On a fateful summer night in 2015 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs showed a glimpse of what the future holds for the team and its loyal fans. All of us have at least an inkling of how trusting the system – no matter how difficult it is sometimes – will eventually lead to greater results in the future.
Jake Arrieta is consistently proving to everyone – Chicagoans and baseball fans in general – there really is hope. Truth be told, we can even credit to the Cubs’ president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer, and their vision to turn MLB’s longest-running losers into true winners.
In this so-called Epstein era, a young Jake Arrieta inspired confidence rather than concern, a force on the mound who had supreme velocity and control with every pitch. We can call it either improved concentration or heightened focus, at the end of the day; he and intangibles just don’t mix well.
It shouldn’t be shocking, really, as Theo Epstein along with Hoyer sort of hit the reset button and started fresh with the club. The result, as we all know and see today, is promising. The Chicago Cubs, right now, are a cohesive baseball team with a common goal and, above all, the mental fortitude to attain their goals together.
Focus and concentration are two key ingredients in success. This infographic points out that with constant demands both physically and mentally, or activities that require certain responses under pressure, result in us strengthening our overall disposition. This, in a way, embodies Epstein’s approach of finding an edge beyond the usual baseball statistics.
“I think the real competitive advantage now is in player development – understanding that your young players are human beings,” Epstein says. He added: “Understanding them physically, fundamentally, and mentally-investing in them as people – and helping them progress – there’s no stat for that.”
There’s absolutely no way of measuring team chemistry and cerebral intangibles. In other words, building a mentally strong team is no easy task. However, Theo Epstein, along with the decision-makers in the Chicago Cubs organization, managed to do it, whether subconsciously or otherwise.
Epstein persistently promotes a team-first attitude and stresses the importance of emotional conditioning unlike any other. Just like the innovative somewhat radical 2002 Oakland Athletics team, the Cubs aren’t only looking for players who can swing for the fences and throw bombs on the mound. When all’s said and done, they have players who cultivate the team concept and are prepared to battle anytime, which will hopefully lead us to baseball’s promised land.