There will always be next year

By Nader Ihmoud

Theo Epstein— thanks for coming to Chicago. We needed you.

The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and have yet to attend one since 1945. The closest they have gotten was the 2003 heartache when they made it to the National League Championship Series, followed by the huge collapse highlighted by Steve Bartman and Moises Alou’s altercation on a fly-ball in foul territory.

The team held a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning of game six before the historical meltdown. The Cubs were five outs away from ending the series when the infamous Bartman “interference” occurred. After that play, the Marlins’ offense awoke, put up eight runs and, with help from an Alex Gonzalez error, forced a game seven.

After the devastating end to their 2003 season, the North Siders failed to make it back to the post-season until they won back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008. Even then, they failed to make it past the opening round of the playoffs.

We need someone to help us get past the first and second rounds and into a series; from there, it is on the team to win it.

Most diehard Cubs fans will say they wish they were on the Cub’s team, and they have dreamt of being the guy who takes the Cubs over the hill and across the valley all the way to the promised land—a World Series title. Every person with any concept of heroism can say the person who takes the Cubs to the highest mountain top will be viewed as a sports god in Chicago.

I have now come to terms that I will never be that guy—but Epstein will.

Theo, how much more motivation did you need than “future sports god?”

You will be more loved than Phil Jackson, and he took the Bulls all the way six times. All you need is one. I’ll be patient because you have proven in the past that you have the ability to produce.

Obviously, Tim Rickets, the Cubs’ owner, loves his team and fan base—he is the only man to turn around a baseball organization that was in the same sort of turmoil that the Cubs are still faced with.

Epstein, a Boston native, brought the Red Sox out from under the “Curse of the Bambino” by bringing the team its first title in 86 years. The curse began when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth, nicknamed “Bambino,” to the New York Yankees in the 1919–1920 off-season. Prior to the sale of Ruth, the Red Sox were one of the most successful professional baseball franchises, winning the first ever World Series and five overall up until the drought ended in 2004.

Epstein did so by making key acquisitions, such as David Ortiz, Kevin Millar, Curt Schilling and hiring manager Terry Francona. Some might say another general manager with the same payroll and opportunity might have had the same turn-around. That argument became invalid when Epstein brought a second title to the team in the 2007 season.

If not for that, I might agree with the statement that it was money that propelled the Red Sox players over their hump, but the fact that they did it twice proves the management of the team’s talent is responsible for its success.

This is exactly what the Cubs have been lacking. Talent management is Epstein’s specialty. So Epstein, thanks again for choosing Chicago, where you will be more appreciated than in your hometown.

Come to the Windy City and help us find a better home for Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano. I know you are going to build around Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney. I have the utmost faith that you and only you, Theo, can send this “Billy Goat” curse packing.