We’re not ones to mix our presidential metaphors, but it is beginning to look like a Cubs World Series title is (manifest) destiny.
See, the last time the Cubs were the kings of the baseball world, Theodore Roosevelt was in office. And after a century of tinkering (hidden Cub pun!) with various failed measures like a College of Coaches and back-t0-back-to-back first-round picks Ty Griffin, Earl Cunningham and Lance Dickson and a list of other occurrences and decisions long enough to break the Internet, the team has finally returned to a proven winning formula: Theodore Roosevelt in office.
To be specific, that would be Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III, aka TRL, aka Teddy Ballgame Jr., aka Ted Lilly. The former Cubs pitcher, who hung up his cleats this offseason, was named a special assistant to club president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer on Tuesday.
Lilly’s duties in his role will include evaluating minor league talent, visiting team minor-league affiliates and scouting amateur players for the draft. They will presumably not include teaching players how to barrel through catchers, as Lilly did to St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in 2008, since that practice was recently semi-banned by Major League Baseball.
His name connection to our nation’s 26th President is no coincidence. Lilly’s great-grandfather served as a Rough Rider with Roosevelt in the Spanish-American War, and then began the practice of naming the first-born Lilly male heir after T.R. (there is now a little tyke named Theodore Roosevelt Lilly IV running around for those who are interested in such things).
Hopefully this move will bring enough positive mojo to the Cubs’ quest for their first World Series title since Lilly’s namesake was in the Oval Office. With the whole presidential connection thing going, 2016 sounds about right. (Speaking of presidential politics, a Cubs World Series win in ’16 would bode well for Chris Christie — the last president fat enough to get stuck in the White House bath tub, William Howard Taft, was elected a month after the Cubs clinched their most recent title).