Boston: The New Bronx?

“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?

24 comments… add one
  • RSN is predictably pissed at CHB-Dan Shaugnessy. But I don’t understand the logic of their argument. Much of these people blame him for Theo’s initial departure, citing his connection to Luchinno and anti-Theo people in the organization, and the article that was supposedly an airing out of Larry and co’s complaints about boy genius. Now, he puts out a similar piece, citing presumably the same anti-Theo people (“This dynamic made Theo less than popular with some of his hard-working friends in baseball operations.”), and he’s seen as trying to inject himself in the story. But, isn’t it the case that this article is another updated list of complaints from people still angry with Theo? And why should CHB be viewed as somehow creating drama out of nowhere now, when the initial article was pinned as a plant from Larry? Might this be another planted article?

    Nick January 20, 2006, 12:19 pm
  • I’m telling you…rocky roads ahead.

    walein January 20, 2006, 12:35 pm
  • YF couldn’t have picked two worse Boston scribes to quote. I’ll just leave it at that.

    SF January 20, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • hear, hear.

    Steve January 20, 2006, 1:45 pm
  • has Gammons even chimed in yet, or does he think it would be a conflict of interest?

    Nick January 20, 2006, 1:47 pm
  • Is it a conflict of interest for Shaughnessy, Nick?

    SF January 20, 2006, 2:06 pm
  • apparently CHB does not have scruples;) Also, Shaugnessy actually is offering us potentially interesting new information that the Red Sox regime would like us not to see. The implication of his piece is that people Theo works with are pissed with him about what he put them through. That’s news-worthy if true. It seems that Gammons’ perspective probably aligns (too uncannily) with the official line.

    Nick January 20, 2006, 2:15 pm
  • It would be newsworthy if Shaughnessy could be trusted. He can’t – he’s a total hack, an attention-seeker, and an egomaniac. Masarotti isn’t much better. They are the scum of the Boston media pond. It’s like saying William Safire was worth taking seriously as a journalist during the last several years of his NYT tenure; for the most part, he was a partisan hatchet man spouting completely phony “facts” in the interest of his own narrow and partisan political views.
    Shaughnessy acts in the same capacity, but with sports rather than politics. He’s simply not a reporter, he’s just an opinion maker. Like us, I suppose, except that we don’t pretend to be anything else.

    SF January 20, 2006, 2:56 pm
  • Soxaholix has an interesting speculation: Theo’s title will be given next week, the new National owners will be announced next week … and Lucchino will move to the Nationals next week?
    Otherwise, Henry has already said Theo’s job will not be higher than the one he left — in that case, WHY DON’T THEY NAME IT ALREADY?!?

    john January 20, 2006, 5:55 pm
  • This is what I don’t follow: CHB’s first column is widely cited as one of the major reasons Theo got upset and walked away. The theory was that CHB was doing a hatchet job for Larry and Theo recognized it. That suggests to me that Napolean Dynamite has an in with elements of the front office. Like Gammons, Brian Krakow gets reliable information from people in the know. Of course, David Kleinfeld (of Carlito’s Way fame) is representing just one side of the coin. But that side is important in understanding what the tensions were that originally caused the split. This new article by Side Show Bob seems to me very similar. People in the front office (those who feel a loyalty to Luchinno or who felt that Theo put them under a bus) seem pretty upset with Theo’s actions. And Ronald McDonald (without the make-up) is just reporting the way it is.

    Nick January 20, 2006, 6:08 pm
  • Job title job shmitle. Why does it even matter at this point?
    Very simple question, all CHB grandstanding, all crap PR management, all “Theo’s got a tarnished image” BS aside: are the Sox better off with Theo running the show or not? I said the Sox could recover if Theo didn’t return, and I still think to have been true. But he’s back, and all this reactionary hogwash that CHB, Masarotti, and gloatingly simplistic Yankees fans and Red Sox fans alike are wallowing in will pass in about two weeks, at which point the Red Sox will be run by someone who everyone thought should be leading the personnel decision-making process in the first place. The pirhana-esque Boston sports media, small-minded Yankees fans, and overly emotional and short-sighted Red Sox fans can all laugh at or whine about the supposed disarray, but there’s no better time for all this than right now, and it has a shelf life that is shorter than even that of “Emily’s Reasons Why Not”.

    SF January 20, 2006, 7:23 pm
  • An Elfman ref…wow, there must be some serious disarray in Bean Town!

    walein January 20, 2006, 9:05 pm
  • No, not Elfman. Heather Graham. Can’t you Yankees fans get anything right?

    SF January 20, 2006, 9:17 pm
  • Heather Graham…even worse SF. You might want to see a dcotor about this.

    walein January 21, 2006, 1:30 pm
  • walein, way to not focus on the topic as your main argument, haha, good ole yanks fan.

    dolla January 21, 2006, 5:14 pm
  • Job title job shmitle. Why does it even matter at this point?
    Because the three-ring circus continues, and the Sox should get back to business — they have a lot of work to do and the players pay attention to this stuff.
    They continue to look like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

    john January 21, 2006, 7:28 pm
  • Dolla, way to be a big ol sour puss concerning levity as your main argument, haha, good ol wet sox.

    walein January 21, 2006, 7:29 pm
  • “all “Theo’s got a tarnished image” BS aside”
    I love the strategy SF deploys whenever the egotism of one of RSN’s sacred cows is revealed. So, A-Rod’s public musings and equivocations are fodder for hilarious posts and speculations about the man’s ginormous ego. But Theo’s soul-searching act, his politicizing through media friends (Gammons), is a BS subject not to be discussed. C’mon, SF, lighten up. Theo showed himself to be a typical Business Masters graduate. It’s like he acted the plot of his favorite Ayn Rand book. Or he recited line-by-line his favorite monologue by Alec Baldwin from GlenGary Glen Ross, and then went to war with Luchinno. He threw the guy who took a chance on him under a bus. What an ego-maniac, what a dick.

