Inside Theo Epstein’s office, there’s a window separating the baseball operations world and the rest of the Cubs’ business side.
“Sprawling formulas and equations fill the glass,” writes Wright Thompson (ESPN), “straight-up vector-calculus-looking madness, which is exactly what everyone expects to see in Theo Epstein’s office.”
Except it’s all a joke.
Aware of his public perception as a cold, stats-driven front office wunderkind, Epstein has decided to lean into the image, because it’s funny – not because it describes him.
Of course, I don’t mean that Epstein is simply a closeted “old-schooler,” stuck in a modern world. Instead, I mean the seemingly intelligent, well put-together, friendly face of the Chicago Cubs has, like many of us, a far more complex, sometimes darker, personality. Perhaps more so than you think.
At ESPN, Wright Thompson collected a number of tales and anecdotes from Epstein and his peers, which paint a very different, much more intriguing portrait at the top of the Cubs food chain. If you’ve ever had the slightest bit of interest in Epstein’s life, character, or motivations, this is the piece.
Trust me, read it.
In Thompson’s piece we learn that Epstein is something of a loner, an observer; he has a mind attracted to the macabre, an unhealthy attention to detail; he can be hilariously funny, he can be all too honestly mean; he can keep his excitement at bay, but explode in frustration (with a golf club … and a golf ball … and Boston’s VP of Player Personnel Ben Cherington’s head), and yet still were left with just a few pixels of a much bigger, much more complicated picture than what we’ve come to accept.
Everyone’s psyche is multi-dimensional, don’t get me wrong, but very few people, I suspect, have a larger (tri?)dichotomy than Epstein’s public, personal, and introspective personalities. In a truly comprehensive and even more enjoyable read at ESPN, Thompson explores Epstein’s distant past as a child, his recent life in the offices of the Red Sox, and his present duties as a human and the Cubs President of Baseball Operations.
There’s far too much for me to summarize, and I wouldn’t really want to anyway, since it’s such an excellent read. But I can tell you that we know nothing of the man in charge of our beloved Cubs. Then again, how could we? He’s still figuring out himself – in ways we couldn’t even imagine.