The leadoff-hitter thing, I think, it's always nice to have an established leadoff hitter and to have someone who can really get on base and set the tone.

Once you thrust yourself out there in the public domain, it's really hard to retreat, to say no or reclaim that certain part of your life as private.

When we build that foundation for sustained success, and it ultimately results in a World Series, it's going to be more than just a World Series.

I like to have some privacy, especially where my family is concerned, so when I'm recognized, I'll usually say something like 'I get that all the time' or 'Theo Epstein? Who's that?'

The Cubs - with their passionate fans, dedicated ownership, tradition, and World Series drought - represented the ultimate new challenge and the one team I could imagine working for after such a fulfilling Red Sox experience.

There's a cumulative effort within the course of a game, a series, and a season, too, where you see so many pitches and have so many at-bats that you can wear down an opponent. Once you develop that reputation as a club, year after year, players come in, and they tend to fit in with that profile.

As I sat back and imagined what my transition from the Red Sox might be, I thought it would smell more like champagne than beer, I guess you would say.

I don't know if I could go to another run-of-the-mill baseball department and work because it would probably feel like work. In Boston and Chicago, it doesn't feel like work. It feels like a privilege.

I love being in a city that's playing October baseball, where you can just feel everyone captivated by the ball club, everyone walking around tired from staying up late, prioritizing baseball above all else. It's a great phenomenon.

I do think we can be honest and upfront that certain organizations haven't gotten the job done. That's the approach we took in Boston. We identified certain things that we hadn't been doing well, that might have gotten in the way of a World Series, and eradicated them.

I'm not going to try to deny that I'm a Red Sox fan. I grew up a Red Sox fan, had a great decade here that I really enjoyed, and that will always be a part of me.

To win the World Series, you have to be able to do a lot of things well.

Whoever your boss is, or your bosses are, they have 20 percent of their job that they just don't like.

Be intentional about the spaces you create but not at the cost of compromising other elements.

Scouting and player development is the key to year-in and year-out success, not the occasional lucky hit. There are no definitive answers in this game, no shortcuts. When you think you've got it all figured out, you can get humbled very quickly.

If you're trying to avoid one move that you don't think is going to work out, don't then settle for a different move that maybe doesn't check all the boxes. Be true to the philosophy and understand the bigger picture. There's always another day to fight.

You don't want to make a living or habit out of trying to solve your problems with high-price pitching free agents because over the long run, there's so much risk involved that you really can hamstring your organization.

I used to follow people home. I just like being anonymous so much that I would follow people home because they didn't know who I was, and I could watch them. I know how that sounds. I could not exist but observe.

It's best not to think about winning or losing trades anyway, because the best ones work out for both teams. But, as a rule, if you're the team that's selling - if you're out of it, and you're trading with a team that's in it - you usually have the pick of just about their whole farm system, with a few exclusions.

Every opportunity to win is sacred. It's sacred to us inside the organization, and it should be sacred to the fans as well. They deserve our best efforts to do what we can to improve the club and put the club in position to succeed in any given season.

I think everyone deserves more than one World Series every 108 years so.

If we think a playoff spot's not in the cards, there will be no concern for appearances or cosmetics whatsoever. We'll continue to address our future and trade off some pieces that would keep us respectable.

You've just got to kind of play the hand you're dealt.

It's a natural push and pull that exists in any sports organization. When you are in a big market and then you win, and you're up against the Yankees, and ratings are what they are and attendance is what it is, no one wants to go backwards; as a business, you don't want to go backwards.

It's always different when a guy gets drafted and developed and comes up in his first organization and makes an impact. There's something special and timeless about it.

The fact that guys adjusted really quickly to the big leagues, developed really quickly, faced adversity under the brightest spotlights, played great baseball, overcame so much, overcame centuries worth of issues and won a World Series, I guess it doesn't necessarily mean we're still not just prone to the laws of nature and reality and baseball.

It took me coming to the Midwest to realize I was the jerk. People are so nice here. They're so grounded.

We knew the 2017-18 offseason would be one of our most challenging. We've known that for a long time.

The Cubs, we built one of best farm systems - I think for a while there, it was the best farm system in baseball. And that was great. It got a lot of attention. But we didn't want the credit for the farm system. What we wanted was to see if we could do the tricky part, which was turn a lauded farm system into a World Series champion.

There's nothing I hate more than someone who speaks in the draft room with absolute conviction, but they have nothing to back it up.

I think people want the Cubs to succeed, and by extension, they want people associated with the Cubs to succeed.

If the seller has a player that they think is going to have a lot of value, they're aware of it, protect that value. You have to go get it. That's the way the trade market works.

Tolerance is important, especially in a democracy. The ability to have honest conversations, even if you come from a different place, a difference perspective, is fundamentally important.

It stinks to give up a good player. But if you think that way, you'll never make any trades. You have to focus on what you're getting back.

The 2011 Cubs were the oldest team in the division, the most expensive team in the division, and the worst team in the division. And we really needed to start over.

I ended up staying 10 years in Boston. It was nine as GM but 10 years there. That seemed about right: long enough to try to make a difference and try to contribute to winning teams and some championships.

If you want to continue to be good and perform at a high level and be deep in all areas, you still have to hit on some undervalued players, too. You can't just go out and sign marquee free agents or trade for players when they're at the peak of their value. That's not a formula for long-term success.

It's hypocritical to say when things are going well, 'Interview me. Ask me how great I am. Ask me about family and personal life.' At some point later, when someone wants information and you want to draw the line, how do you do that?

I want to thank everyone who has ever put on a Cubs uniform and anyone who has ever rooted for the Cubs.

There has to be active, hands-on management in concert with the manager to lead the organization and make sure that the standards that we set for the organization as a whole are being lived up to.

We try to do a great job of understanding the opposing hitter and his tendencies. Maybe understand the hitter better than he knows himself.

Typically, it takes young players years to adjust to life in the big leagues and to start performing up to their capabilities. Most of the blame for this rests on these ridiculous old baseball norms that say young players are to be seen and not heard.

Players that tend to respond to adversity the right way and triumph in the end are players with strong character. If you have enough guys like that in the clubhouse, you have an edge on the other team.

You have years where most things go your way, and you have years where more things than usual seem like a challenge.

Baseball is better with tradition, with history. Baseball is better with fans who care.

We want to try and transform the Red Sox into a team like the Braves or the Yankees, where you can almost count on the postseason every year.

The only time I think about my contract is when I'm asked about it by the media.

I work for the Chicago Cubs, a team with a following so loyal and adoring and a history so forlorn that we were known nationwide as the Loveable Losers.

If I let my brain follow its path unfettered, it would be kinda ugly.