BOSTON (CBS) – Theo Epstein was formally introduced as President of the Chicago Cubs Tuesday afternoon.
“It feels great to be a Cub today,” Epstein said after being introduced by owner Tom Ricketts.
Epstein spent 10 years as general manager of the Boston Red Sox, and ended an 86-year World Series Championship drought in 2004. Now he takes over a team that has not won a title since 1908.
“It truly is a privilege to join a franchise with such honor and tradition,” said Epstein.
Theo Epstein Introduced By Cubs
“To me, baseball is better with tradition. Baseball is better with history. Baseball is better with fans who care. Baseball is better in ballparks like this. Baseball is better during the day. Baseball is best of all when you win. That, ultimately, is why I’m here today.”
“With this ownership and fan support I truly believe we can preserve all those things I just mentioned that make the Cubs so special, and over time, build a consistent winner,” he said.
“A team that is playing baseball in October regularly, and a team that will ultimately win the World Series.”
“But that does not happen overnight and it certainly does not happen because of any one person. Over time, and together, we will build a solid foundation that delivers sustained success for the Cubs.”
Esptein said he wants to build from the ground up and it will begin with the Cubs scouting department.
“It starts with commitment to players and (the) scouting department, not just the words but the actions,” said Epstein.
“We will define and implement ‘A Cubs Way’ of playing the game and we won’t rest until there is a steady stream of talent coming through the minor league system, trained in that Cubs Way, making an impact out here at Wrigley field.”
“When I got to Boston they hadn’t won in 86 years. We didn’t run from that challenge, we embraced it,” said Epstein.
“We felt the best way to attack it was to build the best baseball operation that we could; establish a winning culture, to work as hard as possible, and bring in players who cared more about each other and more about winning than what people around them thought.”
Epstein admitted that
“The two best parts of my job the last decade with the Red Sox, the first thing was helping build a scouting and player development machine from the ground floor. Getting in the trenches with the guys and helping write the player development/scouting manual; building it from the ground up and ultimately producing big league players that helped us win games.”
“The other great thing, probably the best part of being with the Red Sox, was playing a small part in winning that World Series in 2004. Getting to see the looks on people’s faces, the joy that it brought them, the families that were hanging red sox pennants on the graves and cemeteries. That ride from Logan to Fenway where we say business men and women stopping in the middle of the street when they saw our bus, hugging each other when we got out.”
Epstein Introduced By Cubs Part 2
“It really impacted a whole region of the country and generations of families. The Cubs opportunity provides us a forum to both of those things,” said Epstein.
If that time comes the Cubs win a championship, Epstein says it will be much more than a banner.
“It’s going to be more than just a World Series; it’s going to impact a lot of people, a lot Cubs fans, a lot of Cubs families who for a lot of generations have waited and waited for a World Series,” he said. “The two best things about my Red Sox experience I may have a chance to recreate here.”
After a 10-year run with the Red Sox, Epstein said he was ready to move on to his next challenge in his baseball career.
“I was ready for the next challenge and this is certainly the ultimate challenge. I’m ready to embrace it and move forward,” he said.
“Bill Walsh of the 49ers said it best,” said Theo. “After about 10 years in sports, there comes a time when you have to consider change for the benefit not only of the individual involved but also for benefit of the organization. I wouldn’t trade my time with the Red Sox, but I do think it was time to move on. They’re in great hands; they have a terrific future laid out ahead of them.”
The Red Sox will introduce Epstein’s assistant in Boston, Ben Cherington, as their new general manager Tuesday afternoon.
Esptein leaves Boston with one year remaining on his current contract, so one of his first orders of business will be to work out compensation to the Red Sox.