MESA, Ariz. — Theo Epstein laid down the law at the Cubs Convention, stating firmly the organization would no longer tolerate players who enjoy the nightlife at the expense of getting a good night's sleep.
"It's been a factor in ruining some careers," the team president said. "And I'm sure it's been an impediment to the Cubs in winning. … The approach we're going to have is the opposite of laissez faire. We're not just going to say, 'Oh, that's the way it is. This is Chicago. Boys will be boys. I'm sure they're going to get enough sleep and I'm sure they'll show up the next day ready to play.'
"That's a failure on the organization's part. We have to take a very proactive approach in setting a high standard." – Chicago Tribune
This sounds all awesome and stuff. Laying down the law. That sounds tough. But what the hell can the Cubs do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Think about it. Every employer would prefer their employees get a good night sleep. People are more productive when they do. It's not like the past management group or groups didn't want this to happen. They just realized talking tough with the media doesn't accomplish anything.
What are the Cubs going to do if Matt Garza goes out on the town the night before he starts? He shows up to work hungover like many Americans do. What are they going to do? Release him? Trade him on the spot? Of course not. They're going to send him to the mound to pitch because he gives the Cubs a better chance of winning.
What if Starlin Castro stays out too late? Are they going to release him? No. Will they trade him? No. They may talk tough with him, but there's not a damn thing they can do. If Starlin Castro and Matt Garza and any other player want to go out and get drunk they will do so because the Cubs can't do jack shit about it. Nor should they.
It's not the Cubs business what these guys do on their own time. Anyway, it sounds tough and all. It's a great thing to say. I'm sure past ownership and management said the same thing. I'm sure this message will have the same impact as the ones before it. Some will listen. Some won't. And there's not a damn thing the Cubs can do about it.