Theo Epstein has Resigned as President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and I Am Sad

Photo: SFGate

Damn…what a ride.

This morning, news broke that Theo Epstein would be stepping down as President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, effective immediately. Epstein joined the Cubs in October 2011, and completely transformed an organization known for being long time losers into consistent post season appearances, success, and of course, World Series champions.

Epstein noted in his press conference this afternoon that the original plan was to transition out of his position in October 2021. However, with important roster and organizational decisions coming this offseason, he believed it best that those who would be with the Cubs longer-term should be making those decisions.

The now former President of Baseball Operations has always maintained that 10 years is about the maximum he would ever stay at job, and he is holding true to his word. In his presser this afternoon, he noted there was “no sense of burnout. I enjoy building, transformation, and accomplishing. Maybe I’m not as great at maintenance. After a while, I need a new challenge, and with the Cubs in a state of change with the roster, it felt like the right time.”

This sucks. Epstein has been the face of the Cubs for the past nine years. His list of accomplishments and the stories that have come out of his tenure is as impressive as it is long. I watched the press conference this morning, and wanted to outline some of the best moments and quotes.

  • When asked about his overall feelings about his time with the Cubs: “A life changing experience, the best part being the relationships and connections I’ve made along the way.” Epstein continued “Our goals were to build a foundation of sustained success and build a team that would win a World Series for the Chicago Cubs. It was not perfect, but we did it.”
  • Describing Cubs fans: “The depth of the connection with the fans, how intimate and easily shared…is really is different here, thanks to [the fans]. Right as we started to turn the corner, walking home from a game, I could ease drop on conversations that were so optimistic, it was such a special time. The lines between fans, team, and front office members were blurred. We all knew what was going to happen before it did.”
  • On the 2016 World Series victory: “Such a privilege to run into strangers and hear what the World Series meant to them.”

Jed Hoyer, current Cubs General Manger, will take over as the new President of Baseball Operations. Hoyer joined the Cubs with Theo initially as GM, and has more than earned this promotion. Epstein believes he is leaving the Cubs in incredibly able hands: “[Hoyer] ensures great continuity, and is also realistic in ways we need to change and get better” he said.

Additionally, Theo ensured Cubs fans that Hoyer “does not need me over his shoulder…he is ready, willing, and able.” He supported his claim by giving an anecdote on the now famous trade with the Baltimore Orioles that brought a struggling Jake Arrieta to the North Side, and as we now all know, to the MLB Awards stage as the 2015 Cy Young Award winner. Epstein said that Hoyer kept “banging the table” for an additional throw in on the trade, saying that the throw in must be included in the trade or the Cubs would walk away from the trading table. That throw in at the time, was a relief pitcher with a woeful career 4.82 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. That “meaningless” throw in was named Pedro Stop, who like Arrieta, resureccted his career in Chicago to become one of the best relief pitchers in team history.

This, and many other reasons, has Epstein feeling confident that the Cubs are in great long term shape as he proceeds with a peaceful transfer of power. Epstein noted that while he anticipates he will eventually return to baseball, for now, he and his family will continue to live in Chicago, and be Cubs season ticket holders moving moving forward. He noted that now he can enjoy the bleacher bum experience, and when he does, “it will feel like home.”

While this is a sad day, I also cannot help but feel happy. This nine-year stretch has been the best in Cubs history, and I feel lucky to have been able to see it from the foundation to the peak of baseball. Thank you, Theo Epstein, for putting all that you did into the organization for as long as you did, and bringing Cubs fans like me success that we only dreamt of before you came to Chicago.

Sunday State of Mind: November 9th-November 15th

Photo: Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Another weekend come and gone…let’s reflect on the week that was in this weeks SSM.

