All the talk in Chicago lately has been about the hiring of Theo Epstein—and now Jed Hoyer—by the Chicago Cubs, and rightfully so. After all, when a team has gone over 100 years without winning a title and decides to overhaul their front office, it's big news.
As a White Sox fan I think it's great for the Cubs and their fans, but more importantly I think it's even better for the White Sox.
I'm sure you're wondering how in the world this move could possibly help the White Sox, so let me explain.
The White Sox have had their share of news recently with the highly publicized departure of Ozzie Guillen as manager and the shocking hiring of Robin Ventura as their new manager.
The overwhelming sentiment by both fans and media is that with the hiring of the inexperienced Ventura, and now his mostly inexperienced staff, the White Sox have officially gone into rebuilding mode. Most are already writing off the Sox as non-contenders for the foreseeable future, which very possibly could be the case, but it's no certainty.
I'm still not so sure why so many people are opposed to the hiring of Ventura to begin with. I understand that he doesn't have managing experience, but neither did Guillen when he came to the Sox. Yes I know, Ozzie was a third base coach for the Expos as well as the Marlins for a few years, but that really didn't make him any more qualified to manage than Ventura—and I would say that hiring turned out pretty good for the White Sox.
There's no doubt that the Sox are definitely going to have a different feel to them with the laid back Ventura taking over for the fiery Guillen, but that doesn't mean it can't work—that remains to be seen.
Who will have more pressure to win this year?
Ventura knows the game just as well as Ozzie, so let's just see what he can do before we pass judgement.
Now back to Theo Epstein and how he can actually help the situation on the South side.
I know many Cubs fans may not want to hear this, but in recent years the White Sox have actually been the frontrunners in the city thanks in large part to winning the World Series in 2005 and also to their charismatic manager. This was certainly a departure from previous years where the Cubs dominated the headlines.
With Guillen's departure going down the way it did and the hiring of Ventura, the White Sox continued to be the front page news—and not in a good way—while the Cubs remained in the background after yet another disappointing season.
That is until two weeks ago, when the Cubs decided to bring in Theo Epstein to be their new president of baseball operations.
The hiring of Epstein—followed by the hiring of general manager Jed Hoyer—is apparently the biggest news in Chicago since the fire of 1871. Well, that's what many Cub fans would have you believe anyway.
Regardless of your opinion, the fact is that this is now the story of the year in Chicago baseball—and for the Sox I think that will work just fine.
Robin Ventura has got to love this—all the pressure has now been lifted from his shoulders and is squarely back on the North side of town. He can begin his first season as manager of the White Sox with no expectations and all the focus somewhere else. Sounds like a good deal to me.
How about GM Kenny Williams? He may also benefit from having Epstein and company on the North side as they will certainly draw some of the spotlight off of him—although knowing Kenny Williams, he may prefer the spotlight.
Nevertheless, with most people not expecting much out of Ventura and the Sox, while at the same time expecting a lot out of Epstein and the Cubs, this sets up perfectly for the Sox to fly under the radar this season.
Ever since winning the World Series in 2005, the White Sox and Ozzie Guillen had been under the microscope and the expectations were high every year. But they had trouble playing the role of favorites.
Well, Ventura and the Sox certainly won't have that pressure to worry about this year, which may be exactly what they need.
Teams with no expectations and no pressure to win can sometimes be the most dangerous.