To ask a fanbase that has never experienced a World Series title in its lifetime for patience is a lot like asking a homeless man for a dollar. It just isn't very likely.
Yet that's exactly what the Cubs brain trust is asking you for. And I am here to tell you why you should willingly accept that request.
For far too long, the Cubs have been built on the "win now" promise. That has only resulted in temporary division titles but early playoff exits and lack of sustained success.
Along the way, there have even been many seasons in which the winning didn't even occur at all. Recognizing that, it is only logical to try something new. And nothing short of a total rebuild of the farm system is in order.
That requires a lot of time.
Now, it doesn't mean that the Cubs cannot be competitive this season. They are putting together a fairly decent club, though one that does not appear to be the favorites in their own division.
Yes, stranger things have happened, so if success does happen early, as it did for Hoyer in his first season as GM of the Padres, consider it a bonus.
But it isn't part of the grand design.
Instead, the plan is to build from within. That doesn't mean that all 25 men on the major league roster will be homegrown products, however.
The youthful depth that Epstein and Hoyer build into the farm system can also be used as trade pieces to fill in other areas of need at the major league level.
Plus, they are trying to change a losing culture that has permeated this team since...well...as long as I can remember.
They are looking to draft and acquire players who "play the game the right way." Calling it "the Cubs way," Epstein and Hoyer are going for players who are strong defenders, contribute to a more balanced lineup (think left-handed), get on base and help build rotational depth.
So far, they are demonstrating this, but much more work remains, of course, and that will take time—even more time that they envisioned when taking the job.
For not only have teams started catching up to the sabermetric principles in how to value performance, but the new collective bargaining agreement imposes penalties for teams that overspend in the draft.
Meanwhile, expect more changes to come. While they are trying to re-sign Kerry Wood, there are no guarantees at this point.
Additionally, Matt Garza will be traded if they can find the right package of prospects. Likewise, if they can get anything for Alfonso Soriano without having to pay all of his salary, they will move him too.
Then there is Marlon Byrd, who should be a cost-effective target for some team, and Carlos Marmol, who is coming off a bad season but could be moved under the right circumstances.
So, you get the picture. This will be a somewhat long process, and once again, the patience of Cubs fans is being tested.
However, unlike previous regimes, this group has experience being successful at doing this, so we should give them the time they need.
In Epstein and Hoyer we trust.