being a GM is easy, then well, your sorely mistaken.

            • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

              So if Soriano and Marmol are still here, what did they purge?

              You responded to a post that said it’s not easy with “If it’s so easy…” Read better.

            • DarthHater

              No, no. Kyle is much too busy with his job posting here to take on the burdens of being the Cubs GM. Be reasonable! ;-)

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                I’ve been holding court on BCB all day. I feel bad for ignoring you guys.

                • TWC

                  Larf.

  • Cheryl

    Isn’t there a danger of making things too regimented? A shorter player versus a taller player may get to first base and be better in using his right foot in rounding the base versus a taller player who might with his stride be better with his left foot.

    • Spriggs

      No real danger in my opinion. For the most part, it is not a good idea to “perfect” imperfections. You should be taught and expected to execute things the “right” way.

      When you see a guy like Noah shoot free throws the way he does, it’s just a shame nobody taught or forced him to shoot with proper (or at least better) technique. Instead you just hear people say how unorthodox it is and how surprisingly effective he is – and it’s all a cute joke.

      He has clearly spent hours and hours perfecting his imperfection — instead of doing it the right way.

      • BluBlud

        Ok, well lets see somebody tweak or show Reggie Miller the proper way to shoot a 3 pointer. He had the most unorthodox and incorrect form possibly of all time. How did that work out for him. Some things are just better left alone.

        • hansman1982

          Sooo…2 examples proves this, how???

          That’s like saying that the 1987 Cardinals won by playing small-ball so it’s ok if we build a team playing small ball. No team should EVER be built for small-ball.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        “You should be taught and expected to execute things the “right” way.”

        The first and last “right way” to install is that there is no single right way. Instead, there is a best way for each individual. Some of these “right ways” will be right for a majority of people, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is suboptimal for a minority, and that are many different optima among different players.

  • Indy57

    What is really great about the Cubs under the Ricketts’ ownership is the way they are going about the leadership of re-building the organization the right way. In Patrick Lencioni’s book on leadership “The Four Obsessions of a Extraordinary CEO”, he sites 4 key factors to success: 1. Get the right leadership team. 2. Develop the right strategy. 3. Over communicate the strategy. 4. Hire train and fire according to the needs that support the strategy.

    In the opinion of some really smart baseball people, the Ricketts have assembled one of the best front offices in MLB. The Cubs Way is the strategy they have painstakingly developed. They are communicating this strategy throughout the organization; out to the fan base (via Len Kasper, Pat Hughes, every press conference, anytime Ricketts, Theo, Jed or Jason are interviewed), to the players, coaches, mangers, scouts, marketing sales and others. They are hiring, training and firing according to the plan. They are building training facilities that will be second to none and they are investing in other infrastructure that supports the strategy. They are developing players according to the way they want to play the game and win.

    The goal of the organization clearly is to win the World Series. We’ve never had an ownership or front office in place in my 55-year lifetime that has gone about their business in this fashion. This is a textbook turn around with a textbook approach to leadership. It is a group of modern baseball thought leaders who see how the game is changing and are out in front of those changes. What the Cubs are doing is worthy of an HBR article.

    It pains me to read from others on this site and other blog sites who believe the Ricketts are somehow running down the value of the team so that they can move away from Wrigley, or that they are just soaking it for profit, or that they have plenty of money to spare but they are unwilling to spend it. A turn around in business is time-consuming and sometimes painful to watch. However, conducted in the right way with the right goals, the results can be spectacular. I believe in what the Cubs are doing and apparently Joe Posnanski does as well.

    Now if we can only get the good Alderman of the 44th Ward and the Roof Top owners to align their interests with the goal of winning the World Series at Wrigley Field, we could get on with the business of building a world class MLB franchise that has a consistent chance to win every year;)

    • Finner

      Very well put and I could not agree more.

  • Rich

    Does anyone off the top of their heads how many of The Red Sox’s championship teams were with players that were ” home grown”?

