MESA, Ariz. -- Pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Saturday, but talk around Fitch Park was all about "the Cubs way."
So, team president Theo Epstein, can you put "the Cubs way" into a sentence or two for the Twitter generation?
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"It's going to be more than a couple sentences, it's going to be a few hundred pages," Epstein said as he met the media along with general manager Jed Hoyer and field boss Dale Sveum.
"We've got our scouting manual. That's all written because the scouting season is under way.
"Player development manual, we've got a long, rough draft on, and then the organizational meetings, that was the time for everyone to contribute, speak then or forever hold your peace so we could all get on the same page where we're going to be teaching the game the exact same way, everything from what foot you hit the bag with when you're making the turn to how we run bunt plays to what our overall organizational hitting philosophy is.
"You can't sum it up in one or two sentences. Everything about the game, we're going to approach the same way as an organization, from the Dominican Summer League through A-ball, AA, Triple-A right up to the big leagues.
"Playing hard is a big part of it, but playing the game the right way and teaching it consistently is important as well."
The short answer, unlike what Epstein gave, is that, no, "the Cubs way" cannot be reduced to 140 characters.
But the long and the short of it is that the new baseball regime is out to establish a new way of doing things, one that teaches the game the same way on every level.
But don't look for "the Cubs way" to be a best-seller. Epstein said there are no plans to make the manual public, but that fans and media eventually should see the proof on the field, whether that field is in Chicago, Des Moines or Daytona.
"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 and signed come through our system learn the Cub way and come and play that way at Wrigley.
"They should hold us accountable. We should get good results since this is a results-oriented business. You should see our players playing the same way in the minor leagues and up here when they get to the big leagues.
"They should see a fundamentally sound team. They should see smart and aggressive baseball.
"It doesn't matter how sausage is made. You don't necessarily need to see that, but this is a results-oriented business, and it better taste pretty good."
Cubs fans hope the sausage doesn't take too long to age. The Epstein regime is preaching long-term success, but the new boss says 2012 hasn't been forgotten.
"I think patience is important, but urgency is important as well," he said. "The goal of the 2012 Cubs is to win the World Series. And our goal as an organization is to build an organization that competes on an annual basis in the postseason and gives ourselves a chance to win the World Series.
"So patience, of course. There aren't going to be any shortcuts. We're looking at the big picture, and we're building this thing the right way. But urgency, of course. And the goal is clear."
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