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Globe opens up Theo-bashing to all comers

October 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Baseball, Blog

To most people, writing about sports for a newspaper probably looks like a pretty easy gig. Not nearly so difficult as, say, explaining business and economics to the local readership. Anyone can write sports. Aren’t those the guys who sailed through school with a C average? Look at Ray Barone. He’s a doofus.

For some reason the Boston Globe gave business columnist Steven Syre a free kick at Theo Epstein today as part of their “who needs the boy wonder anyway?” coverage. If Syre proves one thing, it’s that newspapers should leave sports writing to sports writers.

He tries to analyze Epstein’s tenure through the perspective of a hiring manager, as if Theo were merely staffing the local branch of Dunder Mifflin. His assessment:

He’s leaving town with a poor overall record on personnel decisions that doesn’t match up with his reputation as a wizard in selecting ballplayers. The brief manager evaluation: Theo is no genius.

Sure, some moves didn’t work out, or haven’t yet. Maybe John Lackey will always be a bum in Boston. Maybe Carl Crawford hasn’t panned out (though I have to think he’ll improve next year). Maybe Daisuke Matsuzaka is just a Japanese synonym for Hideki Irabu.

But before Epstein came to Boston in 2002, the Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series since 1918. During his tenure they won two in a four-year span. They broke the Curse of the Bambino. (A crock, I know, but anything that drags on for 86 years does start to mess with people’s minds.)

So this year didn’t work out as Sox fans hoped. The team’s dysfunctional nature eventually caught up to it in September, resulting in one of the worst collapses in modern baseball history. But so what? THEY WON TWO TITLES IN FOUR YEARS. After ZERO for 86 years. They could finish dead last for the next decade and it wouldn’t change the fact that Epstein was the man at the helm when they ended one of the longest dry spells in sports.

I was happy for the Sox when they won it in 2004. I was rooting for them again in 2007. But I had to laugh a little when they blew it this year. I didn’t even know about all the shenanigans in the clubhouse at that point. But I’d sure had my fill of Sox fans, who may be the toughest “supporters” of any franchise in any sport. Their sense of entitlement now rivals that of Yankees fans.

Syre’s piece is just another example of this. Why not just say, “Thanks for the good times, Theo. Good luck in Chicago.” Instead we get these shots as Epstein rides out of town, like a wounded lover throwing old gifts from the front porch as their former mate pulls out of the driveway.

Stick with what you know, Steve. Leave the Sox bashing to Dan Shaughnessy. He’s got plenty enough experience to handle it for both of you.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Roger Bailey

    Being a lifelong Red Sox fan, I sometimes scratch my head on how short our memories can be. “What have you done for me lately” is how we think here. I rarely questioned what either Theo or Terry did, as they brought us TWO world series! Maybe it was time for both to move on, but I will always say “Thank you!” You brought me not just one, but two World Series title in my lifetime!

  • James Bailey

    There aren’t many GMs that can post an accomplishment like that on their resume. When Theo came to Boston he said it was his dream job. He sure got worn down there in a hurry. Maybe if more fans had your attitude, Roger, he’d still be there to try to straighten things out.