“Theo Epstein 4 President” buttons should be popping up by now.
But, you say, he already is the Cubs’ president of baseball operations.
We’re talking about a higher calling for a higher office: President of the United States.
The country could do worse, don’t you think?
Usually when someone wins a championship in a rabid sports town like Chicago it’s said that he could run for mayor.
The legend of Theo Epstein has grown above that now that he has delivered a World Series to Wrigley Field.
Five years ago, Epstein was welcomed to Chicago. It seems at once like a century ago and like just yesterday.
At that news conference on Oct. 25, 2011, Epstein was as impressive as he was while winning two World Series as general manager of the Boston Red Sox.
It was easy that day to start believing Epstein would win a championship with the Cubs, too … which you might recall he did last week.
So back then I asked Epstein why baseball instead of something more important? After all, it is only sports.
The point of the question was that someone as intelligent, polished and successful as Epstein could do so much good in so many other areas.
Politics, I suggested.
Epstein recoiled a little and mentioned that I didn’t even know what his party affiliation was.
Didn’t matter and still doesn’t.
Has anyone noticed lately the state of presidential politics as Election Day approaches? Epstein’s baseball record sure does seem to make him a better option.
My goodness, Epstein the GM in Boston helped win the Red Sox’s first championship in 86 years.
Now Epstein the club president has helped the Cubs win their first championship in 108 years.
It’s no wonder that a Chicago newspaper portrayed Epstein walking on water just before his first game with the Cubs.
This isn’t to diminish Epstein’s baseball accomplishments or to diminish sports in general because they mean so much to so many people. But there really is so much more good that needs to be done in society than winning games.
What I’m thinking about Epstein I always think about great athletes like Michael Jordan.
What if they applied their competitiveness, drive and desire to succeed in an area like cancer research, or international diplomacy, or social justice?
Maybe Jordan is a bad example considering that he hasn’t been able to build the Charlotte Hornets into an NBA champion.
The difference is that Epstein skipped the playing end of sports and made his name as an architect of champions.
With the Red Sox (of all teams) and with the Cubs (really, really, really of all teams).
Couldn’t government use some of Epstein’s specialties: Culture changing, organization building, a single heartbeat?
Winning championships with the Red Sox and Cubs is to sports what erasing hunger and homelessness would be to the world.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked by The New York Times not long ago to identify Epstein’s greatest attribute.
“Just ridiculous intelligence,” Maddon was quoted as saying. “He has this crazy ability to take a situation and reduce it so quickly into its simplest form and then give you options that make the most sense.”
So, Mr. Epstein, how about those “Theo 4 President” placards at the championship rally?
You can even keep your day job with the Cubs, too, if you want.