Holy frickin’ cowOctober 1, 2019
By PAUL BOWEN
blood, dirt &angels
Sports Editor Emeritus
IF THEO EPSTEIN INVITES YOU UP TO HIS ROOM FOR A DRINK, DON’T GO.
The Chicago Cubs didn’t make the playoffs this year for the first time since the arrival of Joe Maddon to the Friendly Confines in 2015. They weren’t bad. Hell, historically speaking, 84-78 would typically be cause for dancing in Addison Street. But expectations changed after they won the World Series in 2016. Indeed, the Chicago Tribune reported that Cubs GM, former boy genius Theo Epstein, said that the Cubs didn’t sufficiently build on that unlikely success in 2016, unlikely it being the Cubs and all. And so, Epstein called Maddon up to his room Saturday night where, after sharing what Joe described as “several” bottles of wine, they agreed it was time for a change.
Which is too bad. Maddon brought competent baseball to the banks of Lake Michigan. And he did so with a smile on his face and with a sense of humor that might have been called “zany” back when the decidedly dour Leo Durocher was in the dugout. They made the playoffs four times under Maddon. The Cubs won the one and only World Series in their mostly sorry 108 year existence with Joe at the controls. So naturally he was canned. But don’t put Joe Maddon on your prayer list just yet. He will land on his feet. I mean, my God. He won the World Series with the Cubs. THE CUBS!
My question is: who is Epstein going to hire that’s going to produce much better results? Face it. We ain’t exactly talking a franchise that is the very model of stability. Like say, I dunno, and boy are you Cubs fans gonna hate this, the Cardinals. Maybe y’all can go back to the curse of the Billy Goat and the ghost of Lee Elia and all that other stuff that worked for the first 108 years. And Wrigley can go back to being basically a national park.
One other observation for what it’s worth. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things, Theo. There is no crying in baseball. And firing somebody over a nice leggy Pinot with good mouth feel has no place in a game whose secrets are best passed on during long bus rides in AA with guys named Bulldog and Scrap Iron while passing around a pint of Fighting Cock.
That sound you hear emanating from down Florida way is George Steinbrenner making like a gyroscope. This is no way to start the next 108 years.