    Nick January 21, 2006, 8:24 pm
  • Nick, when have I ever excused Theo’s ego? I fully acknowledged Theo’s immaturity way back when, so I don’t have to apologize for anything here. I have been pretty blunt about this aspect of the “negotiation”. As for a seeming contradiction with how I treat A-Rod, there isn’t one. A-Rod is a great player, the acknowledged MVP and the biggest talent in all of baseball. His ego doesn’t necessarily impact how he performs on the field, or at least to this point there’s no proof that it does. I take him to task not for lack of ability, or lack of performance, but because he really puts himself on a pedestal, and almost comically so. He issues press releases. He makes himself the center of the universe. He says things that nobody with any sense of humility would say. That’s patently different than what happened with Theo, much to the dismay of the Boston press (and probably Yankees fans). All this BS with Epstein has played out in speculative terms (fueled, most likely, by leaks of pertinent parties, of course), but not through boastful statements by Epstein himself, and not by Lucchino either. Unfortunately for this site, the Epstein saga is not all that entertaining (really, an internal power struggle resolved over a couple months to the advantage of both the team and the GM – how’s that entertaining?), not all that funny (besides the gorilla suit, that is), and certainly not all that detrimental to how the Sox have functioned this offseason, at least in this blogger’s opinion. That’s a big problem for both the journalists (or bloggers, or blog commenters) who want to make this out to be something it is not. It’s not that melodramatic; I just don’t see it.
    Now, my position puts me at odds with most people in the Boston media, and probably many Yankees (and Sox) fans too. But this overblown media circus will all be forgotten in about two weeks. I am sure of it. And that sucks for Murray Chass, Dan Shaughnessy, bloviatic Red Sox bloggers, and the lot of you blood-sniffing Yankees fans.

    SF January 21, 2006, 10:50 pm
  • But this overblown media circus will all be forgotten in about two weeks
    This is guaranteed to come up after the first week of the season, when the Sox have scored fewer runs than the RSN has become accustomed to, the pitching is having problems, and the Sox are 2 and 3.
    Sox fans are great at casting blame.

    john January 22, 2006, 7:55 am
  • PS: Theo has explicitly said that you can’t win every year without jacking the payroll way up, but I don’t see the current crop of Sox fans patiently waiting for rebuilding when they play .350 ball against the Yanks and fall out of contention.
    The glow of the WS only lasts so long, particularly when the Yanks win every year. And if the young players don’t come through over time? Bye, bye, Theo.

    john January 22, 2006, 8:00 am
  • Armageddon scenarios written like a quintessentially arrogant Yankees fan, John. Since when are Bronx rooters entitled to speak to us Sox fans about patience? Please.
    If the Sox have a down year (or two), then so be it, as long as it is in the long-term interest of the team. What you can’t understand is how this attitude of accepting intermittent failure in the interest of long-term success can possibly be ok, such is the ingrained spoiled brat attitude that the late 90s titles and this run of division championships has spawned here in NYC. There’s a painful (and I think modest-sized) contingent of Red Sox fans who have adopted this same mindest after the Series victory, and I think it’s really small-minded. Count me out – it’s unrealistic and unflattering. Should the Yankees go on to win this year and the Sox suffer a setback, crapping on the Red Sox for not winning again is within your rights, and it may be fun, but it’s no substantial insult, it’s a shallow aspersion devoid of context.
    From my standpoint, having waited 35 years for glory, waiting 3,5, or 7 (or even another 15 or 20) years just doesn’t feel like a big deal. That you don’t understand this and project your own reactions onto a hypothetical Red Sox “failure” scenario is a revelation of your own lack of patience, not mine.

    SF January 22, 2006, 8:37 am
  • from boston dirtdogs:
    “the Red Sox are expected to trade Andy Marte for Coco Crisp and sign ex-Marlin Alex Gonzalez to play shortstop, according to the Boston Herald.
    It’s a sequence of events that may placate the media, but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Marte alone is worth more than Crisp, in our opinion, just as he was worth quite a bit more than Edgar Renteria. The Red Sox are giving up Guillermo Mota, too, and it’s unclear what they’ll be getting back along with Crisp. Gonzalez is an even bigger problem, especially if it’s a multiyear deal. He’s not much of an upgrade over Alex Cora, and Dustin Pedroia might be Boston’s best option at shortstop by June 1.”
    I can’t say I’d think the left side of the Marlins, er I mean the Red Sox, infield would make me worried as a Yanks fan. But Crisp is a good pick-up.

    Nick January 22, 2006, 10:07 am
  • I can’t say I’d think the left side of the Marlins, er I mean the Red Sox, infield would make me worried as a Yanks fan.
    In a vacuum, you’re right. But there are more than 2 guys on a team, Nick. When the left side of the Marlins infield has Manny, Ortiz, Varitek, Beckett, Schilling, Crisp, Papelbon, etc. around it it’s a different scenario, right? They may not be world-beaters yet, but they aren’t playing in Joe Robbie, either.

    SF January 22, 2006, 10:13 am

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