    I am sure they had a core of players….

    thanks

    • MightyBear

      1

  • Cooper

    I like this quote, though I think the author misquoted a little bit – not to worry, though, I fixed it…

    “Forbidden fruit,” Epstein says of free agency and he shrugs. “We just didn’t have the patience to make it across the gap without giving into temptation. … Free agency is where you get your worst return on investment. It’s really that simple. The draft and the international market, that’s where you get your best return, dollar for dollar. And free agency is the worst return on investment.”

    Epstein shrugs again. “We knew that but [db kyle told us to do it, so] we did it anyway. It was a negative lesson.”

    • hansman1982

      It’s actually quite funny to look back at the top FA and see how often that plays out.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      I agree with all of what he said there, but none of that means it’s OK to lose 101 games at the MLB level when free agents could have given you a chance to win the World Series.

      • John (the other one)

        meh. nevermind.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    So all you have to do is spend the most money of any team and that guarantees you win it all.
    And here I thought it was through developing and aquiring the right mix of players. I guess the Dodgers have it all sewed up. Who knew?

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    Oh man, I slept in and you guys started this one without me. :(

    Same old story. I come away the impression that Epstein is a brilliant baseball mind.

    I also come away with the impression that his views on how to build a winning organization are very much driven by what part of his job he personally enjoys the most, and that he left his drive to win in Boston.

    • OCCubFan

      I really enjoy reading most of your comments because they come from excellent critical thinking based on facts. The glaring exception to this is your claim to know all about Epstein’s inner drives.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        “come away with the impression” isn’t exactly “claiming to know.”

        • OCCubFan

          Repeating similar statements over and over and over strikes me as “you think you know.”

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            I think I can make a very educated guess based on Epstein’s own statements.

        • DarthHater

          March 12, 2013: “The entire direction of the franchise is being chosen by Epstein’s ego right now.”

          What? Was this a mere statement of impression and not of knowledge? Perish the thought! :-P

          • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

            It’s sort of a meaningless distinction.

            Like all human beings, I make judgments based on what I think is the available evidence.

            When I make a statement that is based around something I literally could not possibly know (though brain-scanning technology is improving, I do have much access to it), then I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not implying to literally “know” it, but simply believe it based on a preponderance of evidence.

            • Patrick W.

              Your definition of preponderance is probably what caused the most disagreements with you. Not judging, just saying.

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                Sure. Reasonable people can look at the same information and come to different conclusions.

                • Patrick W.

                  Absolutely. I think what I mean to point out is that you seem to be at odds with people most when you come to a conclusion and they think it’s too early (or there is a lack of preponderance of evidence) to come to any conclusion. The times I’ve disagreed with you it’s because I think you are coming to conclusions when I think there’s not enough data to form a conclusion.

                  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                    Which I still think is absurd.

                    You can’t and shouldn’t get five years to do whatever you feel like with a sports franchise before you face any sort of judgment. This is a results-oriented business.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Is there anything between 5 years and 14 months that isn’t absurd?

                    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                      No. 14 months is more than enough time to make judgments.

                • hansman1982

                  Well then clearly, one of them is not reasonable.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              “Like all human beings, I make judgments based on what I think is the available evidence.”

              If that is your diagnosis of being human, then about 95% of the bald bipedal apes must still be australopithecines.

              That written, the 5% can and do disagree on what facts mean. That is, after all, what science is all about. The issue then becomes: what do the different ideas predict about *other* facts, and what are the underlying assumptions that led to the different conclusions?

              (This would be a case where I would disagree with premises!)

            • DarthHater

              No, when one is talking about a subject like what’s going on inside someone else’s head, it makes a difference how one frames one’s own assertions.

              If one says something like, “It’s my impression that Esptein’s ego may currently be having too much of an effect on the direction of the franchise,” then one is simply expressing the kinds of inference about another person that is commonplace in all human society.

              If one flatly asserts, as a statement of fact, that ” “The entire direction of the franchise is being chosen by Epstein’s ego right now,” then one is making a deliberately hyperbolic, deliberately sweeping factual assertion about a subject on which there is admittedly no sufficient factual basis available. Stated differently, the second statement is purposefully annoying, if not trollish.

              Yes, the internet leads everyone to express themselves in an abbreviated way that generally does not allow room for the social niceties that make face-to-face social life tolerable. In other words, the internet turns virtually everyone into a dick. I do not exempt myself from that judgment at all, but I do try to direct my online dickishness at other people’s online dickishness and try to avoid making dickish statements about baseball subjects just to get a rise out of people or because I feel frustrated by the Cubs’ general awfulness.

              • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

                I direct my dickishness toward the people running my favorite team in ways that lead them to lose 101 games last year.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Do you think Samardzija ever found a new girlfriend? Talk about taking one for the team.

  • Shooter

    That Epstein article took me 12 minutes to read, damn public schools.

  • John (the other one)

    The most interesting bit from Posnanski’s article to me was this one:

    They knew the Cubs had not drafted a single guy who had become an everyday player or starting pitcher in a decade.

    Seriously? Then I looked it up. Yup. Not since Prior. Last two were Barney and Samardzjia.

    But yeah. Free agents.

    • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

      I love that stat.

      It once again shows the real problems with the Hendry Cubs, and spending on FAs wasn’t it.

      • DarthHater

        So the fact that they had one problem means that nothing else was also a problem? Ummm, okay.

        • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

          Fair point. This isn’t conclusive, but it provides an alternative (and in my opinion, more accurate) scenario.

          • DarthHater

            Wait a minute. You’re the other Kyle, aren’t you? ;-)

  • Die hard

    I’ve been against Theo from day one for one reason only…. Neither he nor his inner circle has a whit of major league playing experience…. Why?… That question has never been answered… I suspect it’s because he doesn’t want to hear criticism from his inner circle by those who have been there done that…. Which is why at the beginning I advocated for Dick Tidrow or his comparable to at least be brought inside the conference room… It’s this apparent insecurity that’s going to be the downfall of this experiment by the Ricketts family which will end ugly

    • TWC

      DICK TIDROW!!!! Criminy, it’s been *AGES* since you pined for Dick.

      Of course, ML playing experience is totally and completely irrelevant for determining whether or not someone would make a good GM, but why bring facts into it?

      DICK TIDROW!!!!

      And, come ON, man. There are no “comparable”s to Dick Tidrow.

      • Die hard

        Check his executive success with SF before pounding the table with your shoe

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          And when the Giants needed an emergency closer in the World Series last Fall, they needed look no further than the executive suite. I didn’t know Dick Tidrow still had it, but, then again, I don’t know Dick.

          • Die hard

            I suspect the Cubs have the least amt of major league playing experience in front office inner circle

            • TWC

              Bullshit. Define “inner circle” for each of the 30 teams, and prove it.

              • Hansman1982

                Facts schmatchs

                That’s like saying Metroman is a better superhero than Megamind

                • Die hard

                  What’s the matter… Have the facts got your collective tongue?

                  • Hansman1982

                    OMG OMG OMG. DIE HARD REPLIED TO ME!!!!!!

                    (Holy hell it’s work to do all caps on an iPhone)

                    • Carew

                      to make it all caps without going back and forth click the caps button twice quickly, then when you’re done click it one more. Just a friendly heads up

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Double click the caps button and BOOM ALL CAPS

                    • Hansman1982

                      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU SUCKERS FELL INTO MY TRAP!!!!

                      ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME!!!!!!

                    • MightyBear

                      Please don’t yell. Thank you.

                    • DarthHater

                      You guys really are nuts whenever Dick Tidrow’s name comes up. :-P

                • Tommy

                  Metroman IS a better superhero than Megamind, so as usual, I don’t know WHAT THE HELL POINT YOU’RE TRYING TO MAKE, JOE!

              • Die hard

                Who in the Cubs inner circle has those credentials of Dick Tidrow?

        • TWC

          Oh, I know very well that he’s been successful in SF as VP of Player Personnel. Of course, he works for Brian Sabean, the longest-tenured GM in the game. Sabean has never played a major league game in his life.

          If you look at the two teams’ FO’s, once you scrape away all the “Special Assistant”/”Community Ambassador” titles of former team greats (Will Clark, Billy Williams, etc.), you’ll see that both have a similar number of former major leaguers working for them in some capacity. (Cubs Asst. GM Randy Bush played rather successfully for about a decade.)

          Your prejudice against a young, non-baseball-pedigreed (but demonstrably successful GM) is unbecoming, and silly.

