“The Red Sox keep turning into the Yankees….Boston’s front office is a soap opera. New York’s front office is the calmest and quietest I’ve seen it since George took over. Who’d have thunk it?” So writes the redoubtable Dave Pinto, of Baseball Musings. And don’t even get the Boston media started. Shaughnessy:
With his silence and refusal to take himself off the map of Red Sox Nation, Epstein allowed himself to be put in a no-lose situation — at the expense of everyone else currently toiling in baseball operations at Yawkey Way. Through his unofficial spokesman from ESPN (the inimitable Gammons), we heard Theo was behind deals the Sox made. He got credit for the good transactions, whether he deserved it or not, but would never be blamed if any failed.
Like a character from Camelot, Theo remained forever young, forever brilliant, forever the man who brought a championship to Boston. And as long as he operated in the shadows, or allowed us to believe he was still involved, he couldn’t lose. This dynamic made Theo less than popular with some of his hard-working friends in baseball operations.
On the surface, it would be easy to celebrate Epstein’s return as a glorious reconciliation, but it would be foolish to do so. We already know too much. When Epstein walked away from the Red Sox on Oct. 31, his departure was looked upon nobly. In part because Lucchino diddled around during contract negotiations, Epstein thumbed his nose at the Sox and walked out the door. He had his whole life in front of him. Who needed the Red Sox? Now, Epstein is returning, and we cannot help but wonder: Why? Epstein is young and smart, and he (along with Lucchino and Henry) built the Red Sox into champions generally by making shrewd decisions. The Red Sox played the percentages during their run to the world title, yet it certainly seems now — for Epstein, in particular — the chances of failure are much greater than chances of success.
They have a zoo in Beantown right?