10/23 Happy anniversary
Over the weekend, Theo Epstein and his young son Jack walked around Wrigley Field, and saw how the ivy on the outfield wall had changed colors from deep summer green to autumn’s reds and golds.
“It just flashed to how great it would be to be playing baseball at this time of year at Wrigley,” Epstein said Tuesday. “That’s the goal to get there and to get there in a way that allows us to do it year in and year out.”
Friday marks the one-year anniversary of when Epstein took over as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. He didn’t plan on celebrating — the Cubs did lose 101 games in his first year at the helm — and said he was enthused by what’s transpired so far.
“I have a lot more gray hair now than I did a year ago — my wife reminds me of that all the time,” Epstein said. “I do feel really energized by a lot of the things that are going on here.”
One year ago, Epstein felt the Cubs had one player who projected as part of the core they’re trying to develop and that was shortstop Starlin Castro. Today, he feels there are at least half a dozen in the organization, including pitcher Jeff Samardzija, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and prospects Javier Baez, Albert Almora and Jorge Soler.
What also was encouraging was watching future Cubs players in Instructional League in Arizona.
“That was a really nice feeling to be down there and see a lot of dedicated Cubs baseball [operations] personnel, some new, some old, all buying into the collective ‘Cubs way’ of doing things that they helped define, impacting a really talented group of young players,” Epstein said.
“I also wake up every day and recognize we lost 101 games and understand how painful that was for everybody, including me, and that provides further motivation to get out of this position that we’re in,” he said. “I think there were a lot of positives. That core, at least in my mind, went from one player to half a dozen, and if we can do that again in 2013, and we look up and we have close to a dozen players in our core, I’ll feel great about the overall health of the organization. I also want to make the playoffs and I understand that’s a big challenge, so I hope we hit on a few guys this winter and get off to a good start and we have one of those unexpected seasons.”
— Carrie Muskat