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While the challenge of bringing the Cubs their first championship in more than a century offers more than enough potential prestige for three men, it's also clear that their own unique camaraderie brought them to the club. "This job became a lot more attractive once it became clear I had a chance to land both these guys," Epstein said.
McLeod spoke of how the Padres were his hometown team. "There's no other reason I would have left San Diego than to work with Theo again," he said.
Epstein said his dynamic with Hoyer will largely remain the same as in Boston, with the two spurring each other on, only with Epstein moving up a rung to president of baseball operations and Hoyer having "traditional general-manager duties" to "run the major-league club day to day."
Yet it's telling that Epstein stepped in to poach a couple media questions intended for Hoyer: He said the team would undertake "a thorough process to determine what's best for the Cubs" where Carlos Zambrano is concerned (perhaps to elevate his trade value, as no player is harder to move than one a team has said it will definitely move), and largely waved good-bye to free agent Aramis Ramirez, while leaving open the possibility he could yet sign a multiyear deal to return. Epstein also damned manager Mike Quade with faint praise, saying, "Mike is certainly a good baseball guy."
These three project the attitude that being "a good baseball guy," of a sort the Cubs have traditionally relied on, is no longer good enough.