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2006-01-25 10:45
by Mike Carminati

At the risk of disgusting even myself, I have to point out that the Red Sox have published the latest chapter in the Theo Epstein saga. It seems that Theo is now/has been/will be the GM…again. Of course, he left at the end of October, was replaced by co-GMs a little over a month ago, and then returned in an unspecified role last week. Now, he's the GM or at least GM-elect.

Did he re-sign as the GM and the Sox just did not disclose it? Was he the GM all along? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

I guess I'm just left wondering why. Why the big drama? What was it all about? Egos? Money? Headlines? Boredom? And how does the Red Sox management have the cajones to let this drama enfold as if it were de rigueur? I'm glad though that Jed and Jethrine (interim-ish co-GMs Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington) will have senior-level positions coming out of this.

An ESPN poll finds that 57.5% of the populace, or at least those who bother to answer polls, were still very interested in the melodrama and that only 9.8% were "not interested at all".

Meanwhile the Sox attempt to snare a major-league center fielder, here played by Coco Crisp, was thwarted by Guillermo Mota's inability to pass a physical. One has to wonder how he passed the physical when the Red Sox acquired him around Thanksgiving (or if they bothered to investigate his health before giving him $3M for 2006 on January 17). Though the deal will probably be re-worked, it's another black eye for the team. Maybe Bud Selig will step in with his semi-annual Mulligans for the Sox and let them trade Mota even after he failed the physical.

It all reminds me of 1983 when Buddy LeRoux, the former team trainer and part-owner (42%), staged a coup with two other minor owners and brought back Dick O'Connell, the former GM, as "GM for a day" (Remember that old show?). He was presented as the GM on June 6 even though the previous GM, Haywood Sullivan, had not stepped down and was a part-owner as well (he actually fired O'Connell and took his job six years before). It seems that LeRoux had been trying to sell out to Sullivan, but apparently the deal soured.

Leroux's restructuring of the team management agreement was called "illegal and invalid" by Sullivan. "The partnership has not changed. We don't recognize Buddy's action," Sullivan said the next day as he went to court with Jean Yawkey, the wife of the long-time Red Sox owner, to apply for an injunction against the move. Meanwhile, O'Connell showed up at Fenway (for the first time since being fired) and found a team in chaos: "I just hope that my car hasn't been towed away." Also, the team had a presentation to the 1967 championship team, for which LeRoux was a trainer, at the game that night as the drama enfolded in the front office.

LeRoux's coup (say that three times fast) was enjoined by a court order the next day by Suffolk Superior Court judge Andrew Linscott, who set a court date for July 11. Sullivan was put back in charge immediately, and LeRoux and his two fellow limited partners lost in the courts on August 10.

It's great to see that this club has not progressed one iota in twenty-odd years. By the way the Sox finished 78-84 that year, only one of two seasons between their AL championship in 1967 and their 1991 season in which the club had a losing record (1987 being the other). Bad omen? (Read the book!)

Now, the only unresolved issue is whether Theo will the GM on opening day. Where's the ESPN poll on that one?

2006-01-25 10:52:01
1.   rbj
I suspect the whole thing has been cooked up by ESPN just to have something to talk about during winter.
2006-01-25 11:30:24
2.   Cliff Corcoran
What's unresolved? Here's the lede of yesterday's press release:

"The Boston Red Sox today announced that Theo Epstein has returned to the club with the title and responsibilities of Executive Vice President/General Manager."

2006-01-25 11:53:14
3.   Mike Carminati
The quotes that I've seen say that Epstein "will" take control as if it were in some undetermined future point though it is a minor point.
2006-01-25 12:15:52
4.   JohnnyC
As I conjectured a while back, the whole melodrama seems to have been cooked up to provide cover for two eventualities: Lucchino leaving to become President of the Nationals (whenever Uncle Bud gets around to anointing the new ownership group...same as he did in Boston) and John Henry selling the team in, say, 2007, so he can stop wearing pith helmets during Spring Training in that killing tropical Florida sun. It helps Theo also remain a folk hero in RSN. You know, something like "I had nothing to do with us being a .500 team in 2006...I was busy rehearsing for my new career as a latter-day Albert Schweitzer (with intermittent goatee)."
2006-01-26 09:46:42
5.   markh
I'm a die-hard, formerly long-suffering Red Sox fan...and I don't care either. I mean, it's not like Theo went anywhere. Just lump me in with that 9%, color me pleased whenever Coco Crisp gets here, and call me when spring training starts.

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