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“As soon as he gets that call, he’s immediately changing his number”

Thursday, Apr 27, 2017

* 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.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Northsider - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    Ya know, there’s a reason Charlie Pierce calls Politico “Tiger Beat on the Potomac.”

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:39 am:

    Juvenile, click bait gossip rag.

  3. - illini - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:45 am:

    I read the entire article earlier and found it interesting. Indeed, a bit on the silly side but something to think about!

  4. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:47 am:

    If Theo became Governor I wonder if he could flip Munger for a decent prospect or two at the trade deadline…

  5. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:49 am:

    Theo is smart, capable and surround himself with smart and capable people. He is also perceptively arrogant as the day is long. Would he be an effective politician? Probably. Would he be an effective campaigner? I doubt it.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:52 am:

    You are instrumental to bringing baseball world championships to the Red Sox and Cubs, the two franchises with the unquenchable thirst to finally be the best, and then your next move is politics?

    Theo is going into Cooperstown, will never have a want for a job, can forever be beloved in two cities, never be controversial, and still hasn’t hit the salary ceiling for his own career.

    Why politics?

    Can’t think of any reason.

    Heck, Theo’s main concern after the Cubs won was deciding if he wanted to continue his two-week bender or sober up. He’s got the world on a string, why tie an unneeded knot?

  7. - HL Mencken - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    The only GM who would have made a good political candidate was Bill Veeck.

  8. - Try-4-Truth - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:12 am:

    If he could get people to care enough to show up at a White Sox game, then he’d prove he could turn around Illinois.

  9. - don the legend - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:20 am:

    We may be way past the point but I pray somebody who can effectively articulate the importance of being skilled in political science and public service will come forward. Our democracy depends on smart and ethical people.
    Unfortunately that message delivery will have to paid for and will never make it outside of CSPAN or public television/radio. Oh well.

  10. - Mike Cirrincione - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    You have to deal with legislatures and all kinds of public stakeholders. (Axelrod)

    Who KNEW that governin’ could be so complicated. I thought it was just like runnin’ the nursin’ home. (Governor/TV Commercial Maker)

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:23 am:

    The odds of Theo stepping in it (politics) is long, for all the reasons given. However, the mindset of taking on the impossible task is part of his being. Turn around Corrupt Illinois? He loves a challenge, but that would be slow motion suicide, bit by bit, every day.

  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    Theo may consider it when the Cubs come back to earth in a couple of years and are floundering in 3rd or 4th place in the division.

  13. - L.A. - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    “Theo may consider it when the Cubs come back to earth in a couple of years and are floundering in 3rd or 4th place in the division.”

    Lol. Let me guess, Cardinals fan??

  14. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    I’ve voted for worse, but Theo is too smart to be a politician.

  15. - A guy - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 1:37 pm:

    Not enough of a rush turning a perennial loser into a World Series champion…in two different cities? I just don’t think government provides that kind of adrenaline to a guy like Theo. The only thing that prevents a transaction for him is a failed physical. What he understands about his business is that it is, in fact a game.
    Government ain’t.

  16. - Jerry 101 - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    “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.”

    This. This is why C-suite businessmen make lousy politicians. The C-suite is a junta that controls a business. Politicians need to build some kind of consensus to get things done. They can’t just order people around.

    I can think of a few politicians who could really use that lesson.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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