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Monday, October 31, 2005


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YF's snobby, know-it-all arrogance comes out in full force - it doesn't require a Yankees title for that to happen, and we never doubted it was still there. Clearly the money had (almost) zippo to do with Theo not re-signing, so I am not sure I understand the entirety of your point. Or are you saying that the Red Sox' organizational ethos was at odds with Epstein's own, so we should question Epstein's overall influence? The "so" in your "I told you so" is cryptic, opaque. How was he the "victim" of his own "Moneyball" ideas? Where in "Moneyball" does Michael Lewis detail the detrimental effects of a mentor/mentee relationship gone sour? Where does Lewis detail the debilitating effects on a personal life of a hometown fan becoming the GM of a team that wins a long-awaited World Series? It seems, if you read anything about this situation (beyond the wickedly reliable Globe, or your 3 year old memory of another baseball book) you'd see that this is about many issues, not just money, not just about payroll strategies, not just about ego and power, not just about quality of life, but about all of these things combined. I didn't recognize these complexities, obviously. But for YF to say "I told you so" is a joke: he responded to my post about Epstein re-signing with an "it was probably more complex than you thought", as if he too understood it as a done deal. Though correct, he was NOT questioning whether the reporting was shoddy.

So let's not get into a game of "gotcha", YF; counting the number of times you've been wrong about things in the last 2 years would take too much of my time.

I have a friend who is a hardcore Dodgers fan who was stunned and sad that DePodesta had been fired. So much for the new school (or at least the old school's patience with them). Perhaps Epstein and he will get together and, I don't know, start a blog.

YF is a dolt. Typical Yankee fan... only sees what he wants to see... manipulating the facts to suit his rendition of reality. Money had nothing to do with Epstein's departure... Lucchino's ego, style and thirst for power had EVERYTHING to do with it. As I said on my website... kudos to Theo... at least he didnt prove to be a baseball harlot like some guy named Cashman in the Bronx -- who took the money in spite of a similar set of circumstances with Georgie Porgie.

The spin from the Nation is pathetic. Seems to me Cashman negotiated more money and more power within the team's corporate structure. Yeah, he's a real pussy. Nice try. Nothing can distract from the fact that Larry L is a snake. Just ask Theo.

Nick is referring to an idiotic comment I deleted for vulgarity, but it should be pointed out that Nick is correct in stating that it was pathetic, though not representative of RSN (if you scour SoSH's thread on this topic there's pretty much zippo about the Yankees front office).

This situation has nearly nothing to do with Cashman, though it is fair to say that Theo turned down a lot of money in return for getting rid of a bothersome boss whereas Cashman either felt that a) the money was enough to make him deal with the bothersome boss, b) he doesn't feel like he has a bothersome boss, or c) he received promises about his level of control that satisified his worries about the bothersome boss. Theo got none of the above, it would seem.

I have another question about this whole situation, and it's not geared towards putting Theo down, since I sincerely believe the Sox are, at the moment, worse off without him. The question rests on the hypothesis that this all broke down because Theo wasn't given 100% personnel control, and feared Ownership (read "Lucchino") intrusion into decision-making about talent acquisition. If that's what brought this all down, then the question is whether or not Theo is living in a dreamland, where 31 year old GMs wield fiscal control over something they do not own. It's one thing to give Epstein control over draft picks, over setting up trades, over targeting free agents. It's another thing for him to be the fiduciary trustee of the organization and be allowed to execute deals without financial borders. He couldn't have been that naive, could he, to expect that he would have absolute latitude in his decisions?

SF: Sanctimonious at all times. To say this was not at all about money seems absurd. As SF wrote long ago in regard to Pedro's departure, money = respect. I'm still not quite sure why Lucchino is the bogeyman here. He's the boss who hired Theo in the first place, he's the guy who brought winners to Baltimore, San Diego and Boston, he's the guy who basically started the retrostadium boom, and brought in Janet Smith to spread her fairy dust on Fenway. But because he decided not to show loyalty, or perhaps wanted some credit, he's the bogeyman.

It's pretty easy to describe Cashman as some kind of whore, but the fact is almost all of us work at the whim of a boss whose decisions we don't always appreciate, and who either takes or winds up with credit for our work. That's the way the world works. Maybe it's a sign of immaturity that Theo couldn't handle that, because clearly he was getting plenty of credit for the Sox success under his tenure.

Nice job not answering any questions or explaining yourself while simultaneously misreprenting my position (when did I ever say money wasn't a factor here?) and also showing that you have probably read about three words on this whole saga, outside of those you can get from your hero Murray Chass. It's not sanctimony, YF, it's simply calling you out on some seriously opaque BS that you posted.

SF, what I read about the situation was that Theo had no problem reporting to a CEO or having to operate within the fiscal parameters set by Lucchino and Henry. I think he got burnt out having to deal with Larry Legend's overbearing personality and manipulative ways. It seems to be purely personal. And given Theo's value on the market, it's not stupid or immature of him to decide that he doesn't have to deal with a person like Lucchino. There are plenty of teams who will hire Epstein.

