Day One of the Theo Epstein era got off to a rousing start today with his highly-anticipated introductory press conference at Wrigley Field. As with all Day Ones—replete with inspiring rhetoric that lift the spirits of any downtrodden fan base—there is reason for optimism. But it’s going to take a lot of work for Epstein to pull the organization out of the abyss where it currently wallows. Epstein said it himself, “that does not happen overnight.”
I’m giving him three years.
About a thousand days from today we’ll be approaching the 2014 trade deadline at which point Epstein will be making the final key acquisitions to push the Cubs to their first World Series championship in 106 years…
Obviously, only time will tell, but there are plenty of reasons for Cubs fans to be optimistic today. Epstein outlined his plan to resurrect the ailing franchise which “starts with a commitment to scouting and player development” and is supplemented by shrewd free agent expenditures that “pay for future performance, not past performance.”
“We’re going to build the best baseball operation we can. We’re going to change the culture. Our players are going to change the culture along with us in the major league clubhouse. We’re going to make building a foundation for sustained success a priority. That will lead to playing October baseball more often than not. Once you get in in October there’s a legitimate chance to win the World Series.”
Those all sound like solid tenets for success and huge departures from what the previous regime practiced. In what seemed like another departure from Cubs’ policies of the past, while Epstein wouldn’t divulge specific numbers, he went on to say he will have “more than enough resources here to win,” suggesting an ability to expand the payroll when the time comes.
All these things give a Cubs fan hope. We all just need to remember this is only the first step on a long journey. Patience isn’t an easy quality to exhibit when your team hasn’t won a World Series since Ford produced its first Model T, but that’s what it’s going to take. A thousand days from now we’ll know if it was worth getting our hopes up.