On a day that will surely be remembered for years to come, for good reasons or bad, Tom and Todd Ricketts prepare to announce their biggest catch yet as Cubs owners. The hiring of Theo Epstein. The Victory Formation has intercepted key Cubs personnel communications and will provide its readership with the juicy details of how today’s press conference will play out. Big thanks to Mark Mizerle for his e-mail interception skills.
Tom Ricketts: Oh boy is this gonna be great, Todd! It took two years but we finally got our hometown team the dream team of baseball guys that it needed! I’m so excited to announce Theo to the fans today!
Todd Ricketts: You’re going to have to handle this, brother. I have a meeting with Rahm today about those dead hoo-, uh, those taxes to renovate the stadium. I don’t want any screw ups! We need the taxpayers’ money to turn this dump into an advertising machine. Make sure Theo is on his best behavior today.
Tom: Oh he’s a good Yale boy. He’ll be fine. He’s probably just happy to get out of Boston.
Todd: Anyone would be happy to get out of there.
[meanwhile, last night...]
Theo Epstein: Alright, now you’re sure you can do this?
Livingston Dell: You kidding me? The Cardinal bullpen phone is nothing compared to the 9-1-1 system at the Bellagio. This is going to be cake.
Theo: Eyedrops were one thing in Boston, but to be successful here we’re going to have to step our game up a notch. OH! Look, he’s going to the phone! Do it now!
Livingston: Ron! Activate program 814!
Livingston: Hello, Cardinal bullpen. How can I help you?
Theo: [forehead slap]
Dave Duncan: Uh, OK. Derek, I need you to get up Motte and Rzepczynski. Tony is going through one of those mini meltdowns right now. I have a feeling that he’s going to make at least four changes this inning so tell them to be ready in a hurry.
Livingston: Right. Got it.
[Duncan hangs up]
Theo: OK. Good. Now change it up like we talked about.
[Cardinals bullpen disaster plays out]
Livingston: Well done, sir. Think we can get a Mission Accomplished banner for tomorrow’s presser?
Theo: I have a much better idea than that.
[flashback to current time]
Tom Ricketts: Media members, staff and most of all, Cubs fans… I’d like to welcome you to Wrigley Field’s United Club [smiles, teeth glisten] for today’s historic announcement. As you well know, the last two weeks have been critical for this organization. We were able to poach, er, acquire a major cog in this machine that will be critical in turning the Chicago Cubs into a first class organization. We realize that in order to compete in this business, we need to have talent. Talent that has proven its worth time and again. There isn’t a much more hostile environment than Boston. [puts hand over microphone] Between you and me guys, I almost got mugged getting the dozen donuts we brought to Theo to convince him to come here. [removes hand] So, without further adieu, I present to you the new President of Chicago Cubs Baseball Operations… Mr. Theo Epstein!
[pause, nothing happens]
Tom: Uh, The-
[door flies open]
[steps up to podium, clears throat, flexes]
Hollywood Theo: Welcome, welcome, welcome. How the hell is everyone doing today? You know, I got a chance to go around town yesterday and not one person made a threat on my life or my wife’s! You guys really need to do something about this thing you call “pizza” though. It was like a casserole in a pan.
Tom: [stares blankly]
Theo: Oh, right. The baseball stuff. Well, you all know my credentials. I broke an 86 year drought in my hometown of Boston. Blah, blah, blah. You guys have a 100-plus year curse. Yada, yada, yada. I’m sure you don’t want to hear me babble on about all that so I figure we’d open this up to questions first, then I’ll give you all my vision.
Paul Sullivan: Theo, nice to finally meet you. I was that guy that saw you in the Starbucks last week.
Theo: That wasn’t me. But go on.
Paul: Well Theo… As you know, Cubs fans have long suffered through this drought and quick fixes have been the path this team has taken the last few decades. How does your plan differ?
Theo: Quick fixes? Well let me tell you and your 1978 haircut something, Paul. We’re not about quick fixes here anymore. Right about the time that Tom was backing that Brinks truck into my driveway back in Boston, he detailed to me the idea of building from within, through the farm. It was subtle, but I could tell as all that money pouring into the mulch in my front yard, that Tom was just using a smoke screen. He was serious about one thing. SPENDING. So rest assured, we’ll have a Carl Crawford in Chicago no later than 2013! NEXT QUESTION!
Bruce Levine: Hi, Theo. Bruce Levine, ESPNChicago here. I run Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday mornings here. Been on the air for 16 years.
Theo: [shakes head, sighs]
Bruce: The Cubs have brought in successful general managers before. Andy McPhail won with the Twins and then couldn’t get it done here. Why should Cubs fans think any different of your recent success and why would it translate here?
Theo: You want to know why? BECAUSE I AM THE BIGGEST NAME IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL! THAT’S WHY! You see, the Cubs have an image problem. This whole loser thing has to go. Today marks the start of a new era for the Chicago Cubs. [begins walking off stage slowly] It’s a new time. We’re blowing this whole thing up. Mike Quade? Gone.
Quade: Wait, what?
Theo: Zambrano? Gone. Alfonso Soriano? God willing, GONE. We’re starting over. The face of the 2012 Cubs will be nothing like what you saw in 2011. Except for these two, with some subtle changes.
[door flies open]
Matt Garza: Ay-Yo.
[Theo runs outside to the marquee]
Theo: The time has come! We’re giving this franchise a face-lift! Embrace your heel role Cubs nation!