The Miami Marlins, shattering the ceiling
The team has hired the first female GM, an absolute awesome feeling
Kim Ng has been hired to run the show for the Marlins
Here’s hoping it all goes well, and she leads the team to many wins

The 2020 Masters was as always a treat
Dustin Johnson, simply could not be beat
Yes DJ took home his first green jacket
He’s the #1 golfer in the world, in his own bracket

The Bills and Cardinals, holy shit
Kyler to DeAndre, Cards didn’t quit
On the last extra point, the Cards took a knee
An incredible cover, for those who had Buffalo +3

The Tompa Bay Bucs got back on track
TB12 with four touchdowns, put the team on his back
Ronald Jones went yard with a 98-yard score
The Buccaneers are gelling more and more

The White Sox Hired Tony La Russa and…Yikes.

Woof.

The Chicago White Sox are one of the most young, exciting teams in baseball. They have a treasure trove of young talent not only on the major league roster, but still coming up through their farm system. The South Siders made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2008, but were eliminated in the first round by the Athletics.

Due to “differences of opinion” regarding analytics and strategy in general, the team relieved manager Rick Rentería of his duties after the season. In doing so, the Sox created for themselves a great opportunity to sign a dynamic, exciting manager to take this young group with an enormous skillset and lead them to a championship, right?

WRONG.

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your new manager of The Chicago White Sox….

This guy.

Tony La Russa: seventy-six year old, hasn’t managed since 2011, Tony La Russa.

As you’ll notice in the picture above, the man is a Hall of Famer, a fact you can’t deny. However, isn’t that a reason not to hire him? His last managing gig with the Cardinals ended when he retired nine years ago. Per Baseball Reference, La Russa holds a career record of 2,728-2,365 in 35 years of managing the White Sox (for the first time), Athletics, and Cardinals. He last managed the White Sox in 1986. One of the White Sox’s best players, Luis Robert, was born 11 years after, in 1997.

The White Sox roster is full of young, lively talent. Tony La Russa is a baseball dinosaur who has been in the sport since 1963, when he made his playing debut with Oakland. This enormous age gap can cause major issues. How does a man capture the attention and respect of a group of studs 50 years his minor? I just don’t see it.

Now, with as loaded of a roster as the White Sox have put together, this could very well work out. At some point, the manager of a baseball team simply cannot lose if he’s given the right combination and talent and potential. If you’re a White Sox fan, you can only hope your new geriatric leader lets his guys be themselves and take the next step that they clearly have enough talent to take.

Sunday State of Mind: October 19th-October 25th

Photo: Frank McKenna on Unsplash

We took a bit of a break from SSM last week. We couldn’t be more excited to return, please enjoy.

Dodgers and Rays, not even here
To talk about tonight’s game, because Saturday was so weird
Game Four ended with two errors and a slip
It was so insane, an absolute trip

A sentence I thought I would never say
Things aren’t going great with the Patriot Way
Three picks for Cam, and a loss to San Francisco
After all their success, hard to feel bad for New England Massholes

Big 10 Football is back, and we had a wild one
Indiana beat Penn State on a last second run
The call was so close, and was impossible to call
How can you not love college football?

On the flip side of college football, Jaylen Waddle
Sadly fractured his ankle while going full throttle
Another week one star, Badger QB Graham Mertz
Tested positive for COVID, both injuries must hurt

Sunday State of Mind: October 5th-October 11th

Photo: Amanda Phung on Unsplash

SSM after dark! Some late night sports poetry to send you into your week.

We’ve crowned a new champ, The Lakers have won
LeBron, AD, and the squad made sure The Heat were done
With the win comes the end of the NBA bubble
King James lead the way with a series winning triple double

Huge comeback story in the NFL
Alex Smith is back, that’s a buy, not a sell
Even if his team lost, him being back was a great scene
A rare feel good story for The Washington Football Team

Opposite Alex Smith, poor Dak Prescott
His seasons over, and the ankle’s shot
If you haven’t seen the video, I would suggest not
The pressure on Jerry Jones now has to feel quite hot

Moving on to the MLB
The bracket’s down to four teams to see
Who will take home the World Series Trophy
Since it won’t be The Cubs, it doesn’t matter to me

Sunday State of Mind: September 28th-October 4th

Sunday evening: a time to sit back, reflect on your weekend, and read this week’s SSM.

