"We can't speed it up, we can't make time move faster."

-Theo Epstein on with CSN

I led a very sped up life Monday through Friday. My day is speckled with time markers which help move along the monotony of everyday adult life a bit faster. "Just get to the 11am meeting. Just get to lunch. Just get to your 3 pm coffee refill. Just get to 5 pm. Just get home." Sometimes the world around me moves in a blur with very few details piercing the veil of "stuff" I've put between me and reality. It helps me make it from Monday to Friday, but in the process I lose a lot of the nuance that makes up life. I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy the absurdity of the human existence.

Unfortunately for me, stopping to appreciate the little things doesn't last for very long. Human nature has developed to need instant gratification or enough distractions to make the waiting easier and I've definitely gone along for the ride. It's Quixotic to wax against the way we're headed, we're going to keep wanting faster and quicker and better and we'll want it now. It's just how it is.

Lost in our quest for the next now is how we interpret processes that do take time. Why does this construction project take so long? Why is my checkout lane not moving faster? Where did all this traffic come from? Why aren't the Cubs good yet?

The last tidbit there is why we're here, really. I remember how overwhelmingly positive the fan reaction was to Theo's hiring, and how it remained positive even as he said things that meant time would be the main ingredient to the Cubs rebuilding effort. Time would be the crux holding the whole thing together. Time is what the Cubs needed and they would take time to build this project up.

Baseball's learning curve is just different than the other sports. Sure, Mike Trout, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have all made it to the major league level and are playing very well but they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Baseball is an athletic competition governed by skills and learning those skills takes time. Recognizing and differentiating a curveball from a fourseam fastball from a changeup from a sinker takes time and repetition. Good fielding mechanics, solid baserunning, pitchability, all of that takes time and repetition. It's not immediate.

The fruits of the Cubs' labor have yet to fully show themselves. Our dreams reside in minor league stadiums and in the red country of Arizona. It's entirely possible that the Cubs will fail, the prospects will bust out and this will be a Pittsburgh Pirates situation, but it's too early to tell one way or the other. As Louis CK said, just give it a minute.

I don't know what happens for this organization in 5 years, I just know what I think will happen. It's fine to believe as you believe, but the certainty of an opinion in either direction bothers me.

We just don't know right now.

We need some more time.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: Baseball, Cubs, mlb, time


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  • One day, during the Theo Epstein regime, the Cubs will be a great team. The certainty of my opinion in this particular direction may bother YOU, but it doesn't bother me in the least!

  • In my opinion, the Pirates situation doesn't look bad right now. You are correct, though, that none of us really "know" what is going to happen. We only know what we expect to happen.

    And I agree with you on the skill level required in baseball. It's been said that the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. There have been some great athletes who couldn't hit a baseball (see Jordan, M). Probably the second hardest thing to do in sports is miss bats.

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    In reply to GAHillbilly:

    I'd take the exact opposite stance on Jordan...after not playing a sport since high school he stepped into AA (the third highest professional level in the US!) at 31! While I certainly wouldn't call it a successful stint, I would have to believe if he had been doing that since high school he would have been pretty good at it.

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    ..Yet the only team that took a shot on him had the same owner as his basketball team. He was alright. Not close to good.

  • Nice Dali reference - although I have to say, I was thinking Culture Club when I saw the title (and then The Chambers Brothers).

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    I use him when I can. I love Dali.

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    In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Definitely check out his museum in St. Petersburg, FL, if you ever get the chance...great place to get lost for a day!

  • In reply to Matt McNear:

    I'll have to do that, Dali inspires me in a lot of different ways.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    Grant me patience Lord, but hurry.

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    When will the Cubs be better? I am starting to have serious doubts about their financial strength, and it seems like baseball finances have taken a quantum leap upward in the past 5 years. I don't see a new radio or TV deal bringing in a lot of added revenue to the team, certainly not enough to compete with the big boys. I don't see ANY progress on the stadium renovation designed to bring in more money. I haven't heard any concrete answers from Ricketts regarding how the structure of the sale affects their ability to spend - all I keep hearing is, when the time comes, the money will be there. It's easy to keep saying that as you keep pushing the time frame back. Building a perennial winner on the basis of drafting and scouting alone is a long, difficult process - and so far I only see two teams out of 30 that have been able to that with any sort of consistency - St Louis and Tampa.
    Then, too, things feed back on each other. The team is not lucrative for a big broadcast deal because the product is bad. It's hard to attract free agents without overpaying, because they want to play for a winner. Ticket sales are down because, well, you know why. 250,000 fewer tickets sold in 2013 translated to $17 mil in lost revenue. You have to spend money to win, but you have to win to make money. Which comes first?
    We really need to win the Tanaka sweepstakes, both for reasons of reality and perception. We need to win, and to be seen as a team trying to win. Otherwise it's a downward spiral that can be very hard to pull out of, even for a mighty brand as the Chicago Cubs.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I don't know if they need to win the Tanaka sweepstakes.

