I want to start off giving some full disclosure. I am a White Sox fan. A huge White Sox fan. Don't get me wrong though I'm not one of those meatball fans that is completely anti-Cub, because the way I look at it they are still a Chicago team. The only time I truly root against the Cubs is when they play the White Sox and at that point I want the Cubs to lose bad.
So with that all said, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Theo Epstein. I had followed Theo when he first got the job as the Red Sox General Manager mainly because he was only a year or two older than I was and I always had looked at the MLB General Manager as an "old mans club." The fact that someone in their twenty's would be given such a great job, he must be special. All I really knew about this man was from reports on ESPN and how much he was respected in Boston.
Theo has only been in town a few weeks. He hasn't really made any player moves yet, but I couldn't be more impressed with what I've seen. First off I love his philosophy of him being the team president, and bringing in others to do the General Manager and Director of Scouting positions. Not to mention the fact he is only concentrating on the baseball side of things and not the business portion. Now I know this concept isn't new in baseball and many teams use it, but it seems like a completely different approach on the North Side.
During his initial news conference I couldn't help but get drawn in on every word he said. He gave his plan and what he wanted to see happen. He didn't just give the typical answers you expect from all of these news conferences. Even the cliches he delivered seemed original. Theo could have been giving an infommercial that day and I would have bought whatever item he was selling. To quote David Spade from the movie Tommy Boy, "He could sell a ketchup popsicle to a man in white gloves."
Then there was the Quade situation. Anyone who follows the Cubs and even Mike Quade himself probably thought the chances of him returning as manager were slim and none. This isn't uncommon when a new GM takes over because typically they want their own guy calling the shots on the field. Theo and his new staff did spend a whole day meeting with Quade and trying to get to know the man and his philosophy on managing before any decision would be made. They didn't need to do this. When they did decide they needed a new manager, Theo flew down to Florida and personally met with Quade to tell him they were going in a new direction. Quade and Theo never worked together barely knew each other. To actually fly out and tell Mike Quade in person is nothing but class. I'm sure Quade expected nothing more than a phone call and that actually would have been acceptable. But that's not how Theo does things.
Next we have the Ryne Sandberg managerial situation. Most Cubs fans have wanted Ryno to be their skipper for several years now. He was beloved as a player by the fan base and if you asked most Cubbie fanatics they would hire Sandberg immediately. Theo expressed in his press conference that he wanted a new culture for the Cubs, and with that logic Sandberg wouldn't be bringing in a new culture. Epstein was upfront and honest from the beginning and publically announced that Sandberg wouldn't be considered for the opening. This was a risky thing to do, but the right thing to do. The fact that Theo called Sandberg to let him know he wouldn't be considered was once again not necessary, but also showed class.
Epstein hasn't put together a coaching staff or improved the roster as of yet. There is no guarantee the Cubs will be better with Theo running the show. If the first few weeks are any indication though, the Cubs made the right move and should also see the results on the field sooner than later.