My first post is a Cubs post. God help us.
Jim Hendry’s tenure had run its course, thoroughly. Personally I was disappointed when the Ricketts stuck with him when they took over. If you thought differently, listen to this kid. To me, Hendry just never seemed to understand the concept of building a foundation. In a league where several teams had shown success in building up farm systems and paying only for future production (not past production), the Cubs had kept a lineup full of fat paychecks written for what the player had done in the past. I’m talking about players like Zambrano, Fukudome, Carlos Pena, and of course Alfonso Soriano, the highest paid 7-hole hitter in MLB history. I know, I know. Zambrano has had a lot of success in Chicago, and Pena was pretty good last season. My point still holds because neither of those guys has earned his paycheck or lived up to the hype of it. Hendry’s best moves as a GM came with his trades to the Pirates in ’03, which brought Aramis Ramirez, Randall Simon, and Kenny Lofton over for that playoff run. I can dig all-or-nothing moves like those, and it almost paid off big time. But as a jealous Cubs fan, I was so envious of the Rays, Rockies, Astros, Marlins, and D-backs of recent World-Series fame. Those guys had success by selling high and buying low.
But now along with Hendry that philosophy has been cut from the North side. In comes Theo. In comes a guy who has won two rings using the “Moneyball” strategy. In comes a guy who professes to build from the minor leagues up. In comes a guy who pays only for what players are projected to do. Yes, the Cubs do bring in a lot of revenue, but that doesn’t mean you only use it to bring in the big names. Theo gets that.
Yes, the pessimist in me wonders if Theo has enough hunger to earn more titles after having already won two. He’s reached the pinnacle. His name is already immortal. But then again how could someone not be attracted to this challenge? Theo brought a World Series to Boston. BOSTON. The more I think about it, the obvious next step is to bring a World Series to the North side of Chicago. It’s the only bigger challenge than Boston was. Never mind about the pessimism. I don’t know. Ah, the Cubs-fan schizophrenia, it’s back.
But really, I can’t tell you how pumped it got me seeing Kornheiser and Wilbon (a biased Cubs fan, yes) both predicting the Cubs would go to multiple World Series under Epstein. I turned the TV off and fired up this bad boy. It’s the little things.
So, where do we go from here? The next step is hiring a manager. That hire could come any day now, and while I was a fan of Mike Maddux or Sandy Alomar (probably because I’ve heard of them), it seems like Dale Sveum will be our first offer. I trust our president. It feels good to say that.
After the manager, I can’t wait to see how much fat Theo can cut from our lineup before Spring Training. Bring a squad to Mesa full of people I’ve never heard of. That’s exciting and refreshing for Cubs fans. Goodbye Aramis. Goodbye Soriano. Goodbye Zambrano. No thank you, Pujols. There’s a new Theo-logy on the North Side.