CHICAGO, July 31, 2013– For all of the avid, radical and die-hard Cub fans, the baseball gods are smiling down on Chicago’s storied franchise. While those fans, including the Media and the casual on looker, failed to realize Rome was not built in one day, the Ricketts family and Theo Epstein consistently said the job was to build a “sustainable winner” from the first day Theo took over the Job as President of Baseball Operation nearly two years ago.
The Ricketts and Theo demolished the club, cleaned the debris and are rebuilding a machine that will produce talent, win games and possibly bring a championship to the deprived citizens of Cubdom. It has been 104 years since Chicago has won a World Series. While fans are still craving for the nine year run of success Theo had in Boston, the Cubs are only in year two of the three to five-year plan to create a winning culture.
Before the ink dried on the $18 million five-year contract Theo Epstein signed barely two years ago, “Theo-logy” t-shirts were flooding the streets of Chicago. The fans started to believe that the “Cubbie Occurrence” was turning to the “Cubs’ Way,” which now show that the Front office is “#Committed” to a winning culture.
During the first two years of being “#Committed,” Chicago has seen the retooling of the front office and scouting department, the arduous upgrade of the farm system and securing stadium renovation funding. The Cubs are on the right track for success. There is a lot on the plate of the Ricketts, Theo and company, but the Cubs are heading in the right direction.
Once Theo signed his name on the dotted line, immediate changes to the Cubs hierarchy were quickly put in place. Within weeks, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod were hired to help begin the focus of developing the Cubs Way. Several officials from the previous regime were assigned to lesser roles in the organization or showed the exit.
Statisticians and Sabermetrics purists were brought in to advance the transition from traditional to modern operations. A manual that was dubbed the “Cubs Way” was developed to add a consistency model to all levels in the organization. This started with the International operations, every level of the minor league affiliates and the Major League Club.
Before The Ricketts took over the Cubs in October 2009, prospect development was not even the priority. The Cubs’ farm system was floundering around 28th or the worse in the league. Between 2009 and 2011, the Cubs had two prospects in top 100, Brett Jackson ranked 28th and Josh Vitters ranked 69th. Within those two years, a great exit draft by Jim Hendry along with Theo’s commitment to sustaining a winning culture, the Cubs farm system ranks fifth according to Keith Law of ESPN.
Redundancy creates competition, which helps keep any big league organization competitive. Theo drafted and signed an intriguing mixture of franchise changing players. Although Javier Baez pre-dates Theo’s arrival, he has thrived in the aforementioned Cubs Way theme. Baez has jumped three minor league levels under the watchful eye of Theo and company.
Javier Baez’ torrid bat speed and power has Cubs fans salivating and christening him the franchise savior. Baez, however, is not the only prospect the Cubs have either signed or drafted that has catapulted the Cubs in the right direction of breaking the 104 year curse. Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, Arismendy Alcantara, Juan Carlos Panigua, Arodys Vizcaino, Daniel Vogelbach, Kris Bryant, Mike Olt, and Junior Lake are all prospects to be excited about over the next few years.
During the middle of last year’s dreadful 101 loss season, Tom Ricketts was proposing a stadium renovation plan to the city council to update the Iconic features of Wrigley Field. Much to the chagrin of the Wrigleyville neighborhood, the renovation plan was met with opposition, most notably the Roof Owners.
The Ricketts want to add advertising and a 1000-foot jumbotron to add revenue streams. The Rooftop Owners (a private ownership of various apartment rooftops that provide seating to view the game) feel the Jumbotron will impede the view of certain locations. Local residents feel the Jumbotron will become a gaudy eye sore. Historians feel a Wrigley Field renovation will destroy part of its landmark status.
However, renovations are needed to improve the quality of baseball that is played at Wrigley. Options of moving the franchise have been mulled over. Recently, a majority of the renovation proposals have been approved, which quieted the relocation of the Cubs. The only item still in discussion is the approval of the 1000-foot jumbotron.
Theo’s vision that was laid out once he took over the Cubs looks to be going according to plan. 2015 looks like a viable year to consider the Cubs a threat in the NL Central. Cubs fans need to be be patient because if you look close enough, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel…Stay “#Committed.”
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