Tom Ricketts And Theo Epstein Have A Meeting

Jonathan Daniel

The owner sat down with his President of Baseball Operations for a weekly chat. We've got the transcript.

Every week, Tom Ricketts sits down with Theo Epstein to discuss the state of the team. They probably didn't want the transcript to get out, but I got my hands on a copy.

Tom Ricketts: Sit down, Theo. Have a seat.

Theo Epstein: Is this about the remodeling project? Because I have some concerns about the rest rooms . . .

TR: Don't worry about the troughs. They're gone. We'll have them out of Wrigley as soon as the renovations begin.

TE: Actually, I was talking about the executive washroom in my office. It's got a trough too.

TR: That's a mistake. You shouldn't have a washroom at all. I think that's where we're supposed to keep the Old Style.

TE: I couldn't tell.

TR: No one can, really. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to talk to you about the state of the team. The Cubs have four wins and ten losses. Now, I'm not really good with facts and figures and all that Moneyball stuff, but four is less than ten, isn't it?

TE: Yes, it is.

TR: Say, how did you get Brad Pitt to play you in the movie? Do you think you could get Alec Baldwin to play me in the sequel?

TE: That was Billy Beane.

TR: Really? I could have sworn it was Brad Pitt. But if you say it was Billy Beane that played you, I'll take your word for it. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. Four is less than ten. Four is less than ten. Again, I'm not into numbers . . .

TE: You run an investment firm.

TR: Oh, that. People just give me money and buy stuff with it. Kind of like the Cubs. And that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I don't think we're spending our money in the right areas. I don't mind spending money. No sir-ee. You've got all my credit cards and my OK to run them up. Better you than my wife, right? You're married. You know what I'm talking about.

TE: I'm lost, sir.

TR: I just don't think you're spending my money wisely.

TE: Sir, I know the major league team is looking lost out there right now, but we've built a powerhouse down on the farm. We've got so many prospects that are going to start making their major league debuts any time now.

TR: And that's good! That's good. But I think we need to be more creative in ways to make the major league team better now.

TE: Sir, I just don't think spending a ton of money on free agents makes any sense right now. By the time we've assembled a team to win the World Series, those guys will be old and not worth the money we'd be paying them.

TR: Who said anything about free agents? I'm talking about thinking creatively. First, I was flipping around the TV last night and I saw a fascinating documentary about the Cubs in the 1990s. It seems that they had this kid who broke his arm and then he could throw 103 miles per hour. The Cubs signed him and won the pennant!

TE: That was a movie, sir.

TR: That's what I said. I saw it on TV last night. Now that kid is probably too old by now and he kind of blew his arm back healthy by the end of the season. But why can't we take some money and use it to break kids' arms? It's cheap, and at least one of them will be able to help us down the stretch. It's like that surfing thing you're always telling me about.

TE: Are you talking about waves and waves, sir?

TR: That it. Waves and waves of kids with broken arms. It's genius.

TE: If you say so.

TR: And I do. Now what about Flubber? Where are we on that?

TE: Flubber?

TR: You know, that stuff that makes everything bounce forever. Flubber. If we could get that stuff on our team bats, that might solve some of our hitting problems. It worked for Bonifacio, didn't it?

TE: I was wondering how he was getting so many hits . . .Wait a minute. Sir, Flubber is just another movie. Starring Jerry Lewis, no less.

TR: The French say he's a genius. That's because he invented flubber. It's also why the French are so good at baseball. So get on that right away. Now, turning to our scouting department. I think we're concentrating too much on North America and the Caribbean. We need to think outside the box. Expand our horizons. Take it to the next level. Expand our horizons. Be proactive. Cast a wider net. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

TE: What does that even mean?

TR: It means we need to scout elsewhere.

TE: We scout North American and the Caribbean because that's where the talent is. We have a few scouts keeping their eyes on Asia and Europe.

TR: Any team can do that. In fact, all of them do. No. We need to go where the other teams aren't scouting. Find that player that no one else can.

TE: Let me guess. You saw an advance screening of Million Dollar Arm and you want us to start scouting India.

TR: WRONG! Jon Hamm has already got that market covered. Say, maybe Jon Hamm could play me in Moneyball 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold?

TE: I'll ask his agent.

TR: Thank you! That's the kind of proactive thinking that I hired you for. But you lack vision. You need to think big. A billion people live in India and it's the size of my dad's bathroom. Which is modeled after the Taj Mahal, by the way. But if a billion people live in India, how many do you think are living on Jupiter right now?

TE: You want me to scout other planets?!?

TR: Sure! You wouldn't even need to go there. You'd just need a good telescope that you can buy off the internet. Say, have you seen this internet thing? It's amazing. You can just get on your computer and watch cat videos all day long.

TE: I wish I worked for a cat.

TR: Great idea! We're looking for minority investors. I saw a documentary once about a baseball team owned by a cat. I think they won the pennant too. (Picking up phone) Laura? It's Tom. I want you to start looking for cats who want to invest in a baseball team. No. The kind that are furry, purr and go meow. Got it? I gotta go. I'm talking to Theo right now. Bye. (turns to Theo) Theo, that cat idea is the kind of innovative thinking that made me hire you. You're going to get the hang of this baseball thing. I know it. I've been around this game for five years now, and I've learned to recognize raw talent when I see it. You're going to get the hang of this eventually.

TE: Thank you, sir. But maybe next time, you can share some of your wisdom with Jed Hoyer. He needs to learn the game too.

TR: Selfless. That's what I like about you, Theo. Next time, I'll have the weekly meeting with Jed.

TE: Maybe the week after that, too.

TR: You're too kind. You've got to be a little ruthless in this business, Theo. You'll learn that if you hang around with me long enough.

TE: I don't think I could ever hang around with you long enough. I probably shouldn't even try.

TR: Just like me, you're too modest. Until next time, Theo.

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