I Think I Know How Theo Epstein Feels

I Think I Know How Theo Epstein Feels
Theo ponders what has changed for the Cubs in the last three seasons.

Dashing good looks, incredible success at a relatively young age, the ability to use big words in an attempt to either sound intelligent or confuse your audience.  Yeah, I think I can relate to Cubs honcho Theo Epstein.  Well, except for the looks and the success.

Ah, but I can use big words.  Antidisestablishmentarianism.  See.  I can even say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" backwards (thanks, Ghostface Killah!).

It wasn't via a small door behind a filing cabinet, but I recently got the chance to get inside the boy wonder's mind and walk around a little.  Granted, it was a brief metaphorical stroll, but still.

I don't know about you, but I almost never remember dreams once they've ended.  If I'm lucky, little snippets survive and hang in the air like so many gossamer vapor trails, only to lose substance entirely the moment I am about to grasp them.

Not this one though.  No, I think I was able to lock this pesky SOB down quickly enough to recall it to at least a somewhat accurate degree.  And it went a little something like this:

I was seated at a bar of highly-burnished wood, maybe cherry.  The seats were tall and broad, with red leather seats with large backs and sturdy armrests.  It felt like a very old place, venerable, but in a comfortable way.  I was alone, which was odd; maybe it was early enough that not even the most lost souls had yet to begin the day.

In any case, there were two bartenders and a server and only two televisions in the place.  I'm not sure what was on TV.  I don't recall what I ordered either, but I hope it at least included food.  I do, however, remember the bill: $21.25.

I remember thinking that I'd had pretty good service, so I planned to tip $5.75 (I like the final total to be a round number).  If you weren't already, I'm sure you're all wondering why I'm regaling you with a story about a stupid dream in which nothing is out of the ordinary, right?

The check, however, was far from ordinary; it had an appearance that was unlike any that I'd ever seen before it.  The line-item charges were normal, but it got weird below the total.  There was a line for deductions, then one for the tip, followed by the total and then signatures from both the bartender and myself.

Given the complexity of said chit, my bartender felt compelled to hover over me as a I completed it, correcting me as I signed in the wrong spot.  Oh yeah, that was odd too; I was signing it prior to completing the amounts.

And that's where it got really frustrating: I knew the initial charge and knew what I wanted to tip, but I couldn't figure out how to write $27.00.  Heck, I couldn't even write $5.75 correctly.

I began to write the tip amount, but goofed up, wrote over it and messed it up further.  I was forced to scratch it out, by which point my obvious frustration had drawn the attention of my bartender's co-workers.

So now, here I am with three people craning in on top of me, trying to correct the tip amount.  Once that was done, I ended up writing $60 in the total.  $60?!  What kind of math is that?  Everyone's staring at me with expressions that seem to hold confusion, sympathy and contempt all once, insofar as that's even possible.

Desperate for some privacy and freedom to finish what I thought was a relatively simple task, I extricated myself from the crowd and moved to an adjacent table.  I set the check down...right in a small pool of water.  Of course, it was soaked through, but only on the lines I was trying to complete.

Despite the fact that I was able to recite them above, I was not able to recall the correct totals while inside the dream itself, and I was too proud to ask the bartender for the amount or for a new tab.  And that's when I woke up.

So did any of that make sense to anyone else but me?  I could spend several hundred more words drawing lines of relevance between my dream and Epstein's situation in the Cubs' front office, but that would be pedantic and patronizing.

Then again, maybe that's better than being esoteric and open-ended.  Maybe you'll be able to see the same parallels I did, or maybe you'll just think I'm an idiot.  You wouldn't be the first.

But as we witness the exploits of players like Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, it feels like we're finally getting to the point where Theo can sign on the line which is dotted.  And then he, and the Cubs, can wake from this uncomfortable slumber.


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  • I still try to figure out if it adds up after the tip. I used to figure that the tip was twice the sales tax, but now it is about 1.5, so I may as well figure out 15% of the pretax total, but also before coupons.

    However, from hearing Theo talking about cookies and meals, he apparently paid before getting dinner. You do that only if you have to order at the counter. For instance, if you go to Popeye's and order the cajun fish special, you pay $7.00 in advance to hear "pescado" being yelled for about 8 minutes, and then you have to wait another 3 for té dulce [true]. In Theo's case, though, it is the fans' or AB InBev's money up front.

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    In reply to jack:

    Ha, nice.

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