Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein has been the Cubs’ Santa

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

If you could go back, to the before time, you would remember the Chicago Cubs without Theo Epstein. It wasn’t pretty, and the long-term ramifications weren’t good. Things have changed, and we all should be happy with what we have.

Every fan of the Chicago Cubs is different. Some have taken things in stride and weren’t bothered that the Cubs didn’t win it all this year. Others? Well, they were disappointed in the Cubs’ effort and were calling for Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein’s job. To some, anybody could have won with the Cubs in 2016. But now that they’ve lost, and the Cubs aren’t spending the money they should be to get the players that most want? Bah, humbug!

The Cubs have been to the NLCS three consecutive times, with a World Series in the middle of it. The thought? If the Cubs are “content” with just playoff appearances and lowered the bar (seriously?), they aren’t going to win another championship. I’ve seen that more than a few times on our Facebook page, and it’s merely insanity.

Taking over in a tough time

Epstein took the reigns of the Cubs in a time that wasn’t great. They had been through several managers. They had been saddled with big contracts, and there wasn’t much hope looking ahead. And Epstein, without hesitation, told the fans the hard truth. It wasn’t going to be easy. They were going to lose. A lot. But in the end, the “wish” would pay off as the Cubs would win the World Series in 2016. It was something that many hadn’t believed would happen during their lifetime.

Here’s the thing. Epstein has put together a team that is going to be competitive for years to come. People are complaining that if they aren’t “going for it,” they’re giving up. If we want to find ourselves in another Jim Hendry era, that’s the way to go. But Epstein has built this team from the ground up. First with positional players, and slowly with pitchers.

A down year?

It may have been a “down year,” and it resulted in a division championship and another trip to the NLCS. This was the year following the World Series. Call it a hangover. A letdown. But they aren’t the first team to go through it. So if the Cubs have the chance to deal with the hangover again? Most will gladly take it.

Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod have built the Cubs from the bottom. It was the decision to go and get Maddon when he became available. There was nothing wrong with Rick Renteria. But the front office didn’t believe Renteria had what it took. But they did in Maddon. The Cubs were right.

Changes made

Last season, the Cubs didn’t meet expectations. Overall, they weren’t that bad. But when given a chance, the Cubs made changes again. And again, it was about the coaches available more so than what they had. The team isn’t just trying to get better on the roster side, but the coaches side, too.

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Epstein brought a World Championship to Wrigley Field in less than five years. He’s made us competitive in a division that the St. Louis Cardinals dominated for years. Cy Young, MVP, Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove winners, etc. All part of the players he’s brought into Chicago.

So it’s time to appreciate Epstein for what he’s done. It’s easy to think that the “next guy” can do a better job. But often, they live off the success for a few years that the last guy had. Then, when it’s all on them? It doesn’t work out. Appreciate Theo. Thank Joe. Five years ago, this wasn’t a conversation I thought we’d be having. I’m content with this. Merry Christmas, Cubs’ fans!