10/25 Welcome to the Cubs, Theo
Here’s Theo Epstein’s opening statement from Tuesday’s press conference introducing him as the Cubs’ new president of baseball operations and below, some notes:
“I was so fortunate to spend a decade in the Red Sox organization and I consider myself very, very lucky to be a Cub today,” Epstein said. “It truly is an honor and a privilege to join such a special organization. To me, baseball is better with tradition, baseball is better with history, baseball is better with fans who care, baseball is better with ballparks like this, baseball is better during the day and baseball is best of all when you win. That, ultimately, is why I’m here today.
“With this ownership and this fan support, I firmly believe we can preserve all those things I just mentioned that make the Cubs so special and over time build a consistent winner, a team that is playing baseball in oct reg and a team that will ultimately win the World Series,” he said. “That does not happen over night and it certainly does not happen because of any one person. Over time, together, we will build a solid foundation that delivers sustained success to the Cubs.
“Building a foundation for success also means creating a winning culture at the big league level,” he said. “Our fans deserve a clubhouse full of players who are proud to wear the Cubs uniform and who are passionate about winning as they are. … We’re going to have to grind our way to the top and we must do so together. It will be a lot of work. The good thing is we are ready and we are hungry. As I mentioned earlier, when we do achieve that sustained success and ultimately win a World Series, it will not happen because of any one person, it will happen because of all of us.”
* Epstein has talked to manager Mike Quade, and wants to meet with him face to face. Quade is signed for next year.
“The most important first step is I need to get to know Mike Quade better,” Epstein said.
* He did not have any contact with the Cubs until Tom Ricketts called to ask permission to interview Epstein. Ricketts consulted with 20 people and examined all the teams before pursuing Epstein, and said he knew after 10 to 15 minutes of their first conversation that Epstein was the right person.
*They are still negotiating regarding a general manager. Whoever is hired would rn the Major League team on a day to day basis. The goal, Epstein said, is to build a “foundation for sustained success.”
* His parents told Epstein that from the age of two, he would watch baseball games on TV, and played Whiffle ball games in Central Park, New York. He didn’t move to Boston until he was four years old.
“It was my passion from an early age,” he said.
His mother says that by the age of 12, Epstein had decided he wanted to work in baseball.
* What about curses?
“I don’t believe in curses, and I guess I played a small part in proving they don’t exist from a baseball standpoint,” he said. “I do believe you can be honest and up front about the fact that certain organization hasn’t gotten the job done and hasn’t won a World Series in a long time. That’s the approach we took in Boston. It wasn’t a curse, it’s just that we hadn’t gotten the job done.”
The Red Sox ended an 86 year drought when they won the World Series in 2004.
— Carrie Muskat