Theo and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Will it be Feast or Famine for Cubs?

Theo and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: Will it be Feast or Famine for Cubs?

First, let me just say that Daylight Savings and the whole "spring forward" concept sucks.  Whew, had to get that off my chest.

In a recent interview with 670 The Score, Cubs president, and card-carrying member of baseball's intelligentsia, Theo Epstein channeled Bobby Flay:

"I was shaking my head at the notion that we should make baseball decisions based on giving our fans cookies. We're cooking the whole meal. We want to give them an annual feast. The only way to make fans happy is to give them pennant races and October baseball if you can pull it off on an annual basis. Nothing is going to get in the way of that."

It was certainly nice to hear the goal stated clearly: pennant races and October baseball on an annual basis.  And as a purveyor of analogies that are often awkward and cryptic, I enjoyed the cookie/feast part as well.

But it's kinda hard to sit and listen to talk of feasts when fans are famished.  Hell, I think most of us would be satisfied with a cookie at this point, unless it's one of the over-baked kind that just crumbles to pieces when you bite into it. *cough* Edwin Jackson *cough*

Still, I feel where Theo's going here.  In fact, he sort of reminds me of the story of Joseph, he of the coat of many colors, the favored boy wonder who was sold into slavery by his brothers, only to rise to power in Egypt.

The Biblical scholars out there may already know where I'm going here, and I did write about my own revelatory dream in a recent post.

Long story short, Joseph was a smart, good-looking cat who was imprisoned for failing to acquiesce to the adulterous desires of his master's wife but was later freed in order to interpret some of Pharaoh's dreams.

Correctly prophesying that Egypt would undergo 7 years prosperity followed by 7 of famine, Joseph convinced the nation's leader to ration foodstuffs and store enough back for the lean years.

And if you're already blowing holes in my conceit, I'm ahead of you. Theo is sort of reverse-engineering Donnie Osmond's strategy.  In this case, the Cubs are rationing and stockpiling during the lean years, building up stores of prospects and lining up advertising and -- fingers crossed -- TV deals to fuel future growth.

Of course, the Cubs' progress feels like it's trending more toward entropy than critical mass. And that's precisely the berm detractors of the rebuild stand behind as they huck rocks at Ricketts' glass house.
They hold that the Cubs are living out Zeno's dichotomy paradox instead of taking an appropriate big-market approach.

Rather than having hopes of reaching the goal, the Epstoyer regime is simply working to get halfway to the destination, then half of the remaining distance, then half again, and so on.  But the thing is, motion is indeed a paradox; it defies philosophical logic. So the final destination is tangible, not just a mirage guarded by increasingly-decreasing fractional distances.

The Cubs have chosen to be the tortoise instead of Achilles, characters from yet another Zeno paradox. Only, in this one, the tortoise wins.  So which is it: is this a team that can never reach its goal or one that defies "logic" to win big?
Time will tell, but in Joseph's case, the same brothers who sold him into slavery eventually knelt before him to beg for his help and forgiveness.

Damn, now I'm hungry.  Where're those cookies?


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Tags: Cubs, Theo Epstein


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  • If the point is continually getting half way closer, that doesn't work, as there is only one team that gets the World Series championship per year. If there is some analogy to radioactive half lives, the only thing that can be said is that the Cubs are still toxic after 105 years.

    Even in lumberjack sports, you still have to cut completely through the log. Using the hot saw, three times. But maybe your Ephoyer is playing horseshoes.

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    The idea is that the detractors will argue that the progress (or lack thereof) is never going to result in the achievement of the goal. My contention is that forward motion is indeed a paradox, as you do reach the goal.
    Although, the stated goal in this case wasn't actually to win the WS.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Then we should say that Dusty got us close enough, and hold a tribute day to him the next time the Reds are in town. However, that sounds so Cubs.

    BTW, there was something similar on Cosmos yesterday to the effect that if you get to the top of the wall, there is always another wall on the other side. I'm not sure where that was going.

  • In reply to jack:

    Dusty not with Reds anymore.

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    In Dusty We Trusty. Funny how the Reds fans felt like they were benefiting from the Cubs' mistake...until they had him for a few years.

    I didn't see Cosmos but want to catch it. You should click the link on the Zeno's paradox stuff; the Achilles and hare one is trippy, if odd. I mean, it's all philosophical BS, but funny. If you give someone a head start, you first have to reach their starting point; however, in that time, they will have moved farther, so you have then reach that point, and so on. Of course, you're not simply reaching a finite point in space as defined by the position of your opponent, but rather, you are moving forward through space at a higher rate of speed and are thus able to pass the slower-moving object.
    All in good fun, but if the Cubs can be consistently good and even win it all, I don't care if it flies in the face of logic.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Somehow, the change Tom noted escaped me, but noted.

    On your "in Dusty we Trusty" point, it was not clear why SF was so eager to get rid of him after reaching the World Series in 2002. Of course, at that time, the Cubs would jump at anyone close.

  • Just sometimes it is possible to be a little too intelligent in ones musings...

    I've enjoyed your previous offerings but this felt more like enduring.

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    In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    Thanks for reading, I appreciate the input. Sorry to didn't like it; interesting that this one felt more tiresome, as it's much shorter than the norm. But again, I'm glad you read them and care enough to comment.

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    In reply to Evan Altman:

    Sorry *you* didn't like...

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    In reply to Hustlelikereed:

    Here. Here.. Well said.

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