Could we get a Sane Person to Red Sox Fan translator? Because I’m hearing this talk about Theo Epstein “resigning,” as in leaving, and I’m pretty sure they actually mean “re-signing,” as in extending Epstein’s contract. Because that’s what Dan Shaughnessy said on October 30th in the esteemed, impartial Boston Globe; it was all but a done deal yesterday. Shaughnessy and the Globe are not shills for the Red Sox front office as Tony Massarotti claims. Right? Right?
Late this afternoon, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald broke the story that Epstein was walking away from the Red Sox’s 3-year, $4.5M offer in large part because he was disturbed by Shaughnessy’s Sunday column. Epstein felt it revealed too many of the intimate details of the negotiations and that it reeked of a leak by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino. In Silverman’s article, sources close to the 31-year old former GM said that he was satisfied the money, term, and organizational details of the contract. However, the article signaled to Epstein that the deal was negotiated in bad faith by Lucchino.
Lennie Briscoe, portrayed by the now-departed Jerry Orbach, was my favorite character from “Law & Order” and he also uttered a classic line from the series: “I want to go to law school so I can learn how to turn gold into lead.” Lucchino, the antithesis of King Midas, continues to try and turn our memories of the championship into figments of the past rather than a foundation for the future. He is aided by Shaughnessy, who plays the role of Silenus, the chief satyr whom Midas granted hospitality in exchange for the satyr’s wondrous tales.
I’m probably not alone in thinking that I’d much prefer Epstein’s services for the next few years rather than reams of Shaughnessy columns or reels of Lucchino press conferences. The former are coldly calculated inklings of a man determined to live off the misery of others while the latter are the delusory diatribes designed to circumvent responsibility.
My impression of the situation is that the ownership group was trying to avert a situation where Epstein would have too great an influence in the organization. Much as Joe Torre’s championship run has imbued him with an air of invulnerability, Epstein’s accomplishments, both real and attributed, have vaulted him into the stratosphere of Boston sports lore. Why feed yet another ego, one that carries with it World Series cachet, when you can hire, say, a just-dismissed Paul DePodesta, who will likely be malleable and willing to toe the company line? Just as the statistical-based approach of running a team removes the chimera of chemistry from the mix, getting another GM as versed in number crunching as Epstein will prove just as successful.
At least, that is what we’re all hoping.