Theo Epstein Hits a Home Run in His Press Conference with the Chicago Cubs

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIOctober 26, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 25:  Theo Epstein, the new President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, poses in front of the marquee following a press conference at Wrigley Field on October 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It was so refreshing listening to new Cub president Theo Epstein talk about the future in his press conference on Tuesday. He only spoke for about forty minutes, but for die-hard Cub fans, it was 103 years coming to hear what he had to say.

Yes, I'm drinking the kool-aid!

That could change at anytime, but right now I feel like Al Bundy on Married with Children when his son Bud brought home the beautiful Sunni to brighten everyone's day. Everything was right in the world. The birds were chirping, the butterflies were flying, and the, oh, I better not go there, but I think you get what I mean.

Just listening to him talk about a "Cubs Way" of doing things caused stirrings in me that I haven't felt since I was young. Can you imagine actually having a plan in place and implementing it?

He mentioned during his press conference of teaching everyone in the organization, from the Dominican facility through the entire minor league system the way the team expects them to play. Everyone will be on the same page, so when a player reaches the majors, he will actually have an idea of how the game is supposed to be played.

He's even going to pass out defensive manuals for each position on the field for the players to study. Hopefully he finds a way to get rid of Alfonso Soriano, because I don't think they can translate that into any language that he would understand. 

In the Back to the Future movie, they predicted the Cubs would win the World Series in 2015. Now it doesn't seem quite so far-fetched anymore.

Based on the excitement shown in Chicago at Theo coming on board with the Cubs, it would be a disappointment if it took them that long.

Driving the Edens Expressway coming home from the airport Sunday night, I noticed a welcoming banner for Theo draped on the overpass.

He may not be able to walk on water, but don't tell that to Cub fans. Expectations are running rampant among the faithful. 

It's amazing how the reaction differs here compared to Boston. I heard fans there were calling him the "Boy Blunder," obviously not happy about missing the playoffs the last two years. I guess winning you two World Series Championships after 86 years has a time limit on it.

As they say, one person's trash is another's treasure.

During his press conference, Theo mentioned if the Cubs were going to win, it was going to be a team effort. Part of that team is Jed Hoyer as the new GM and Jason McLeod as his assistant.

I'm so glad to hear that, because when the talk started about the Cubs hiring him, I thought that one man alone can't build an organization, and it's going to take time to get the people in place that he needs to accomplish that. 

It's coming together faster than I thought possible. 

It's like Oceans Eleven, where they were getting the old gang together for one last job. If the robbery in that movie seemed impossible, it was child's play to what Theo and his crew have ahead of them.

But he's doing and saying all the right things, and right now, that is all that matters.

He also seems to get the one criticism there was about him in Boston regarding free-agents. He mentioned during the press conference that you have to pay players for future expectations and not past deeds.  

That's been the bane of many a general manager, Theo included. 

With that, don't expect any big free-agent splashes this year for an Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, thought the Prince falls into his 27-32 prime years comment when looking at free-agents.

This isn't another Dusty Baker or Lou Piniella, who were anointed as saviors when they came on board. A general manager has a far greater impact on the team than a manager does. A manager plays with the pieces you give him and hopefully doesn't lose too many games for you. He'll win some, but in most cases, won't make a difference if the cliched "pieces aren't in place." 

He's also not Andy MacPhail, the last young GM to march into town with two World Series titles under his belt. MacPhail became a corporate shill who didn't spend the allowance that the Tribune Company was willing to give him. 

He made Ed Lynch the GM, and pretty much let him run the show even though he didn't have any experience. He was hands-off instead of doing the job he was hired to do.

That's not Theo Epstein. He talked about working harder and finding an edge over other teams to exploit to the Cubs advantage. For a guy who put in 18-hour days with Boston, that is no idle chatter. He will expect nothing less from the people in his employ, but the good news is, he knows what to expect from them.

The rest of the puzzle he is trying to solve, other than figuring out how to build a team to win at Wrigley, or as he called it on WSCR this morning, "the riddle," will come in time.

He'll develop a farm system that will produce stars in the future. He'll get rid of the players that he knows will not be here when the Cubs finally raise that World Series trophy. This team will have his stamp all over it.

Nothing is guaranteed. Theo Epstein coming to the Cubs does not mean they will win a World Series, but it does mean they will start doing things the right way and leaving baseballs' stone-age.

What I got out of Tuesday's press conference is finally, there is hope if you're a Cubs fan.  

I don't think I'm the only one that feels that way.