Authenticity

by Tom Swift

The nightly talk shows, as well as the morning news shows, came calling again last month after [Theo] Epstein, in his fifth year as president of baseball operations of the [Chicago] Cubs, ended an even bigger drought than the one in Boston: He presided over their first World Series title in 108 years. Again, he declined the offers. Instead, on Saturday, Nov. 5, the day after the championship parade in Chicago that drew millions of people, Epstein and Jed Hoyer, his GM and close friend, were in the office preparing for the general manager’s meetings.

“Eddie Vedder has been a really good role model, and not just him, the whole band (Peal Jam),” Epstein says. “They’re great at carving out just enough space for their music, their art and their fans. They created their art, they enjoyed it, and they made sure their fans enjoyed it.

“They didn’t make music videos just to broaden their appeal, because that would get in the way of their art. There’s a real lesson there. Be intentional about the spaces you create but not at the cost of compromising other elements. I’ve gotten to know [Vedder] extensively, but everything I need to know I can see by the choices he makes. I’ve been around him long enough to know how the [band members] create careers, but at the same time their lives and families reflect their values appropriately. It comes back to being genuine, slowing things down, being thoughtful of others and being true to yourself.”

-Tom Verducci, “The Rainmaker,” Sports Illustrated, 12-19-2016