The NBA Finals is in full swing
The Heat are decimated, The Lakers are getting the ring
It probably was always going to end this way
With only Jimmy Butler for Miami, and LeBron and AD for LA

The MLB playoffs have advanced a round
Only half of the playoff teams are left and still taking the mound
It is a bit sad, that we won’t have a chance
For a Cubs/White Sox World Series, since neither advanced

Russell Wilson continues to be
In this blogger’s opinion, NFL MVP
He balled out again today, carved Miami with a knife and fork
Don’t think we forgot though, he’s still a dork

The big NFL story, another COVID outbreak
Cam Newton tested positive, a sad truth to take
The cases are clearly rising in the NFL
I think we all wish this virus would just go to hell

Sunday State of Mind: September 21st-September 27th

Sunday, it’s here…so is this week’s SSM. Let’s hop in:

Last week of baseball, wrapping as we speak
The MLB made it through, and reached their seasons’s peak
The postseason starts next week, will be a wild story
To see who takes home the COVID World Series Trophy

The NBA is winding down, Lakers took out the Nugs
The Heat and Celts could be done soon, makes me sadly shrug
Either way, it’ll be the Lakers and LeBron
A few more games and before you know it, the NBA will be gone

The NHL is also close to closing out their year
The Lightning and Stars are wrapping up, with their grown out playoff beards
If the Lightning win on Monday, they’ll be hoisting up Lord Stanley
If the Stars pull it out, we’re talking game 7, the cup won’t be won handily

Your NFL surprise of the year, the Chicago Bears
Moved to 3-0 today, and this writer cares
Trubisky was benched, Nick Foles was the hero
Who would’ve thought after three weeks the Bears losses would be at zero?

Sunday State of Mind: September 14th-September 20th

Photo: Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Wow…what a week in sports. Let’s dive into it with this week’s Sunday State of Mind.

Hate to say it, but you already know
Your new US Open Champion, Bryson DeChambeau
Took the trophy home today at Winged Foot
He may be a dork, but can’t argue with his output

Huge injuries came in the NFL
McCaffrey and Saquon, dammit to hell
McCaffrey may be OK, but the Giants fear
That Saquon will be done for the year

Justin Verlander announced that he is gone
The old righty said he needs Tommy John
Three no hitters, two Cy Youngs and a World Series ring
In the world of pitching, Verlander was a king

The Miami Heat continue to cause trouble
They’re the biggest story of the NBA bubble
Two wins away from the NBA Finals
Winning with defense and ball movement, old school like vinyl

Sunday State of Mind: August 31st-September 6th

Photo: Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Enjoy this holiday weekend SSM.

The sometimes awful world of social media
This week gained a baseball encyclopedia
That’s right folks, the GOAT, Vin Scully has decided to join
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, excited for Vin to get going

Deshaun Watson, Texans quarterback, got his big contract extension
Four years, $160 million, no need for any pension
Watson’s not only a good quarterback, but a good man
This, this, and this, consider me a fan

This weekend we had a small dose of college football
Admittedly weak slate, biggest team playing was Marshall
Still good to see some shoulder pads popping
Hopefully the college football season won’t be stopping

Sunday State of Mind: August 24th-August 30th

Photo: Photo by Kunal Shinde on Unsplash

Happy Sunday evening, all. Please enjoy this late night version of SSM.

Boycotts and protests, all over sports
NBA, MLB, NHL, demonstrations of all sorts
Athletes taking a social lead
No way you haven’t seen it, all over social media feeds

Alex Smith, the comeback is here
Did a full team practice, in half-padded gear
Any good news for the Washington Football Team
The owner, Dan Snyder, a piece of shit it seems

The MLB hot stove is totally back!
Baseball trades are here, good players and hacks
Jose Martinez, Mitch Moreland, and Tommy La Stella
All have new homes, big moves for these fellas

The NBA Playoffs are moving along
Celtics took it to the Raptors, beat them like a gong
The Lakers, Clippers, and Bucks, have all advanced
The quality of remaining teams has highly enhanced