Theo Epstein: Chicago bar scene has been “an impediment to the Cubs in winning”

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Cubs president Theo Epstein has developed (and will distribute) a pamphlet outlining the way he expects players in the organization to behave. Especially those tempted by the Chicago nightlife.

“It’s been a factor in ruining some careers,” Epstein told the Chicago Tribune. “And I’m sure it’s been an impediment to the Cubs in winning. … The approach we’re going to have is the opposite of laissez faire. We’re not just going to say, ‘Oh, that’s the way it is. This is Chicago. Boys will be boys. I’m sure they’re going to get enough sleep and I’m sure they’ll show up the next day ready to play.’ That’s a failure on the organization’s part. We have to take a very proactive approach in setting a high standard.”

The Cubs still play far more day games than any other team in Major League Baseball. And in a city with 4 a.m. liquor licenses, that can mean rough sleep schedules for athletes who like to go out.

“It’s important for young players to recognize that you need to get your sleep,” veteran outfielder Reed Johnson told the Tribune. “This is your career. This is what you do for a livelihood. You need to treat it that way, especially in our park. You don’t have that extra 10 hours when you wake up in the morning to get ready for that 7 o’clock night game.”

So instead of treating grown-ups like grown-ups and hoping for good decision-making, the new Epstein-led regime is informing players this spring that with a new sheriff comes a new set of expectations.

Watch: Cavan Biggio delivers his first MLB hit

Cavan Biggio
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Blue Jays top prospect Cavan Biggio made his MLB debut on Friday; by Sunday, he had his first pair of big-league hits, too. His first big moment arrived in the third inning of the team’s series finale against the Padres, when he chopped a Robbie Erlin fastball into right field for a single.

Biggio’s hit proved instrumental in getting the Blue Jays on the board. He advanced Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to third base and, in the next at-bat, Brandon Drury grounded into a force out to drive in the club’s first run of the afternoon.

In the fourth, Biggio went… well, bigger (sorry). He worked a 1-2 count against right-handed reliever Matt Wisler, then unloaded a towering 404-foot solo shot for his first MLB home run:

The 24-year-old second baseman is poised to make a big impact for the Blue Jays in 2019. The son of Hall of Fame infielder/outfielder Craig Biggio, Cavan ranked no. 9 among the organization’s prospects at the start of the season and slashed a promising .307/.445/.504 with six home runs, five stolen bases (in six attempts), and a .949 OPS through 173 PA at Triple-A Buffalo before getting the call to the Show this weekend. If Sunday’s performance is anything to go off of, it looks like the Blue Jays will be able to count on similar production levels from the rookie at the major-league level as well.

The Blue Jays currently lead the Padres 3-1 in the fifth.