Theo Epstein Discusses ‘Diversity Committee,’ Says Cubs Ready for New Spring Training When Baseball Resumes

Theo Epstein addressed a number of topics during a Monday conference call with media members, among them the societal unrest that has led to nationwide protests and demonstrations over the past several days. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Epstein opened the call by offering condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and “countless victims that keep losing their lives to racist violence in this country.”

Ed. note: It’s great to see Gonzales back on the beat after his furlough.

“I join my colleagues at the Cubs in standing up in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters who are doing their best to make this a real inflection point in our history,” Epstein said. “At this moment in time, silence is complicity, and it’s important that all of our voices are heard.”

Epstein went on to say that the Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and president of business operations Crane Kenney are forming a diversity committee to set better standards within the organization. Listen, I’m no expert in these matters, but I’m not so sure a pair of wealthy white dudes is best suited to be putting such a committee together. Let’s just hope whatever comes of this leads to legitimate change in the form of action and not just more lip service.

As for the baseball side of things, Epstein shot down any notion that Ian Happ and Dakota Mekkes road-tripping to Chicago was anything other than a function of their lease running out. Their time in Arizona had come to its natural conclusion, so they headed north looking for new digs and hoping to play ball at some point this summer.

To that end, Epstein said the Cubs are ready to restart spring training should the league and players reach an agreement. Players and coaches alike have done a good job of staying ready, though I would imagine that’s an easier task for the latter group. The widely accepted timeframe for a rebooted preseason is three weeks, with another week of travel/prep time, so it’ll take just about a month to get the season started from the time an agreement is reached.

Based on the union’s reported response to the latest proposal, however, we may not get an agreement at all. There could still be a season, of course, but there’s an increasing likelihood that it’ll come as the result of players having to go along with a league-mandated slate of 50 or fewer games. Fun times, right?

As much as the players are dug in on the idea of getting the entirety of their prorated salaries, I can see them begrudgingly going along with something between 50 games and the 76 proposed Monday. Make it 62 or something and split the difference.

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