Big Life with Ray Waters Neal Campbell no

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series on Wednesday night. I had not watched a baseball game this year but I hung on every pitch for this one. The game included great baseball, a rain delay and an extra inning to figure out who would be the champions this year – the Cubs or the Indians. The back story was perfect. The Indians had not won a World Series since 1948 and the Chicago Cubs had not won since 1908. And now the Cubs are champions.

Most people attribute the success of the Cubs to their President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein. Epstein had become the youngest General Manager in the history of Major League Baseball when he was hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2002. He was just 28 years old. He won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004. It was their first championship in 86 years. He became their Executive Vice President in 2006 and Boston won another World Series in 2007. He resigned from the Red Sox and signed on with the Cubs in 2011.

When Epstein began the rebuilding process in Chicago he ask the people of Chicago for patience. It would get worse before it got better. The Cubs fans were patient and it paid off Wednesday night.

Here are a few thoughts about their rebuilding process…

  • Some teams put all of their money into high priced free agents. Their hope is these older stars can somehow gel together and win now. Epstein did it differently. He built his team on great pitching and really good young players. The Cubs are a youthful team built to be good for years to come. Most teams don’t have the discipline to be bad until they can become really good. The Cubs worked their plan to perfection.
  • Seeing a young team excel is a joyous thing to watch. This youthful energy that surrounds their team creates a really cool synergy. The guys on the team are too young to have become cynical. They encourage one another. They love the game. It feels like watching boys play. It is fun.

It’s wonderful to watch an organization  that has been down for a long, long time finally win the prize. It seemed as if almost all of the United States except for the city of Cleveland was rooting for the Cubs. And they did it. They are World Champions. Theo Epstein did it in Boston and he duplicated it in Chicago. I guess it is true the difference in winning and losing always begins with great leadership. Congratulations to the World Series Champions, the Chicago Cubs. As Harry Carey would say when he was the voice of the Cubs….Holy Cow!

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