* Politico has published a 2,000-word piece about the possibility that Theo Epstein, the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, will run for office some day. The story includes a lengthy interview of David Axelrod. It’s a bit on the silly side…
Politico: Let’s imagine the messaging of a hypothetical Epstein campaign. Could he sell himself as the ultimate turnaround artist? First, the Red Sox, then the Cubs, next the state of Illinois, for example?
Axelrod: [laughs] It would work if he were running for alderman on the North Side of Chicago, but I suspect voters might resist the idea that turning around a baseball team is commensurate with turning around a city, a state or a country … A good example would be Bill Bradley (a former New York Knicks star who became a Democratic senator from New Jersey). When he ran he did very little referencing of basketball. He was actually even self-conscious about being a jock, so I think you have to separate yourself a little bit from sports … One thing that is transferable is the notion of building a team and getting people to work together. You could use that as a bridge to say what we need in this country is to regain the sense that we’re all on the same team and that we’re only going to prosper if we work together and find a way to build that bridge. That would be a winning message.
* Axelrod, however, firmly believes that Epstein will never run for office…
Politico: But you don’t think he’ll take the bait?
Axelrod: I think as soon as he gets that call, he’s immediately changing his number … I think Theo would be frustrated in public office because of the situation he’s in now. He basically has free rein to do what he needs to do for the success of the organization. That is not the case in politics—you’re seeing that with the governor in Illinois (Bruce Rauner) right now. You have to deal with legislatures and all kinds of public stakeholders. And if you’re used to making things happen, I’m not sure the Senate would be a particularly satisfying job for you. When I talked to him on my podcast … about what he might want to do next … he allowed that he might want to own a team sometime and use that team or use that platform to try to impact on a community. He clearly cares about the larger world and wants to make an impact … But there are many, many reasons I think Cubs fans can relax and enjoy the benefits of his leadership for many years to come.