Blog Entry

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure

Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 12:35 pm

By Evan Brunell

On the day that Theo Epstein will be named president of the Chicago Cubs, leaving the Red Sox after 10 seasons, he wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Boston Globe, in which he addressed questions as to why he left -- and in the process, may have shaped his upcoming press conference at 12 p.m. ET announcing the move to Chicago to be more about the Cubs, not the Red Sox, with many answers provided in the piece.

"The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships. It has nothing to do with September, either," Epstein wrote, noting that he felt Boston should have an explanation for why he was leaving -- and felt his own 12-year-old self would appreciate such an explanation too, relaying a story of how crushed he was when the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series.

Among Epstein's notes are that he was planning on leaving Boston after 2012 and grooming Ben Cherington for the role, but found the challenge of the Cubs too enticing, thereby leaving a year earlier than intended. Epstein says he never would have made the move if he didn't believe Cherington was qualified to step in, saying "If not for the complete confidence I have in Ben to address these issues, I could not in good conscience leave the organization at this time. But there is no one in baseball more qualified to be the next general manager of the Red Sox." Epstein also said Cherington was "infinitely" more prepared to be GM than Epstein was in 2003, noting the many varied roles Cherington has held with the Red Sox since 1999.

Epstein also drew parallels between his own search for a new manager after Grady Little was let go following the 2003 season and the current search, saying that his bonding experience with eventual hire Terry Francona, who left the organization as well after 2011, was huge and Epstein did not want to deprive Cherington of that same connection with the eventual manager. Given that the plan was already in place to have Cherington succeed Epstein after 2012 -- a discussion that began in earnest in the summer when the Red Sox were in the midst of a 81-42 surge that left them with the best record in baseball for an extended period of time.

A major reason why Epstein felt comfortable leaving the Red Sox -- both after the season and after 2012 -- is due to Bill Walsh, one-time head coach of the San Francisco 49ers who passed away in 2007 as one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the sport.

"Football legend Bill Walsh used to say that coaches and executives should seek change after 10 years with the same team," Epstein wrote. "The theory is that both the individual and the organization benefit from a change after so much time together. The executive gets rebirth and the energy that comes with a new challenge; the organization gets a fresh perspective, and the chance for true change that comes with new leadership."

Epstein had incredibly glowing words for the organization on the way out, saying that the 7-20 September that destroyed the season for the Red Sox will serve "as an anomaly in the midst of a decades-long run of success for the franchise. Some good may even come from it." Some of that good is already on display, Epstein saying that the players he spoke to after the season are "predicating" themselves this winter while management plans to raise several standards. "September happened despite [the owners], not because of them," Epstein said of principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino. Some have speculated as to whether Lucchino's relationship with Epstein was part of the reason the GM left. Lucchino mentored Epstein in Baltimore and San Diego before bringing him to Boston, but the two had a public fallout in 2005 when Epstein briefly resigned as GM at the end of October before returning a month later with more power. Epstein says he has "close" relationships with Henry and Werner, but put Lucchino in another category, saying his relationship with Lucchino was "complicated but ultimately productive and rewarding."

These words doesn't sound like a man desperate to leave Boston, but as Epstein explains, the reason he left one year earlier than intended was simply because the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"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," Epstein wrote.

"I won’t be there, but the 12-year-old in me will be rooting for the Red Sox (except, of course, when they play the Cubs in June)."

Read up on the Theo Epstein madness here.

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Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:55 pm

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure

Do people not shave these days? Put on a white shirt, tie and coat and ... forget to shave.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:54 pm

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure

Welcome to Chicago Theo!  You have a big mess you need to clean.  I would start with the Little League Farm System.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:18 pm

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure

Ease up dude.  We would all leave for a better job position and more money.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:51 am

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure


Epstein, you quit. Like your players you signed. Pathetic.  Go through the motions to get that paycheck.

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