Fortune is out with its annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders, comprised of “men and women transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same,” and out of everybody “in business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe,” the person selected as the very greatest is… Theo Epstein!
Yes, the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs is in the top spot, ahead of Jack Ma and Pope Francis. Angela Merkel is in right behind John McCain at No. 10, Janet Yellen comes in at No. 17, two spots up on Samantha Bee, and Jamie Dimon is 12 spots behind Shakira at No. 39. It’s kind of a mind-boggling list.
Epstein over the Pope, though? Well, when’s the last time the Pope snapped a 108-year championship drought, as Epstein did with the Cubs? And that followed Epstein building the Red Sox into a world champion in 2004 for their first title since 1918. Francis has been Pope since 2013, and since then, Vatican City’s soccer team has failed to so much as score a goal, losing twice to Monaco by 2-0 scores. They haven’t even played a game since 2014. Full credit to the Holy See, though, for steering clear of FIFA membership, as it would be unseemly for Christ’s vicar on earth to be in league with Satan.
On a direct baseball level, Epstein is a surefire Hall of Famer, while Francis has not yet even matched the accomplishments of his predecessors, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI – all of whom celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium and are honored with plaques in Monument Park.
Plus, how many people in Chicago, Boston and other places around the world with fans of the Cubs and Red Sox has Epstein inspired to prayer? And that’s not even his job like it is for the Pope.
So, yeah, it seems crazy when you first hear it, but Fortune is right on: Epstein over the Pope is the new Theo-logy.
Minor league teams have known for some time that the zanier their outfits and more outlandish their names, the more attention they garner, fans they draw and merchandise they sell. Another sure-fire crowd-pleaser is to sell hats featuring foods that people like. In Montgomery, they named their team the Biscuits. Now there’s another approach.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Fresno Grizzlies are involved in a great transcontinental battle for Internet-loved food supremacy, with the IronPigs appropriately repping Bacon and the Grizzlies going with the food that they self-applied as a secondary identity last year, the Tacos. They have an anthropomorphic bacon strip and taco as logos that can be put on hats, shirts or whatever you desire, and they sure do have a website where you can buy it all – how baconvstacos.com wasn’t taken before now is a mystery for the ages.
Kudos to both teams for figuring out that there are lots of people who are passionate enough about bacon and tacos to want to wear clothing emblazoned with bacon and tacos. Actually, not and, or. Which is the problem. We should all be able to get along here. Why not put bacon on tacos? Then you’ve got a real winner.
There’s a lot to process in this paragraph from ESPN.
“Peru law enforcement on Wednesday seized 1,417 kilos of cocaine, much of it adorned with logos that bear the photo and name of Barcelona star Lionel Messi. The haul was found wrapped in containers of squid filets and destined for Belgium.”
Peruvian cocaine, camouflaged among squid filets, bearing the image of an Argentine soccer legend who plays in Spain, headed for Belgium. If soccer truly is the global game, drug smuggling has to be a close second.
A story like this also presents journalists with an opportunity to do their best work.
“Authorities who were seizing cocaine in Peru were in for a Messi situation,” wrote Ryan DiPentima of the Palm Beach Post.
“When people talk about Lionel Messi leading the line, this… is not what they mean,” wrote James Bridget Gordon of Paste Magazine.
“WHAT A MESS,” blared the headline from The Sun, quite simply.
In December 2015, two men were arrested in the Bronx when cops caught them with a mere $3 million worth of coke, with the bricks then only stamped with Messi’s personal logo, not his image. The Messi cocaine market has experienced significant growth in just over a year’s time and certainly bears watching.
Really, though, what a slap in the face to Argentine soccer legend and actual notorious coke fiend Diego Maradona.