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Theo Epstein named in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People

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Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was named in TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Actor John Cusack, a noted Cubs fan, wrote Epstein’s blurb. Cusack said:

After that epic World Series Game 7, I found myself in the dugout watching first baseman Anthony Rizzo waving to the heavens. Theo was quite still—I watched him watch Rizzo. He must have felt it and turned to me, almost apologetic. “I haven’t given you a proper hug!” he said.

“Greatest sporting moment of the century,” I told him. “Thank you. And thank you from my father.” He took it but undercut his achievement with a wry smile. “No,” he said, “it’s all about these guys.” Then he walked back into the fray.

Others named in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People included Pope Francis, LeBron James, John Lewis, Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady, and Jordan Peele.

Epstein was also named The World’s Greatest Leader by Forbes last month. He has ended two historic championship droughts for the Red Sox and Cubs and the accolades keep on piling up.

Cubs fire pitching coach Chris Bosio

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In something of a surprising move, the Chicago Cubs fired their pitching coach, Chris Bosio on Saturday. Bosio had held the job since the 2011-12 offseason.

The Cubs made the NLCS this year, but were nowhere as near the formidable as their 2016 World Series champion iteration. While there were several reasons for that, one was that the pitching staff, which featured multiple, better-than-expected performances in 2016, but took a step back in 2017. Some of that was personnel — Joe Maddon did not have Aroldis Chapman to call on in the postseason like he did last year — and a lot of that was mere regression from veterans like Jon Lester and John Lackey. A lot of it had to do with a much higher walk rate this year than in the past.

Still, there was no chatter during the season or at the time of the Cubs’ playoff exit the other day that Bosio might be a fall guy. The Chicago Tribune reports that it was Joe Maddon’s call and that he had grown displeased with Bosio. The Tribune report suggests that Cubs pitchers will be displeased with the move as they were devoted to Bosio. Coaches, of course, come and go, so I suspect they’ll get over it.

Whatever the case, Bosio likely won’t say unemployed for long. He is widely credited with helping Jake Arrieta transform from a project to an ace and for the considerable and the somewhat unexpectedly successful development of Kyle Hendricks. The Tribune suggests that he’d be a good fit in Minnesota, where his former teammate Paul Molitor is in search of a new pitching coach.

There are several intriguing coaches available at the moment, most notably Mike Maddux, who has been the Nationals pitching coach but whose status is now in flux given the firing of Dusty Baker. Maddux’s brother Greg, of course, is a spring training pitching instructor for the Cubs. The Tribune adds that Maddon may look to his old Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey or, possibly, even recently fired Red Sox manager John Farrell, who made his bones as a pitching coach.