1/11 Growing up
Theo Epstein plans on introducing a rookie development program with the Cubs similar to one he created with the Red Sox. Hopefully, such a program will help future Cubs avoid what happened to Starlin Castro. Chicago police want to question Castro about sexual assault charges from an incident last September that became public last week. No charges have been filed and Castro’s agents call the accusations “baseless.” Epstein said Wednesday now was not the time to comment on the matter.
A rookie development program definitely has merits.
“When you have a lot of young players at the big-league level,” Epstein said, “often times you forget just how new they are to this whole thing -– professional baseball, the responsibility that comes with it, the importance of representing the organization the right way (and) being a good teammate.
“Organizations that just assume that they’ll figure it out on their own make a big mistake,” he said. “[We’re going to] teach them what’s it’s like to be a big-leaguer, set the expectations for them and give them tools on how to meet those expectations, everything from how to deal with the media to how to say ‘no’ to people off-the-field that want things from them.
“[It’s] how to properly handle themselves in the hotel or out on the town,” he said. “It’s an important part. You can’t make assumptions that guys know how to handle themselves. You need to work with them. You want an organization that projects the right image.
“To make a positive impact on the community, you have to work to get it. The players are the ones who are going to dictate how that goes. We need to support them every step of the way.”
Castro will be at the Cubs Convention this weekend. Manager Dale Sveum met the shortstop in mid November and wasn’t aware of the charges at that time.
“I don’t really know the details of all of it, but I don’t think it’s going to affect [him],” Sveum said. “Right now it’s what it is and I think it’s being taken care [of through the proper channels].”
Sveum said he tries to treat the players as grown men.
“I’ve raised my children and sometimes you do have to treat a lot of these players like they’re your children,” he said. “Guys get misled. They don’t quite understand sometimes how to handle the off-field activities, so to speak, especially when you’re in a big city like Chicago.
“You do a lot of talking,” he said. “Communication helps out, but the bottom line is they’re grown men. So they have to grow up on their own sometimes, too.”
— Carrie Muskat