          • TWC

            Ugh. I screwed up an apostrophe. Lame.

      • Die hard

        And he has Cubby Blue in his DNA

        • MichiganGoat

          Ah yes the very real science of Cubbie Blue DNA winning World Series and curing cancer. This is right up there defining scrappy as the justification for player being on a roster.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Dick. Tidrow.

      • TWC

        I know, right? It’s like fall ’10 all over again. Total nostalgia rush.

        • MichiganGoat

          Where is Fishing Phil to complete the time machine. King Jeff can go back to being Jeff. Ah the days when only 6 of us were on here and 30 comments was a great day.

          • MichiganGoat

            TOOSH. Are you still out there?

    • DarthHater

      Oh, dear. Looks like ellipsisitis is spreading.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Isn’t Billy Williams still part of the front office?

      • Die hard

        Used to be before Theo and now only window dressing at best

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Got a source for that? I haven’t heard anything to the effect that Williams has been marginalized under Epstein. I’d like to see what you’re referring to.

          • DarthHater

            Hey, Brett, this made me think of a suggestion for improving the site. Put in an automated routine so that, whenever die hard posts something, “Got a source for that?” is immediately inserted after the post. This helpful feature would save the BN community a lot of effort.

            • Die hard

              This will prove that hes a valuable part of front office …….http://mlb.mlb.com/sf/team/frontoffice_bios/tidrow_dick.jsp

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                No one is arguing that Tidrow is a valuable part of the Giants organization.

                I asked you to show me what you’re talking about when you claim that Billy Williams has been made “only window dressing at best” by Epstein in the Cubs front office.

                So, again, can I see your source? I’m genuinely curious where you are getting this from since it does not mesh with anything else I have heard.

                • Die hard

                  Prove that he’s involved as I have with Tidrow…

                  • MichiganGoat

                    Again you are ignoring the question and instead flipping it around. You’ve been asked to show Williams decreased position since Theo entered, instead you are arguing in circles. Answer the question or say you don’t have any proof. I promise you Dick Tidrow would tolerate your behavior.

                  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

                    I’m not making any assertions that require proof, die hard. I’m asking a genuine question. Will you refer me to your source for your claims that Billy Williams has been made window dressing? I’ve not seen that claim made elsewhere, so I would like to check out what you’ve seen.

                    It’s not exactly a complicated request. Just give me a link.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      Oh Luke you know there is no link, logic, or truth behind these claims. Bad satire maybe, hyperbole definately, but citable facts – NEVER.

                  • DarthHater

                    How about this? Nobody has any concrete evidence that Billy Williams either does or does not have a decreased role since Theo took over. Therefore, we can just drop the subject. Mmmmkaaay???

              • Timothy Scarbrough

                That ‘stache.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Not every team offers front office bios.

          • TWC

            Should we use this one again?

            [img]http://www.globalnerdy.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloud.jpg[/img]

    • MichiganGoat

      HELL YA DICK TIDROW, this is why die hard will always be important to BleacherNation

  • cubfanincardinalland

    You know, I was looking at something on fangraphs, and it really just brought up how stupid the Cubs have been over the years how they have run a baseball team. And something that would never happen with the current people running the club.
    Greg Maddux left for the Braves as a free agent in 1992. He had just won the Cy Young with a 2.18 ERA, winning 20 games, and had a WAR of 7.3. The previous year the WAR was 6.3. And here is the kicker, he was god damn 26 years old. He signed for a little over 5 million bucks a year. How could anyone be so incredibly stupid to let such a starting pitcher leave?

    • http://401klogic.net Westbound Willie

      Probably because when he was running past first base he stepped on the bag with his left foot as he was headed to second. That used to piss Hines off like crazy. Good thing theo showed up and corrected this mighty flaw.

    • MightyBear

      Geeeeez I could have gone the next 10 years without being reminded of that. The second stupidest move by a front office in the history of baseball. (The Astros letting Nolan Ryan go was the worst.) Here’s the stupidest quote in baseball history, “If you can get $5 million per year, more power to you.” Larry Hines to Greg Maddux and his agent. This was before he went on the free market and the Yankees offered him 30 million for 6 years and the Cubs and Braves offered him 25 million for 5 years. Maddux wanted to negotiate a new deal after the 6.3 WAR year and only wanted 3 mil a year. The Cubs just wanted to “wait and see”.