Maybe true, Nick. Seemingly true. But hasn't Epstein worked alongside Lucchino for several years? Doesn't he know the guy? What would have led him to wait until the 11th hour to realize he needed a change? Did Epstein leave the Sox in the lurch? Many questions are raised by the lateness of his decision; some can be directed at Henry, Lucchino, et al. Some, rightfully, should be directed at Epstein. I think it is also important to realize that he's 31 years old, and that, in fact, he may not be wise beyond his years, as we all liked to portray him. It's possible that Epstein mishandled this one as well.

Again, not to bash Epstein alone, but this isn't a black and white situation. It appears to me that both sides mishandled, so here we are.

Sometimes you just reach a point where you're not going to put with someone's shit anymore. People break up all the time, even the ones who've been going out for nine years. It especially makes sense that it would happen now. Theo is rightly or wrongly credited with breaking the curse and thus has a lot of power that only three years ago he didn't have.

here's a question: you think this discourages other young gm's from coming to the Sox because of Lucchino?

No. Because there has to be a young front office guy (or an experienced one, too) out there who understands that he will have to take a shot somewhere, and that any job will involve having to deal with his managers. Theo was in a unique situation, after what happened in 2004. I don't think the Lucchino factor (if it's as serious as everyone seems to make it) will prevent anyone from considering coming to work for an organization with a large payroll, a now-solid farm system, and a full house every night. Would they rather work for Vince Naimoli?

Note: Gammons on states that Theo was burned out by life in the spotlight. Also, he suggests that the franchise, to stem the bad feeling, is going to have to shell out a huge contract to Johnny Damon, and that Scott Boras is probably licking his chops. (This begs the question: what's the difference between this money will be and what, it would have cost to re-up Epstein.)

YF: you assume that some number would have unburned-out Theo on life. That might be a mistake. Theo was offered a huge bump to the top tier of GMs and turned it down to re-fuel (and maybe to escape Leisure Suit Larry as well). Does everyone really have a price, or are you just projecting?

I personally am confused why Damon is the answer to the Sox' PR woes. Most knowledgable Sox fans watched Damon play in the second half of last year and also know his age. Not giving him a 5/50M contract would be a better PR move than signing him to a ridiculous deal at any cost, just to get it done.

"Not giving him a 5/50M contract would be a better PR move than signing him to a ridiculous deal at any cost, just to get it done."

I think you assume, sf, that most fans care about their team's bottom line and ability to make sound decisions in the future. Damon is an incredibly popular player in Boston, who to the lay fan, batted over .300 while looking vaguely like Jesus. The majority of fans would be upset if he left, especially if he leaves after a failed acrimonious negotiation between management and Boras.

I think many fans don't want to see Damon go, that's a given. He is popular. But after his diminishing performance in the second half, his visibly bad throwing skills in general, and his demands (via rumor, admittedly), it's not too much to say that a good number (whether that's a majority I have no idea) of Red Sox fans would rather the team make a smart move, not a rash, expensive one that inhibits flexibility, particularly not after the Renteria situation of this past year.

One of the realities for any championship club is the development of loyalty between fans and players. It makes management's task much harder when players are up for free agency. Bad contracts, such as Bernie Williams', often result. Management, in its negotiations, must include the potential of alienating the team's fan base as a factor. The Nation, most of it, is pissed that Theo, the seeming architect of the 2004 world series team, is gone. If Manny is traded, another piece of that season is gone. And then Damon. The front office is in danger of looking like callous cold hearted jerks who are ripping away all connections to that magical season. And the media will be sure to have a field day.

I agree with SF: signing Damon to 5/50 is dumb.

I also agree with Theo. Not only does he not have to put up with Larry's shit, but he also leaves the Sox in a way that he'll always be a legend in RSN. He didn't stick around long enough to tarnish his rep (a la The Cashman?).

I don't think he would have been naive enough to expect total control over finances and contracts, but maybe, after being Larry's bitch all these years, he thought that it was time the dynamic changed a bit to reflect the fact that he's now a Series-winning GM. Maybe Larry wasn't willing to allow that change to happen.

Theo's done the smart thing. He should go to LA, IMHO, or the Cubbies. Teams where even having a good playoff team makes you very, very popular, and where winning it all would make you a god (sound familiar?).

SF, you should check out this link. Man, Shaugnessy comes across awful.

not sure if this link fits but if not you can find the piece on Baseball Musings.

Sordid stuff

Sure. Working for the Tribune Company would be easy compared to Lucchino. And McCourt has shown himself to be a real patient guy...not.

It will be interesting to see where (and when) Theo lands. Already the rumors are flying. I read in Olney's blog that it could be Philly by the end of the week.

On the other hand, Buster also says that Gerry Hunsicker could end up in Boston, Philly, or Tampa, so he doesn't get many points for daring speculation. Here's my prediction, a la Olney: Theo will return to baseball in some capacity, in the next decade. There, I think I've covered myself.

Do I even need to read it? Shaughnessy comes off badly all the time. He apparently will do anything to make himself relevant now that his "Curse" shtick is dead. He should probably just go work for Fox News as their roving baseball reporter, such are his bona fides. He'd work well with Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly, two other frauds who hold themselves in high regard.

