fairn.png
Thursday December 3rd, 2020 9:19PM

Theo Epstein steps down after 9 seasons leading Cubs

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — Listening in on fans' conversations during his walks home from Wrigley Field, Theo Epstein could sense their excitement as the Chicago Cubs set themselves up to capture that long-awaited World Series championship.

It was as if they were all in it together.

“It felt like the lines between fans and front office members and players were blurred because we were all part of this club that was in on a secret,” he said. “We all kind of knew what was about to happen, maybe before the rest of the baseball world did.”

Epstein, who transformed the long-suffering Cubs and helped bring home a drought-busting championship in 2016, is stepping down after nine seasons as the club's president of baseball operations, the team announced Tuesday. General manager Jed Hoyer is being promoted to take Epstein's place.

Epstein said after the season he anticipated remaining on the job for at least one more year, with his contract set to expire in 2021. But he said Tuesday it became apparent this past summer “for a number of reasons” it was time to move on.

“It became really clear that we'd be facing some significant long-term decisions this winter, decisions with long-term impacts,” Epstein said. “Those types of decisions are really best made by somebody who's going to be here for a long time, not just for one more year. ... Jed clearly is that person.”

Chairman Tom Ricketts said it was a “sad day for me personally” and called Epstein a “great partner and truly a great friend.”

“Really, I think the legacy that Theo leaves behind is an organization that expects to win, not an organization that is surprised to win,” Ricketts added.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked financial havoc on baseball, Ricketts said money “had nothing to do” with Epstein's decision. Epstein, who won’t be paid for 2021 by the Cubs, said Ricketts did not bring up his salary when they discussed his future. He also said he was not asked to resign.

The 46-year-old Epstein, who grew up near Boston and helped the Red Sox break an 86-year drought with World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, is one of five executives to win titles with multiple organizations. He, Pat Gillick, John Schuerholz and Dave Dombrowski are the only ones to do so with teams in each league.

Epstein hopes to stay involved with baseball while he plots his next move. He plans to run a team again, though probably not next season. He would like to be part of an ownership group at some point.

“Baseball team owners can be transformed into forces for civic good and help a lot of people and be involved in a lot of the important conversations in the city and be a solution for a lot of issues in cities," Epstein said. “So that does appeal to me. A lot of things would have to go right for that to happen. Usually, for that type of thing to happen you need access to a lot of capital. ... Who knows? Maybe I have plans for some of those things down the line, but a lot would have to go right for that to happen.”

For now, Epstein will remain in Chicago with his wife and two sons. He said he would likely become a season-ticket holder, maybe even a bleacher bum. And he vowed to buy beers for any Cubs fan he sees in a bar following the coronavirus pandemic, until the team wins a World Series under Hoyer.

Epstein oversaw a massive rebuild when he came to Chicago following the 2011 season. He overhauled the farm system as well as the scouting and analytics operations, helping to produce one of the most successful stretches in the franchise’s history with a big assist from Hoyer.

With homegrown stars Kris Bryant and Javier Báez, shrewd trades for players such as Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta, the signing of Jon Lester and the hiring of former manager Joe Maddon, the Cubs transformed into perennial contenders. They reached the NL championship series three times in Epstein's nine seasons.

In 2016, they won 103 games to run away with the NL Central and took out the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS for their first pennant since 1945. The Cubs fell behind 3-1 to the Indians in the World Series before beating them in seven games, ending a title drought dating to 1908.

The Cubs' 505 regular-season victories since 2015 trail only Los Angeles (528) and the Houston Astros (510). Chicago, the Dodgers, New York Yankees and Astros are the only clubs with at least five playoff appearances in the past six seasons. But the Cubs have not advanced in the playoffs since the 2017 team lost to Los Angeles in the NLCS.

In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Chicago won the NL Central but got swept by Miami in the first round of the playoffs.

“If you look at my track record in Boston and then here, in the first six years or so, we did some pretty epic things,” Epstein said. “And then the last couple years weren't as impressive. Maybe what that tells me is I think I'm great at and really enjoy building and transformation and triumphing. Maybe I'm not as good and not as motivated by maintenance.”

Hoyer and Epstein worked together in Boston when the Red Sox won two World Series and reunited when Epstein took the job with the Cubs. In between, Hoyer led San Diego’s baseball operations.

“I have been so fortunate to work alongside Theo for 17 of the last 19 years,” Hoyer said in a statement. “I could not have had a better mentor or a more loyal and trusted friend. He has already changed two storied franchises with his passion, creativity, intellect and leadership. I have no question that the next chapters in his career will be equally impressive and impactful.”