      If I ever see Larry Hines on the street, I will walk up to him and punch him right in the nose.

      • King Jeff

        I remember reading that letting Maddux walk allowed them to retain Mike Morgan and sign Jose Guzman(I think). That was Hines justification, that he could get two middle of the road guys, for as much as he would have had to pay Maddux.

        • MightyBear

          Yeah and I believe Morgan got hurt and pitched only sparingly for the Cubs after that. So you let Maddux go so you could keep Jose Guzman. That’s a great GM. Maddux would have been worth 5 of those guys.

  • Chef Brian

    I’m growing a Tidrow “stache”.

  • NCMoss

    Tried to google ‘dick tidrow’ (he did play before I was born after all.) and ‘tidrow’ was auto-corrected to ‘rodeos’. That was awkward.

    • MightyBear

      that was funny LOL

    • MichiganGoat

      You must be newish around here Mr Tidrow is our Chuck Norris and it all started years ago with a conversation similar to the one tonight. My iPhone has learned Tidrow’s name even auto capitalizes it. He is the patron saint of BN- well a saint that will stashe slap you if you give him a cross look.

      • NCMoss

        Actually, I’ve followed the site since around opening day 2010. In short, Brett=Ace=Duffman, Bleacher Nation= Short and Informative, and Dick Tidrow’s stache > Chuck Norris. My phone is new and must be taught a lesson.

        • MichiganGoat

          Ah I thought the handle was familiar :) and yes “short yet informative”

    • MightyBear

      That reminds me of a story about an 80 year old British man who was working on a London Times crossword puzzle and had never finished a Times puzzle and wanted to before he died. He was down to one word so he decided to google the last clue – Wild Asian Ass.

      He was shocked and appalled at what his search results showed.

      The word he was looking for was Onager.

    • DarthHater

      dick rodeo? sounds painful.

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  • True blue

    My thoughts on Theo Epstein are very straight forward. I love what he is doing with the farm system and developing the Cubs Way. He did a great job unloading players that really needed to go for the betterment of the team. This was a bad major league team when he took it over. However, he did make it worse as we lost 101 games. Also, I’m concerned about his ability to get deals done. There seems to be a lot of deals that have fallen through. Time well tell if his formula is correct. I certainly am hoping that it works out. But I am going to be very upset if the Cubs lose 100 games again. Cubs fans deserve to see improvement at the major league level year over year. This would prove to me we are going in the right direction. It is depressing going into this season with this team. I’m as excited as anyone regarding the minors and the possibilities of some of these players but at the end of the day he was brought in to bring results at the major league level.

    Maybe I would be less upset if I wasn’t a season ticket holder. Having 4 tickets to all 81 games is expensive especially when I can’t even get my die hard Cub Fans to a game. On the plus side my daughter has material to build a very expensive card house.

  • Another Idea

    Not one Person can name who the cubs can get this coming offseason to get the Cubs better,so the 2014 Cubs are gonna suck just as bad as this team…Theo is putting all his hopes in a basket that Ricketts will let him come back after his 5 yr contract to keep trying…No All Stars are gonna be free this coming offseason…The Cubs way doesn’t take losing for 5yrs,I don’t care what Theo and Ricketts claim…Getting 5yrs of picking 2nd doesn’t get it done…But 5yrs of Losing and signing no MLB Talent does help Ricketts pocket a lot of Money,because the people who just go to Wrigley to get drunk are still gonna show up and that’s why Emanuel and the Alderman need to demand any thing they give into the cubs includes a demand that they sign Big league Talent..If you have a leverage against a team like the City does,you atleast make sure they put Talent on the Field.

    • cub2014

      Its looks very doeable for 2014:
      1. re-sign either garza or baker
      2. get a #1 Price maybe?
      3. find a power hitting left fielder
      4. either sign a 2b or 3b depending on
      who pans out: solar,baez,jackson,lake.
      *obviously trade all the 1 year contract assets
      and long term bad contracts away before
      trade deadline july 2013.

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