Theo Epstein: ‘I consider myself very, very lucky to be a Cub’
STAFF REPORTS October 25, 2011 11:12AM
Updated: October 25, 2011 8:45PM
The Cubs launched the Theo Epstein era Tuesday, as team chairman Tom Ricketts introduced Epstein as the president of baseball operations.
“Today, we take a major step toward winning a World Series,” Ricketts said. “As a fan, I’m truly excited about the future of this team.”
“I consider myself very, very lucky to be a Cub,” said Epstein, who will make $18.5 million over five years.
The former Red Sox GM talked about winning a World Series, but cautioned: “That does not happen overnight, and that certainly doesn’t happen because of one person.
“We are going to have to grind our way to the top. It will be a lot of work. Plan is to rebuild baseball [operations], bringing in the best and brightest minds.”
The move to get Epstein was put in place when the Cubs fired Jim Hendry last summer.
“I want to thank Jim Hendry, whom I admire, for giving his all to this organization for 17 years,” Epstein said.
Ricketts said Crane Kenney will remain as president of business operations for the team.
Epstein did not commit to the future of manager Mike Quade, only saying: “[we] had a couple of nice conversations with Mike. We will meet face to face in next couple weeks.”
In the Tuesday Boston Globe, Epstein wrote a long commentary explaining why he left Boston. He reiterated those thoughts: “I had a great 10 years with the Red Sox. We had a lot of fun, a lot of success, we won two World Series. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
“I do believe Bill Walsh of the 49ers said it best, after 10 years in sports, there’s a time to consider a change. I was ready foe the next big challenge. This is certainly a big challenge.”
So, what makes Epstein--who said he had a “romantic vision” of the Cubs from watching them on WGN after school--think he can turn around the Cubs’ 103-year drought?
“I won’t be me doing it,” he said, “it will be all of us doing it. When I came to Boston, it had been 86 years. We didn’t run from that challenge, we tried to tackle it.
“It can be done.”
Epstein admitted there needs to be a change of culture, though.
“There is a gap where we are and where we want to be,” he said.
The 37-year-old said the Cubs needs to improve fundamentals, and he talked about developing a “Cubs way.”
“The Cubs way touches on all aspects of the game,” he said. “It’s clear there are more than enough resources here to win. It will be up to me to allocate those resources.”
As for rebuilding, Epstein said the team needs to take a smart approach toward free agents. “The key is to pay for future performance, not past performance.”
As for the dreaded curse, one that he overcame with the Red Sox, Epstein said: “I don’t believe in curses. I guess I played a small part in proving they don’t exist, at least in baseball circles.”