MESA, Ariz. -- If this all works out for the Chicago Cubs and Theo Epstein brings some World Series titles to the North Side during his tenure, then “Cub Way” could be the new name for a stretch of road outside Wrigley Field.
For now, “Cub Way” is the title of the club’s new how-to manual dealing with everything from how to handle success and failure during a player's big-league career to what foot to use when stepping on the bag as you round third base and head for home.
Epstein, the new president of baseball operations, talked about the tome Saturday, unsure of how long it is but willing to say that it was thick. Both the major-league and minor-league staff will get a copy, but it isn’t necessarily something for the players’ reading consumption.
Instead, the staff will use the information as a teaching tool for the players. It will not be made available to anybody outside of the organization.
“It’s behind the scenes, defining the vision for the organization, how we’re going to teach the game,” Epstein said. “I think we’ll talk about it from time to time. I think the public will know about it when players that we’ve drafted sign, come through our system, learn the Cub Way and then come in and then play that way at Wrigley.”
In conjunction to the written words in “Cub Way,” Epstein said experts from the Center of Sport in Society out of Northeastern University will work with the players this spring.
“Sometimes we take for granted that these young kids, because they are great at what they do on the field that they are good at handling the tough circumstances they find off the field,” Epstein said. “I think it’s our responsibility as an organization to give them tools to use.”
Epstein said the new Cubs teaching manual is similar to one they used in Boston called “Red Sox Way.”
“That helped us define our vision and accomplish our goals more quickly because if you can’t articulate what it is that you want somebody to accomplish, how can you lead them?” Epstein said. “How can you expect them to get there? If you can’t write down on paper what you are teaching, how can you expect your players to pick it up?”
The writings are not just those from Epstein or new general manager Jed Hoyer, it contains contributions from coaches and staff at all levels of the organization.
“For us to teach the game the right way it’s more than words on a page,” Epstein said. “It comes down to how deep we dig to get connected to players to teach the game the right way. How much we care, how committed we are, how we treat each other in the front office, the coaches, the players, how hard we work.
“There is a lot that goes into this and building an organization. The big league team each year is the current manifestation of that.”