Battle Of The Brain Trust On Display For This Fall Classic
Before the first pitch is thrown tomorrow night in Cleveland, there are two men at the forefront of the matchup in this Fall Classic. No, I’m not talking about Game 1 starters Jon Lester and Corey Kluber either, I am referring to the two President of Baseball Operations pitted agaisnt each other in this World Series. After going through the ebbs and flows of a re-build and for one postseason disappointment last season, the two respective Central Division champions have seen their vision cultivate this October leading up to one final best-of-seven series. The two men I am talking about are of course, Theo Epstein of Chicago and Chris Antonetti of Cleveland.
First up, we have Theo Epstein the 42-year-old executive from Yale with two World Series Championships on his résumé from his time with the Boston Red Sox. You all know the story by now of the youngest General Manager in the history of baseball that lifted the curse of the Bambino in Boston before resigning his position in 2011 after a well-documented spat with Larry Lucchino. Epstein then went on to join the Cubs as their President of Baseball Operations. It took Epstein’s plan three years to start to rear it’s head, but anybody who has watched this Chicago team at all knows the Cubs are a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Opposite Epstein is another man with Massachusetts ties, Chris Antonetti the President of Baseball Operations for the Indians. The 42-year-old executive graduated from Georgetown University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst before joining the Montreal Expos in 1997. Antonetti joined Cleveland in 1999 before he became General Manager after the 2010 season, and was promoted to his current position following last season. Antonetti worked his way through the organization and is a very well-respective baseball mind in all circles of the game.
These two relatively young and extremely bright men have forged their path as two of the best in baseball and that fact couldn’t be any more clearer than the two squaring off in this World Series. They have each drafted, developed and signed the best players to construct their current roster. Theo Epstein went back to his Boston roots when he signed Jon Lester away from Boston where he has proven once again why he is perhaps the best postseason starter in baseball. Antonetti took a flier on another Red Sox star on the 2013 World Champion team in first baseman Mike Napoli, and the wily veteran has done wonders in creating and instilling a winning culture to the Tribe and produced at the plate all season long.
Epstein and Antonetti both went out prior to the trade deadline and mortgaged the future for two of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Both trades coincidentally involved the New York Yankees who dealt Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman to Chicago and ALCS MVP Andrew Miller to Cleveland. I’d say both trades have been slam dunk, home runs so to speak, and their ability to draft and develop extraordinary talent put each team in prime position to add to their current roster by dealing away promising prospects.
Another quality both of these men possess is absolute trust in their Manager. Theo Epstein paid top dollar to hire Joe Maddon, one of the best Managers in baseball, and has the utmost confidence in his ability. The same can be said in Antonetti who has watched his skipper, Terry Francona, work wonders with his bullpen pulling all the right strings this postseason.
These two men share many similarities and one will hoist the World Series Championship Trophy at the conclusion of what is sure to be a classic battle. Either way, one of these men will be responsible with ending a seemingly endless World Series drought, 108 and 68 years in the making, respectively. So while you’re indulging in these two fantastic teams battle it out over the duration of the series, remember all that has gone into constructing them. Keep Theo Epstein and Chris Antonetti in mind because they are two of the very best at what they do, and have each built a tremendous supporting staff under them to get to the pinnacle they are at today. The battle of the brain trust will be on full display this Fall Classic.
As an aspiring baseball front office executive myself, these two men are the who I admire to be more than anyone else in the world. They have the track record of success and Antonetti majored in sport management at the University of Massachusetts such as I am presently prior to graduation this May. Watching the Red Sox, the remnants from Epstein successful tenure still remain and are a large part in Boston’s success, even this season. I have followed their career paths closely and soon, one will be celebrated for winning a championship and restoring the pride of baseball in their city.
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