Thursday, October 13, 2011

ROL: Cubs Hire Theo Epstein.

ROL (Return on Life) is a qualitative metric modeled on the quantitative metric, ROI (return on investment). The concept behind ROL is to make small incremental changes in habits that generate a disproportionately greater increase in QOL (Quality of Life).
An Introduction.
If you find the world of professional sports as exciting as a collection of belly button lint, you may want to stop reading now. I'm going to be talking baseball. I will eventually get on to other stuff, but I'm starting with baseball. Forewarned is well...forewarned.

Source: Wikipedia
I have a confession. I am a lifelong Cubs fan. Being a Cubs fan involves more disappointment, frustration and embarrassment than and and all the jokes about being a Cubs fan, but according to the news on Wednesday all that disappointment, frustration and embarrassment may be coming to an end. The Cubs are going to hire Theo Epstein, formerly of the Red Sox, as their baseball sherpa. Epstein's mission is to lead the Cubs up baseball's Everest and deliver Cub fans a World Series victory.
Anyone Can Have 
A Bad Century.
Both the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox shared one major distinction for the majority of the 20th century.  Neither team had won the World Series since the end of World War I. Legend has it that both team's World Series droughts were due to a curse.
  • The Red Sox had the curse of the Bambino. Before the 1920 season  the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth, baseball's best pitcher to the New York Yankees. Ruth became the greatest home run hitter baseball has ever seen. The Yankees won a bunch of World Series. The Red Sox had to wait until 2004.
  • The Cubs have the curse of the billy goat. During the 1945 World Series versus Detroit, Sam Sianis (owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and the billy goat in question) was asked to take his goat and go home, because the goat smelled awful. (I've been in the bleachers in Wrigley Field. The goat gets a bum rap on the smell thing). Sianis, angry due to the eviction, said "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs haven't been to the World Series since.
The Red Sox, cursed due to selling the contract of the eventual greatest baseball player ever. The Cubs, cursed due to the eviction of a future victim of Santeria. Did I mention disappointment, frustration and embarrassment?

Source: Wikipedia
The Red Sox made Theo Epstein General Manager before the 2003 season. The team broke the curse of the Bambino by winning the World Series in 2004. Epstein's baseball acumen regarding key player acquisitions is largely credited with the Red Sox exorcising the baggage associated with jettisoning Babe Ruth. Therefore, Epstein is considered a primary requisite to break the longest running losing streak in professional sports.
Who Doesn't Need An Epstein?
If you watch TV, listen to the radio or pay attention to annoying pop-up ads, everyone is pitching a Theo Epstein. Virility, diet, investing, residual income, complexion and even house cleaning has a one item magic answer. (Anyone have a Roomba?) But Theo Epstein didn't become Theo Epstein by magic. Epstein got a degree from Yale and started at the bottom rung, the PR department of the San Diego Padres. He worked hard, learned his craft and eventually had a hand in the Boston Red Sox winning 2 World Series. In addition to hard work, Epstein is also a success because he is willing to make a tough choice and perhaps be wrong. (Anyone remember John Lackey? Maybe he's selling Roomba's.) So hard work, dedication, discipline and more hard work leads to magic. Go figure.

Note: As I prepare to publish this post, the Cubs have yet to set a press conference to announce the hiring of Theo Epstein. Did I mention disappointment, frustration and embarrassment?


  1. It will be interesting to see what Theo pulls off and how much $$ he's given. He made some great moves and some brave moves. Getting rid of fan favorite Nomahhh in the middle of 2004 was incredibly gutsy. He also made some bad moves, Lackey, Crawford, J.D. Drew, etc... But if in 2000 you asked anyone in Boston, "If your new GM wins not one, but two World Series in a five year period, would you let him stay on another 10 years?" I'm sure they would say yes.

  2. Theo will eventually get a big budget but not right off the bat. Wrigley Field is in need of major capital improvement and the Cubs have one of the worst streams of ancillary revenue. He also needs to build a staff and determine exactly what he has in the farm system. By that time Soriano's contract will be off the books (provided the Cubs don't give him and $$$$) to someone else. Theo leaves a town where he raised the bar in terms of baseball. If he pulls it off in Chicago he goes to the Hall. By the way, I am sure you remember where Nomar landed. Did I mention frustration, disappointment and embarrassment?