Seven years ago around this time, Theo Esptein took over as President of the Chicago Cubs. This franchise was simply a mess and looking at what he did makes his work even more impressive.
It was mid-October, 2011 when Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein shook hands and agreed to work together to bring a World Series back to Chicago. Epstein was officially introduced to the media on October 25, 2011. A day Cubs fans remember a glimmer of hope shining through the dark clouds above old Wrigley Field.
Everyone knew from the start that the goal was to rebuild the system from the ground up and build a team that can sustain contention over a number of years. It was going to take a while, but the wait would be worth it. Fact of the matter is, the franchise was dead. Pure and simple. The team was nowhere even semi-close to competing, the farm system was towards the bottom of the barrel and the stadium was crumbling.
The Ricketts family was just in their second year of ownership during the 2011 season and they were still trying to evaluate what had to be done. It was obvious that the old regime that was still in place when they took ownership after the 2009 season had long run its course and they had to restart.
So as we sit here sad and mad about how the 95-win team did not make it past the Wild Card game, remember, it still beats being a Cubs fan in 2011.