The Red Sox have apparently granted the Cubs permission to speak with Theo Epstein about their vacant general manager position. Paul Sullivan has reported that his best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Theo pass out at 31 Flavors last night in Chicago (or something like that).
But I’ve always just assumed that any interview would probably transpire over the phone, since a face-to-face is probably not really necessary since Tom Ricketts spent a weekend oogling Theo in May when the Cubs visited Fenway. So we have focused our efforts on trying to learn if that phone call has been placed, and it turns out our Obstructed View advanced network of spies has managed to bug Tom Ricketts’ phone. We picked up this conversation from earlier today:
Theo: Hello… Theo Epstein speaking.
Tom: Hi Theo, this is Tom Ricketts. I own the Cubs.
Theo: Uh, yes Tom, I remember…
Tom: I just like to say that. Actually, I’m technically the Executive Chairman of the Cubs. The Ricketts family as a whole owns the team. It gets kind of complicated.
Theo: OK…. whatever you say. How can I help you?
Tom: Well, that’s why I wanted to touch base with you, Theo. My family and I have been big admirers of yours for a long time and I wanted to talk to you about the possibility of you coming to Chicago to help us out with this whole World Series drought thing.
Theo: I thought that might be why you were calling.
Tom: I just think that it would be in both of our interests…. um, hold on for a second…. (muffled) I’m asking him! Yes, dad, it’s him on the phone now. Will you let me please just do this? You never let me do anything without a hassle! I’ve got it! Jeez!… (sigh) Sorry, Theo, small family thing. You know how it is. Where were we?
Theo: Something about both of our interests.
Tom: Right… um…. (papers crumpling)…. (whispers) big admirers, World Series drought…. Ah! Here we are! We just really think it would be in both of our interests if you were to come to Chicago. As you know, we recently had to part ways with Jim Hendry.
Theo: That’s a shame, he was a good guy.
Tom: Oh yes, wonderful man. Great guy. But we just really thought our team needed to go in a different direction.
Theo: What direction is that?
Tom: Well, you know… the, um, Moneyball stuff.
Theo: The Moneyball stuff…
Tom: Yes! Exactly!
Theo: What is it about the “Moneyball stuff” that is so appealing to you as a franchise?
Tom: Well, I’m not an “expert” in the sabermeters or anything like you (laughs), but we feel that we can really enhance the efficiency of our outlay of capital assets as it pertains to the acquisition of baseball personnel-wise.
Theo: I’m not sure what you are talking about.
Tom: You know… the maximization of victory potential through the cross-analysis of advanced statistics! OBP, WAR, etc.
Theo: Uh huh. So you are interested to see if I would bring… say… my expertise in phalangee regression models to the Cubs? Maybe employ the flux capacitor strategy?
Tom: Um… yes.
Theo: I see. Before you go on, I have to say that I’m still pretty content in Boston. We were pretty disappointed in our season and I’m looking forward to getting us right back in the playoffs and another World Series in 2012.
Tom: That is one of the things we really like about you, besides that Moneyball stuff, of course: your loyalty. So we are prepared to give you as much money as it takes to convince you to leave the Red Sox.
Theo: So you like my loyalty and you want me to break my contract with the Red Sox?
Tom: Absolutely. I have to tell you that you are by far my top choice to fill the vacant GM position.
Theo: Well, that is very flattering, but I should tell you that I’m looking to do a little more than traditional GM responsibilities. I could be interested if you could offer me a next step in my career.
Tom: I’m not following you.
Theo: Well, maybe if it was something like Team President.
Tom: Ohhh… I see what you mean. The thing is that Crane Kenney is our Team President already. We have the opening for a general manager.
Theo: OK, but I’m not interested in reporting to Crane Kenney.
Tom: No problem, you would report directly to me. I’m the Executive Chairman.
Theo: Yes. You mentioned that. So the President doesn’t have anything to do with baseball operations?
Tom: No, not at all. Crane is in charge of business.
Tom: Yeah, whenever I see Crane around the office, I say “Hey Crane, what’s going on?” And then he says, “Takin’ care of business!” It’s our little joke.
Theo: Good one.
Tom: Thanks, we have lots of little in-jokes and stuff around the office. We try to keep it kind of loose. For instance, everyday is Hawaiian shirt day.
Theo: You don’t say.
Tom: We have a pretty good time, but when it comes down to it, we have a lot of hard work to do to win a championship. We never lose focus on that. I want to assure you of that.
Theo: That is good to hear, but if we can get back to the title and responsibilities…
Tom: Before I forget, I do have to ask you about your position on urinal troughs.
Theo: My what on what?
Tom: Urinal troughs. You see, Wrigley Field is all about tradition and its grand history. Of course, I don’t have to tell you about traditions and history, but the urinal troughs are a real hot button topic with our fans, so I wanted to see where you come down on the issue.
Theo: The fans really care about where they piss during a game?
Tom: Oh yes, we have lots of data from surveys and they have very strong feelings about the urinal troughs.
Theo: Well, I guess I would have to say that it is my hope that as your Team President or Director of Baseball Operations…
Tom: But Crane Kenney is our President. We just need a General Manager.
Theo: OK. We’ll come back to the title later, but my point was that I think I can help the Cubs establish themselves as a power in the National League where the product on the field is the focus so much that they wouldn’t even think about the bathrooms anymore.
Tom: So you don’t like the troughs?
Theo: No. I mean yes. I mean…. I don’t think it matters what I think about the troughs. I hope that we can focus on the product on the field and building a strong organization from the farm system all the way through to the major league team. My vision for the Cubs would be to establish a culture of rigorous analysis along with a strong scouting network to evantually build up an organization that would be like the New York Yankees of the National League. In your market, and in your division you have access to enough revenue and an absence of any opponents who can rival you monetarily There is no reason why you can not become a dominant force in your division and in the league itself on an annual basis. The Yankees will suddenly want to become more like the Cubs! How does that sound to you?
Tom: But we are molding ourselves after the Red Sox.
Tom: Hello? Theo? Todd! Were you playing with the phone wires again?