Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts on Theo

A week and a half ago, Theo Epstein declined the Red Sox offer to remain as GM. There has been an enormous amount of commentary on the situation; I've listened to, and read, a lot of it, and have got a few comments of my own to make.

I realize that I'm in a minority here. A small one. But I don't think it's fair to blame ownership for what was, in the end, Theo Epstein's decision. If you want to blame Henry and Lucchino, I think that they can take some blame for not offering the final offer up front, last year, or in the spring, or on October 1st. The final offer, at any of those times, probably gets it done.

But in the end, they made the offers they needed to make. They wanted him back, and they met all of his demands, as near as we can tell from everything that everyone said. Theo decided it was time to move on. He said that there wasn't one reason, and I believe him. I can easily imagine many reasons that could have added up to make him decide to leave.

  • He had, in his first two years, come in and won a World Series. The first one for one of the most passionate fandoms in baseball in 86 years. How, exactly, could he top that?

  • He, and his family, have vocally proclaimed that his twin brother, the social worker, is the greater success.

  • He's worked for Larry Lucchino for 14 years. Relationships like that have shelf lives, and it's not at all inconceivable that he felt the need to get away from that relationship.

  • His relationship with Lucchino began when he was an intern and 18 years old. He may feel that it's time to find his first job as an adult for someone else.

  • He said that he was "reconciled" to the lack of privacy in Boston - that doesn't mean that it wasn't an issue.

  • There's a widespread public perception that he has the only job he should ever want - maybe he wants to get away from that job before he becomes trapped by it.

There's this widespread perception that a) management screwed up and b) Theo carries no responsibility for his leaving. I think that's totally backwards. It was Theo's decision, his and his alone. I think he did a very good job, and I wish him well, but I don't think was either indispensible or irreplaceable. I don't think that the team falls apart. I don't think that John Henry (whom I like) is a bad guy or a villain here, and I don't think that Larry Lucchino (whom I've never liked) is a bad guy or a villain here. There are no villains. They went into a negotiation instead of locking him up early. He took the opportunity to look around, and decided he wanted to do something else. They wish him well, as do I, and the team moves on...



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