After saying earlier this week that he was contemplating retirement, Eric Chavez clarified things today by telling Jane Lee of MLB.com that he has no plans to call it quits before at least trying one more comeback.
I don’t know if I’ll every play again, I really don’t. But I’m going to try. I’m not going to get on any type of official schedule. My goal is to be back in Oakland by September. It may be in uniform, it may be out of uniform. I’m not really sure yet. But I’ve been working out and, physically, I’m feeling really good. I’m just going to start trying to do some baseball activities and see what happens. But, I’m literally going to take it day by day and not put a stamp on a plan.
If I feel like things aren’t working out, I guess I’ll have to think about things then. But, I’m really not sure. I’ve definitely thought about retirement, but I’m not ready to commit to that yet. When I can’t physically get any work done on the baseball field, I know I’m going to have to really consider it, but I’m going to try to play to the end and give myself every chance to play baseball. I’m at that point where I’m not ready to make that decision, so that tells me I’m going to keep going.
The whole article is worth reading, because it paints a picture of a person who seems relatively at peace with the fact that injuries ruined his career before age 30. Chavez hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2006, going through countless injuries and setbacks during that time, but he’s made a whole bunch of money and has been hanging out with his family and … well, my guess is soon enough he’ll choose that over trying to fight his way back for another season.
Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.
For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.
So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?
The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.
I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.
Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.
But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.
United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.
Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.
The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.