    As far as the financials go, I don't do too well with forecasting that stuff. I tend to stick to baseball there. In talking to various people I've gotten the impression that there is a TV money bubble that is ready to burst. So, perhaps saving now for later isn't an awful deal.

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    I think they have to win Tanaka because of financial.

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    In reply to SKMD:

    Yeah, the Cubs missed the boat on the windfall financial deals. I work on that industry and I see where TV is headed. Ten years from now, most sports teams will have their own on demand networks and will generate 100% of ad revenues in house. Television stations know this, and they are loathe to pay up with the landscaping changing much quicker than originally expected. Cable television as we know it will be a dead medium by 2025.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    They said the same thing about 8 tracks. lol

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    An on-demand network were Cubs keep 100% of subscriber and advertiser fees is a potential bonanza for the Cubs though. And, unlike the Dodgers mega deal, their deal would inherently be indexed to inflation.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    All great points. BUT, the Dodgers got their deal before the bubble burst, as Mauricio mentioned. The Cubs are fighting a change in technology and a change in viewing habits as Americans are becoming ZERO-TV families, so the deals available now won't be ones like those previously signed, BUT, these are the Cubs and they have more of a national audience than anybody, so that should help a little because they can Super Station like the Yankees and Braves.

    All teams will likely have their own networks. Should make for interesting negotiations at the next CBA, or at least the one after that.

    We launch our network in January and by 2017 we hope to generate eight-figure gross revenues monthly, and that's just for indie music and Xtreme Sports and based on only 5 million monthly subscribers to our content libraries. You can imagine what a Cubs network would do.

  • "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by Chairmen of the Board.

    Or by the Cubs' President and GM

  • In reply to Jim Hickman:

    Excellent song there.

  • Eiinsteinian physics indicates that time can slow down, but probably not speed up.

    Thus, if we send an astronaut to Pluto and back, he or she will return at about when Theo's and succeeding execs' plans are about ready to come to fruition.

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    In reply to jack:

    but will he still be under 30, or an old man past his peak years?

  • In reply to jack:

    If the fans were having more fun, time would appear to speed up. Fix the big club a bit and that will buy more time as far as fan patience is concerned.

    A lot of people were calling yesterday's signing a good deal for the Cubs, but I ran outside and saw no fireworks, so I'm not sure if the signing bought even a minute.

  • In reply to jack:

    only if the astronaut was traveling at close to the speed of light

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    Sorry for all the typos. I was changinb the bake element on my ovn last night and sliced off three fingertips on my left hand renoving the back panel. Hard to type.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    Ouch. Here's to your speedy healing.

  • The other site has a great article on Theo's news conference and this is all we get????? Boring article

  • In reply to ruby2626:

    Not really an article to be honest, more of a font of thoughts on a subject that's been covered in a multitude of ways.

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    In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    nothing wrong with a little philosophical musing. How many times can you re-dissect Toronto's minor league system?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    I couple more times, but I'd rather share things from the heart, the pit of my essence, yanno?

  • In reply to Mauricio Rubio Jr.:

    I thought it was great. Well written. Also more need to keep in mind exactly WHY this rebuilding thing takes a minute.

    Also: how exactly does one pronounce Quixotic?..

  • "I don't know what happens for this organization in 5 years, I just know what I think will happen. It's fine to believe as you believe, but the certainty of an opinion in either direction bothers me."

    This almost perfectly sums up what I feel, and why I am often so frustrated. No one truly knows what the optimal course of action is or what will ultimately play out, but to not be able to have doubts or question it is really frustrating. To so many, if I question it, I'm being overly negative or being an ass or trolling or acting as if I'm smarter than the front office, and if I can't back up my hesitation to jump in full force with an alternative comprehensive strategic course of action, then I should just leave the entire conversation or worse, stop being a Cubs fan.

