Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Theo Epstein is Not a Quitter or a Traitor. Sheesh

The vitriol Theo Epstein is getting by some in the Red Sox Nation is unfair. Golly, the man had a hand in bringing Boston two world championships after a drought spanning back to 1918. And perhaps this post is premature since the Eptein to the Cubs story is only a report and has not yet been confirmed. But the din and hue out on Twitter and in blogs is seriously irking.

Let's debunk a few of the arguments. One is that Epstein broke the Red Sox and he should stay and fix it. Really? Perhaps some of his moves in retrospect didn't go very well, but that happens when your team is in the new reality of competing year in and year out with the Yankees' budget. How do we know that all the moves were solely his? And let's turn this argument back to you if you are saying such things. Would you turn down a plum new job offer if you stayed up too late the night before and sort of mailed in your last day of work at your present location? Hardly. Let's keep it real, okay?

Another of the arguments is that Epstein is a traitor for leaving for the Cubs. Again, are you a traitor if you take a new job offer and leave your present company? Again, let's be realistic here. What Theo Epstein might be doing has been done by millions of Americans for decades: leaving one company to go to work for another that presents new exciting challenges. Perhaps it would be cause for traitor calls if Epstein had signed to go with the Yankees or Bay Rays. But even so, such calls would be questionable.

Many others are reconstructing history and pouring jibes at the job Theo Epstein has done as the GM of the Red Sox. Look, this writer has lived in New England since 1975. During that time, there were several dismal seasons for the Red Sox as a team. Since Epstein signed on in 2002, the Red Sox have been consistently competitive and even won the whole shebang two times. The same guy who was at the helm for the miracle of 2004 was the same guy who watched September of 2011 go down in flames. It happens. And blame and credit can go both ways and to many places.

Theo Epstein was one of the players in breaking an 80+ year drought in a city that needed a World Championship. There is perfect symmetry for Epstein to want to be a part of doing the same thing for a team that has had an even longer drought. We don't know what kind of dysfunction (if any) occurred behind the scenes between Epstein and those above him on the Red Sox. We don't know anything about anything. All we know is that a talented man should have the right to make the best career move for himself just like the rest of us should.

If Theo Epstein is indeed gone from the Boston Red Sox, then wish him well and thank him for the job he did for the team during his tenure.

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