CHICAGO — It’s a good thing “Jeopardy!” champion James Holzhauer is a Theo Epstein admirer. Perhaps he’ll let the Cubs president keep his job.
Holzhauer, who on Thursday ran his winning streak on the popular TV trivia show to 21 games and his earnings to more than $1.6 million, has designs on holding a front-office position in Major League Baseball one day. And he’s a Cubs fan, so you do the math.
In all seriousness, though, getting a front-office job was a childhood fantasy the Naperville, Ill., native and University of Illinois graduate has mused about to several media outlets and his Twitter followers.
“I always dreamed of working in an MLB front office and ruining baseball, but I have to settle for ruining @Jeopardy instead,” Holzhauer tweeted Monday in response to a Washington Post opinion piece claiming he is a “menace” to the show.
He told the Athletic, “I’ve always been a math guy and I was hooked on all the statistics that baseball offered.”
In fact, growing up he would get his afternoon dose of the Cubs and “Jeopardy!” before “my dad would come home from work and turn the TV off,” Holzhauer said to MLB.com.
He also told MLB.com: “I kind of put it aside the last 10 years or so, but when I was a teenager, I was idolizing guys like Billy Beane and Theo Epstein, who were really bringing the statistical revolution to the masses.”
Now as a “Jeopardy!” contestant, he successfully answered a clue (Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant) about the Cubs’ 2016 World Series championship, prompting the show to tweet: “Does James get bonus points for wearing blue?”
For the professional sports gambler who lives in Las Vegas, that’s probably the equivalent of a meatball pitch.
With his winnings at $1,608,627 through Thursday, Holzhauer trails only all-time leader Ken Jennings of Seattle, who won a whopping $2,520,700 million during his 74-game winning streak (he added $2,000 as runner-up in his 75th straight game). Holzhauer is on pace to surpass Jennings’ total in 33 games.
Holzhauer has applied his own metrics to his “Jeopardy!” strategy, contributing to his successful run. Perhaps Epstein will take notice?
But while a major league front-office position might be a pipe dream, at least Holzhauer received an offer to write an essay for next year’s Baseball Prospectus from editor-in-chief Aaron Gleeman.
“You’ll regret those words, Gleeman!” Holzhauer replied.
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