Well, not OUR minds. Theo’s mind.
The Red Sox visit Wrigley Field on Friday for the first time since 2005 to open a three-game series with Theo Epstein’s Cubs.
Epstein was the architect of the Sox’s two World Series champions in ’04 and ’07 before leaving Boston after last season to become Chicago’s president of baseball operations.
“First and foremost, it’ll be great to see everybody and renew acquaintances with everybody,” Epstein said. “It’ll be fun to have those guys in town.”
Both clubs are struggling in 2012 and have remained in the cellar of their respective divisions for most of the season. Looking to get back to .500, the Red Sox will hand the ball to Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka completed his return from Tommy John surgery with his first start in the Majors in nearly a year last weekend. Dice-K struck out eight in five innings vs. the Nationals on Saturday, but he took the loss after allowing four runs.
All I have to say is that they had better not play “Sweet Caroline” at Wrigley like they did the LAST TIME the Red Sox came to town. This is OUR PARK. Not theirs.
So, has the house-cleaning at Wrigley begun? David Haugh thinks so:
Seriously, Epstein continues to send signals that the Cubs soon will become the most aggressive sellers in baseball — a development more promising than anything that unfolded on the field during the Tigers series.
Trading Ryan Dempster suddenly seems a matter of when, not if. Trading Garza before the deadline should be just as high of a priority if the Cubs truly want to stockpile prospects the way championship teams do. And if Epstein really wants to impress his former employer, the Red Sox, in Chicago for a three-game series beginning Friday, he will find a taker for hot-hitting Alfonso Soriano before they leave town.
What better way to end a week Epstein clearly blocked off as the unofficial start of Phase II of The Cubs Way.
On Tuesday, the Cubs replaced hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo with minor-league instructor James Rowson, citing philosophical differences they knew existed when Epstein took over. But it shows how low a priority the major league product is in the organization’s rebuilding plan when it takes until June 12 to get around to firing Jaramillo, a respected man whose ideas were no longer welcome.
On Wednesday, Epstein had a long-awaited but impromptu meeting with Dempster in the grandstand. The Cubs splurge for new office space, but Epstein can’t find a room to discuss something as important as Dempster’s future? If that’s the case, they really need to move on the stadium renovation soon before Epstein starts interviewing secretaries in the bleachers. More likely the very public powwow went exactly as Epstein had hoped as media outlets pounced on the image of a player for rent.
On Thursday, Epstein revealed another hint in an interview with WEEI-AM in Boston that echoed what he told Chicago reporters this week in regard to enduring tough times while keeping his priorities in mind.
“What I enjoy most when I think of pure baseball is developing from within,” Epstein said.
I continue to laugh at Theo’s on-going relationship with the Boston media. That can’t be going over well in the pressbox at Wrigley.
Dempster v. Dice-K today at 1:20 pm CT on WGN.
Lineup to come.