9:43 PM CDT, October 25, 2011
Just guessing the Cubs staged the first sports presser where one guy referenced Milton Waddams and his red Swingline stapler while also dropping in “paradigm lens,’’ “macro-economics’’ and “parallel front.’’
A Yale guy who’s fluent in World Series and pop culture.
Theo Epstein said all the right things colorfully, comfortably and confidently.
He painted a touching picture of Red Sox pennants stuck in gravesites as championship buses motored from Logan Airport in 2004.
He comfortably explained how his leadership is built on a foundation of surrounding himself with the “best and the brightest’’ united in becoming better and brighter.
He confidently laid out the blueprint for success --- not one-time success, but sustained success, and not one World Series, but opportunities for many.
“We’re going to have to grind our way to the top,’’ Epstein said.
In those ways, Epstein already changed the culture of the Cubs. He didn’t say “curse’’ once, just that it has been a long time since the last Cubs championship.
He also didn’t promise immediate gratification the way so many other administrations have. He stressed creating a player development machine and not allocating all available funds for payroll.
It will take time. It will be worth it. That’s one of the big takeaways from Theo, Day One.
Epstein was non-committal on the big free-agency splash, saying he wants to pay for future production, not past performance, Alfonso.
Epstein several times talked about writing a new scouting manual and what sounded like a manual detailing every part of defensive play at every position. Can I get an amen?
Same goes for baserunning, it sounded like. Can I get another amen?
What’s more, whatever traits scouts look for and whatever skills players are expected to master will start at the rookie level and run right through the major leagues. Right through October.
To get to that point, Epstein cited the importance of marrying traditional top-notch scouting and improved cold-eyed statistical analysis. When those “paradigm lenses’’ match up, when the scout says the same thing as the decimal point, bingo!
Epstein addressed a significant cultural change he would demand in the big-league clubhouse: Players will “have each others’ backs,’’ not stick knives in them, Carlos. Amen, hallelujah, from Theo’s lips to God’s ears.
He said all the right things. That was expected. Most of the time, that’s what the new guy does.
But you believed it. I did, anyway, because it was significantly different from other Cubs pressers in significantly forward-looking ways. I believe he’s the right choice with the right ideas and the smarts, authority, resume and lack of pretension to pull it off.
Good luck with your layoffs, all right? I hope your firings go really well.
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