That said, I find it difficult to believe that Shaughnessy is as important to this situation as people think; the sad performance (and it is a performance) of Boston columnists (much more than some of the finer beat writers in town) is totally predictable. Giving Shaughnessy any credit for causing the exit of Epstein would be giving him too much, it would only serve to reaffirm Dan's sense of self-importance and impact on the Boston sports scene. I don't think Epstein left over a column.

I think Halloween 2005 marked a sea change in the YF vs. SF rivalry. The momentum has shifted.

Uh, from when? From October 2004? From the time both teams bowed out of this year's playoffs?

From the time the Sox hired Theo and his band of performance analysis geeks. The Yanks were mired in managerial dysfunction which culminated in the team's worst off-season ever (2004), and the Sox began a program of minor league development and intelligent player acquisitions. Last week, Cash, a proponent of statistical analysis, got his wish and assumed more power. Word is that Gene Stick Michaels is back at the table. He, of course, created the blue-print for the Yankee mid 90's dynasty. And now the Sox have lost their boy wonder, and are left with an ego maniac at the helm who plants smear stories about anyone who leaves Boston and knows more about building stadiums than building teams.

So the Yankees' worst off-season ever was...the most recent one. But NOW, with the same front office re-upped all is copacetic? That's one quick turnaround, considering almost nothing has changed personnel-wise, in either the front office or on the field.

We're supposed to think that the balance of power has shifted because the Red Sox lost their (apparently very) unhappy GM but the Yankees kept theirs? I think the momentum will shift when and if Pavano pitches a full healthy year, Jaret Wright is jettisoned or rebounds to Atlanta form, Randy Johnson pitches like he's 38, they solve their center field problem, their first base problem, they re-sign Matsui, deepen their bullpen, all while the Red Sox farm system collapses, Manny Ramirez sits out the entire year with nothing gotten in return, Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke are unable to ever pitch at their expected high levels again, the Sox fail to sign any free agents of note, Johnny Damon leaves and is replaced with Johnny Fairplay, Manny Delcarmen and John Papelbon stink up the joint, and Dale Sveum gets rehired. But that's me. You can pin that momentum shift on Brian and Theo if you want.

I guess I don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

I think Theo was developing something very good that threatens to be destroyed if Lucchino, in fact, becomes the center of power in Boston. And I also think that Cashman and people like Stick were increasingly marginalized in recent years. You might remember that Stick, when involved, helped develop an elite farm system, and, even better, a 4-time world series champ. After the 2004 world series and off-season it was easy to be pretty down if you were a Yanks fan. The team made stupid decision after stupid decision. Most media reported that these were decisions called from the Tampa group, which, as a result of Cashman's negotiations, is now marginalized. And the future looked none too bright. Meanwhile, the Sox, with Theo at the helm, made reasoned choices. Whether or not we'll see the consequences of this swing in fortunes next season or the season after, it still marks a potentially significant change in direction/philosophy for both teams. Potentially, it's a reversal in fortune. To paraphrase you post October 2004, you're sounding like us and it's just too cool.

Look, I am not exactly a Lucchino booster. And he seems to bear a good deal of the blame for what has transpired. But on what basis can he be characterized as a man who would destroy an organization? His track record is pretty damn successful, and you can include the Red Sox in that record.

The danger here is that Theo Epstein's replacement as GM shares no love for the players Theo drafted and who are developing. Combine that with a (completely speculative) change in organizational ethos to one that exhibits no care about developing talent and (then) you have a recipe for disaster. No shit. But consider two things, Nick. First, this current ownership gave Theo his job. That should say something about what they want in a GM. Second, the replacment GM hasn't been hired yet. So your perceived "momentum shift" is immaterial, without knowing what is coming next. Until then, we can only go on their currently established record, which is: hire a GM with brains and savvy, spend money on draft picks and on redeveloping their farm system, sign free agents. Of course, when the Sox fill Theo's spot we will all reassess.

This has zero to do with money. Just a typical business transaction. Or non-transaction, as the case may be. The subordinate wanted to be promoted to the position of authority. The person holding the authority was not ready to give up his position. The subordinate decided getting authority was more important than getting money. It happens a thousand times a day in businesses around the country, and the Red Sox are a business. Case closed.

Waldomeboy speaks from a position of authority, I think, and YF would be smart to heed his thoughts.

1) Theo and I are going to start

2) Lucchino = The Evil Emperor

Heed his thoughts? Not sure what power struggle we might be involved in. Dubya's pithy point is essentially the same as the one made by Bill Simmons (albeit Waldomeboy achieved a more pithy form) and endoresed by YF. Will there be no end to SF's misrepresentation of YF's positions......[this is a joke SF: now i know you might be a little testy given the state of things, but please don't get too upset.....]

To say this was not at all about money seems absurd. As SF wrote long ago in regard to Pedro's departure, money = respect

So wait, was it about money or not? Make up your mind. Who do you agree with? Your words...

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