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Amid pandemic, Belgrade street kids find comfort at refuge
For years, a small house tucked away in a Belgrade residential area has been an oasis of warmth and comfort for the Serbian capital's most vulnerable inhabitants _ the street kids
3:23AM ( 12 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What's with the confusion over masks?
A lot of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus comes down to a seemingly simple concept: Wearing a mask
3:04AM ( 30 minutes ago )
The wait is over: Delayed NBA draft finally comes Wednesday
The NBA draft finally arrives Wednesday
2:56AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Wake Forest-Duke football game won't be played
The Atlantic Coast Conference says this weekend’s game between Duke and Wake Forest won’t be played due to coronavirus issues and injuries within the Demon Deacons’ football program
10:55PM ( 4 hours ago )
Play-in tourney on, Olympics likely out for NBA in 2020-21
The 2020-21 NBA schedule will feature a play-in tournament and an NBA Finals that could run all the way until July 22 — keeping some players from competing in the Olympics
9:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
Canada reviewing NBA plan to play in Toronto amid pandemic
The Canadian government is reviewing a proposal from the NBA and the Raptors to play in Toronto amid the pandemic
9:27PM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Sports
Georgia State breaks ground on new 7,300-seat arena
Georgia State has broken ground on a new 7,300-seat basketball arena just north of its football stadium at the former Turner Field
1:13PM ( 14 hours ago )
Lindy McDaniel, MLB reliever for 21 seasons, dies at 84
Lindy McDaniel, an All-Star reliever who appeared in nearly 1,000 major league games over 21 seasons, has died
11:44PM ( 1 day ago )
March Madness in one place? NCAA looking at Indianapolis
The NCAA says it plans to hold the entire 2021 men's college basketball tournament in one location to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus
7:05PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
People go hungry in Ethiopia's Tigray as conflict marches on
People are going hungry in Ethiopia’s rebellious northern Tigray region as roads are blocked, airports are closed and the federal government marches on its capital in a final push to win a two-week war
1:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
Deadline near for hand tally of presidential race in Georgia
Election officials across Georgia are staring down a deadline to complete a hand tally of the presidential race in the state
1:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
A rusty Giuliani returns to the courtroom on Trump's behalf
Rudy Giuliani showed some rust returning to a courtroom as an attorney for the first time in decades as he tried to make a stand in Pennsylvania for President Donald Trump
1:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
FDA allows 1st rapid virus test that gives results at home
U.S. regulators are allowing emergency use of the first rapid coronavirus test that can be done entirely at home
11:28PM ( 4 hours ago )
States tightening anti-virus restrictions amid case surge
A deadly rise in COVID-19 infections is forcing state and local officials to adjust their blueprints for fighting a virus that is threatening to overwhelm health care systems
10:02PM ( 5 hours ago )
Hurricane Iota roars onto Nicaragua as 2nd blow in 2 weeks
Hurricane Iota is tearing across Nicaragua with screeching winds and pounding surf
9:44PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online National News
States plead for more federal help as virus outbreak worsens
States in the U.S. are renewing their push for more federal money to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak and to help them distribute a vaccine when one becomes widely available sometime in 2021
5:59PM ( 9 hours ago )
Pentagon to cut troop levels to 2,500 in Iraq, Afghanistan
Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller has announced plans to reduce U.S. troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan
5:41PM ( 9 hours ago )
Controversial Fed nominee Shelton stalls in Senate test vote
President Donald Trump's controversial nominee to the Federal Reserve has stalled in the Senate after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris returned to the chamber to cast a key vote
5:15PM ( 10 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Asian stocks higher after Wall Street falls on virus worries
Asian stock markets are mostly higher after Wall Street declined as worries about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic tempered hopes for development of a possible vaccine
12:38AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: 6-day lockdown ordered in South Australia state
The Australian state of South Australia will begin a six-day lockdown at midnight Wednesday, with schools, universities, bars and cafes closed
10:55PM ( 4 hours ago )
Asian stocks mixed after Wall Street fall on virus worries
Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street declined as worries about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic tempered enthusiasm about development of a possible vaccine
10:31PM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Angels hire Braves' Perry Minasian as new general manager
Perry Minasian has been named the Los Angeles Angels’ general manager
7:25PM ( 5 days ago )
White Sox say they understand 'seriousness' La Russa case
The Chicago White Sox are sticking with new manager Tony La Russa for now, saying they understand the “seriousness” of his latest drunk driving case and will have more to say once it plays out in court
3:26PM ( 5 days ago )
Stroman, Gausman take $18.9M; Springer, LeMahieu reject
New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman have accepted $18.9 million qualifying offers and gotten one-year deals to stay with their teams rather than test what they could get in free agency
11:15PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Amid pandemic, Belgrade street kids find comfort at refuge
For years, a small house tucked away in a Belgrade residential area has been an oasis of warmth and comfort for the Serbian capital's most vulnerable inhabitants _ the street kids
3:23AM ( 12 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: What's with the confusion over masks?
A lot of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus comes down to a seemingly simple concept: Wearing a mask
3:04AM ( 31 minutes ago )
The wait is over: Delayed NBA draft finally comes Wednesday
The NBA draft finally arrives Wednesday
2:56AM ( 39 minutes ago )
As virus hits Italy's south, some flee troubled health care
The coronavirus pandemic has heightened the urgency of the plight of those seeking medical care in public hospitals in Italy’s economically underdeveloped south
2:50AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Washington has virus case, 3 other teams add to COVID list
The New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders put players on the COVID-19 list on the same day Washington had its first instance of someone in the organization testing positive for the coronavirus since the season began
2:48AM ( 47 minutes ago )