Just as the Cubs have been placed atop nearly every top ranking list in baseball, the man who put them there has now been as well.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is the 2016 Most Interesting Person in MLB.
(If you were playing a Cubs drinking game while reading the article, you’d already be singing Karaoke at Trader Todd’s or taking batting practice at Sluggers. In less than 300 words, author Joel Sherman hits on 1908, the Model-T, “four major sports,” Theo Epstein, Boston, the curse, Bill Buckner, the goat and, of course, Steve Bartman).
All jokes aside, this feels like well-deserved recognition. That elusive World Series Title for the Chicago Cubs has not yet been obtained, of course, but it’s hard to say if that’s the best measure of Epstein’s time in baseball, or more specifically, Chicago. Epstein has already put together possibly the best on-paper Cubs team in the last 50 years and has taken the Cubs to the NLCS for just the fourth time since WWII.
If the Cubs do manage to win the World Series in 2016, Epstein won’t just be the most interesting man in baseball, he will have cemented his legacy among the top sports executives of all time. Following him in search of that legacy in 2016, then, makes him extremely interesting (and thus, worthy of the title).
Behind Epstein on the list is a smattering of other interesting players, coaches and executives, including Commissioner Rob Manfred (4) and former Cubs manager Dusty Baker (23). Other people of note include current superstars Mike Trout (6) Bryce Harper (8), former superstars Barry Bonds (9) and Alex Rodriguez (10) and potential international superstars Yulieski Gurriel (18) and Shohei Ohtani (19).
Theo Epstein is in extremely good company.
A relevant aside: although Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts has had extension conversations with Epstein, whose contract is up at the end of next season, there has been no update on that matter in weeks. Still, both sides continue to exude confidence in a deal being struck at some point, but once the season begins it might be more difficult to complete.
Nonetheless, Epstein has followed through on his promise to set the Cubs up for sustained success, beginning
in 2016 last season, and he is certainly an interesting man to follow in 2016.