  • In reply to Monkey Shines:

    You should always question everything, in my opinion. Personally, I trust the process but it doesn't mean there aren't doubts. Nothing is a sure-fire success -- but at the same time, as a front office, you have to develop a process that you trust and stick to it. You don't waver from it because of fan or media pressure. That said, you can always tweak it. You are going to learn from mistakes, as the Cubs admitted they have.

    Here is what I believe: You cannot control results. You can only control process, so as a front office, you develop a process that you trust enough to stick to. but not so blindly as to not learn from your mistakes and make some changes as needed without abandoning the philosophy entirely. The process should always be consistent but not to the point of linear thinking.

    Is that process going to work? We have no way of really knowing, but it is a long term, big picture process and we have to at least give it a chance to work before going in an entirely different direction.

  • I agree on the time aspect, though where I think there might be a miss is if the Cubs (for reasons that may or may not be, well, reasonable) choose to punt on 2015. Part of the ask on patience was accepted by a lot of fans because there was an actual end in sight -- 2015. Like it or not, people can deal with waiting easier when there is certainty. That's why an hour-long drive in traffic is generally more stressful than a 1:15 long train ride. You know what to expect.

    If the Cubs punt on 2015, they'll be breaking those expectations, which sets everything off.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    The original plan was to take 4 to 5 years, that would be 2015 or 2016. I think we are still on schedule.

  • In reply to John57:

    I think we are and I have confidence in this FO. I believe we will be better than most think 2014 and we have a bright future. patience is a key but I can't wait to see these young kids develop. Good times ahead.

  • Life is like that as tomorrows are never guaranteed. I tell my children to trust in fate and enjoy the moment. Who knows what the future will bring other than some good and some bad. Baseball is like that.

  • If you're using a Dali painting then you have to have Pink Floyds Time as the sound track. Also love the Louis CK link.

  • "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour. That's relativity." -Einstein

    "When a fan watches a replay of the Sandberg Game, it seems like a minute. When a fan watches replays of 2013, he loses the will to live. That's the Cubs for you." -South Bender

  • In reply to SouthBender:

    '13 really was the pits. Can't remember worse.

  • In reply to Oneear:


  • Speaking of time: The Rakuten Golden Eagles are making noise about not posting Tanaka this year. This isn't neccessarily a bad thing for the Cubs. Next year would in fact be better for the Cubs. One less year of paying the big bucks when we really don't stand a chance. Picking him up this time next year would be perfect.

  • I believe the way the FO is managing the rebuild is the correct way to approach a long term solution - draft well, develop talent, and add short term pieces that can be flipped. I think they'll add high end free agents to the mix once later they know what they have and what they still need. I look forward to the next 6 or 7 years.

    What saddens me are the Cub fans of my father's generation. My dad is a true die hard baseball fan in general and Cub fan in specific. I remeber watching him sit next to the TV (before remotes) and flip back and forth from channels 9 and 44 watching both the Cubs and Sox games. My dad is nearly 84 now and not in the greatest of health. It is unlikely that the Cubs will make it to the WS before his health gives way. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands more like him.

    I wish this current rebuild would started 5 years ago.

  • In reply to Senator Blutarski:

    I wish it started 40 years ago but the Rickett siblings were still in school then.

  • Salvador Dali, the only modern artist I truly admire. Way to go John! Is there a hidden intellectual in you?

  • In reply to Quasimodo:

    That was Mauricio. I do like Dali, but I'm more of a literature guy as noted by my recent references to Beckett, Hemingway, and Dante. Almost reference Bertrand Russell today :) Am I a hidden intellectual? I don't know if that's the word. Maybe a reluctant one :)

    As far as artists, I think Marcel Duchamp best fits my style.

  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oops! I never noted the author. My apologies Mauricio, but good connection to the time theme! Bertrand Russell John? I went to college in France and studied the Brit intellectuals. Russell's trip to meet Lenin as a young man, his "gang of four" with Geoffrey Keynes (married to Darwin's daughter), John Maynard Keynes, and George Bernard Shaw. As communists go, at least Bertrand didn't pretend, he had a heart of sorts. Yes, I think you might be a closet intellectual. However, we will never tell!

  • I was alive when the Cubs last played in the World Series, but I was just short of my second birthday so I didn't notice. I became a Cubs fan the year before Mr. Cub became a Cub. I've lived most of my life in the St. Louis area, but have never wavered in my allegiance to the Cubs, despite the many disappointments along the way. But I must admit it's been frustrating waiting for the front office to start making serious efforts to upgrade the major league team.

  • I just wanted to say that I like the way you write Mauricio. I'm a big fan of talent.

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