Theo Epstein, the new President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, poses in the outfield following a press conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Theo Epstein's running the Cubs now, and will attempt to do something that's probably been attempted many times before: Discouraging his players from drinking until the wee small hours of the morning.
No, he didn't really do that. That would be really hard.
But the Cubs' new I'm-the-President-not-the-General-Manager-dammit Theo Epstein is working hard to discourage his charges from staying out until 4 in the morning, especially the morning before a day game.
From The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan:
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."
Wouldn't you love to know which careers have been ruined? Mark Grace was famous for his Wrigleyville exploits, but it's hard to argue that his career was ruined. Kyle Farnsworth is a pretty good pitcher, but he did give up way too many home runs when he toiled for the Cubs.
Another question: What is the opposite of laissez faire? I thought the French have a different word for everything, but if they did wouldn't Epstein have used it? He's really smart.
I don't have any doubt that late-night drinking has cost the Cubs a few games over the years ... but I'll bet it's cost their opposition a few games over the years, too. The Cubs do face a unique circumstance, playing roughly 50 day games at home each season. Obviously, if you're out getting blasted until nearly dawn, you might not be 100 percent seven or eight hours later when the plate umpire says to play.
So I applaud Theo Epstein's initiative, and wish him the best of luck. He's going to need it.