(CBS) As the Cubs have opened spring training as the defending champions after breaking a 108-year title drought, multiple members have already spoken about the importance of avoiding complacency. Third baseman Kris Bryant called it “one of the worst words out there,” and manager Joe Maddon has stressed the mantra of being “uncomfortable” to keep an edge.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein understands all this, and he’s confident it won’t be a problem. He also wants to remind that fans shouldn’t worry about complacency or their changed experience as supporters of a long-suffering franchise who have suddenly become the big winners and the hunted.
“There’s no greater waste of time or energy than angst about how it’s going to be after you win,” Epstein said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 on Thursday. “It just gets better when you win a World Series, whether you’re a fan, a player or an executive. Everything is enhanced. The entire experience is better. So don’t be fretting about ‘Is is going to be just as fun now that we’ve won?’ I can tell you from experience, everything gets better. On a personal level, yeah, it’s a huge burden lifted because I don’t like letting people down.
“So that burden is gone, but it doesn’t make me any less hungry. We all want to win every single year. We want to put our imprint on this game. We know we have a special group, and we want to win multiple World Series with them. Having won, spring training has already been more enjoyable. Our players who have won the World Series for the first time, I see the opposite of complacency. Now they understand the game is all about winning and winning the whole thing. It’s not about playing time, it’s not about contracts, it’s not about anything else. It’s all about winning.
“The same will be true for fans. Whatever your experience was as a Cubs fan before, I believe it will be only better now that we’ve won.”
Listen to Epstein’s full interview with Spiegel and Parkins below.