Theo Epstein used to follow random people home so he could “watch them”

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There’s a big story by the great Wright Thompson about Cubs president Theo Epstein in the latest ESPN the Magazine.

The story is excellent, capturing the rise of Cubs president Theo Epstein from boy wonder GM to the 40-something leader of baseball’s best team. It’s a story about his maturation and his experience more than anything else. We learn a lot about given players through features like these, but rarely do we get such behind-the-scenes looks at a baseball executives.

As for the journey on which Epstein has found himself, well, yeah, he’s come a long way. While the story starts with him reveling in the crowd at the recent Pearl Jam show at Wrigley Field and playing guitar in front of his friends, Epstein talks about how introverted and socially out of place he felt when he first became the Red Sox general manager. Get this:

“I was emotionally 16 when I was 28 and got the job,” he says. “I was so introverted. I used to follow people home. I just like being anonymous so much that I would follow people home because they didn’t know who I was and I could watch them. I know how that sounds. I could not exist but observe. I could put a hat on and follow them.”

Well, he’s much better now.

In other news, being placed in a job like that when you’re 28 in a place like Boston is probably a stressful as all get out kind of experience.