A roundup of what local and national scribes, bloggers, and fans are writing about Theo Epstein’s return to the Red Sox …
Chris Snow, Boston Globe: Two-and-a-half months after Theo Epstein left the Red Sox, certain that his heart and soul were no longer fully invested in the job of general manager, the Sox last night announced that the 32-year-old Brookline native will be returning to the organization as soon as next week.
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe: Here’s an inside look at how it works over at Fenway these days. The Red Sox are afraid of what is written about them in the newspapers and what is said about them on WEEI. That’s why we got this vague, preemptive strike just after the dinner hour last night. Nothing has changed since Theo left and no one knows how the new arrangement is going to work, but owner John W. Henry figured it was better to put out a press release saying ”all is well” than to read more speculation about weakness at the top. Embarrassing.
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald: Theo Epstein is ready for his close-up again. After an 80-day official hiatus from the Red Sox baseball operations department that began on Halloween with an exit from Fenway Park in a gorilla suit, and included a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for some Pearl Jam concerts and a getaway to Hawaii, Epstein’s expected return to the team was announced last night, with details expected by next week.
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald: In the end, as best we can tell, they needed 2 1/2 months to end up right back where they started. Some people travel around the world in 80 days. It took the Red Sox that long to run in a circle. And so now, just 15 months after arguably the most glorious sports celebration in Boston’s history, the luster officially is off the ownership and management at fabled Fenway Park. In this soap opera, president Larry Lucchino first made the mistake of arrogance. Then, owner John Henry committed the blunder of passivity. And now, Theo Epstein is committing perhaps the most inexplicable transgression of all. In the face of better judgment, he’s coming back.
Art Martone, Providence Journal: Theo Epstein’s return may not reflect as well on the Sox as his leaving reflected badly on them, but no matter. It was a blunder that had to be fixed. It took a while, but they finally fixed it. That, more than a center fielder or a shortstop or a leadoff hitter, is what the Sox truly needed this offseason.
Buster Olney, ESPN.com (by subscripton only): Epstein played brinkmanship, initially didn’t get what he wanted, and then he shocked Red Sox Nation by walking away in a gorilla suit on Halloween Night. Sort of. He mostly disappeared from public view, kept in contact with the Red Sox, and most importantly, he maintained contact with John Henry. I can’t tell you if he did this with repeated phone calls, with e-mails, through a proxy or carrier pigeons. No matter; keeping a dialogue with the boss of the guy whose power you seek is brilliant (see Dick Morris and the Clinton White House, for another example). Only by leaving the organization, officially, could Epstein circumvent the chain of command.
Sean McAdam, ESPN.com: For the longest time, they were without a general manager. Now, with a month to go before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, they have three. It’s been that kind of offseason for the Boston Red Sox.
Ken Rosenthal, Foxsports.com: Welcome back, Theo, whatever your new role is, if indeed you were ever gone. The Red Sox lead the majors in co-general managers, quasi-general managers and would-be general managers. Maybe they can assign one to solve each of their remaining problems.
Boston Dirt Dogs: You can come home again. Young T. Epstein is back in the saddle with the Sox.
Joy of Sox: Welcome Back, Theo! Can he play center field?
Keep your Sox on (a scene from “Theo Maguire”): THEO: “Hello. I’m looking for my team. Can we leave Lucchino’s office? No? Alright. If this is where it has to happen, then this is where it has to happen. I’m not letting me get rid of you. How about that? This used to be my specialty. I was good with the tough Boston crowd. Send me in there, I’ll talk about stats, VORP, win shares … you name it. And now I just… I don’t know… but with what was supposed to be the freest years of my business life, it wasn’t complete, wasn’t nearly close to being in the same vicinity as complete, because I couldn’t share it with my team. I couldn’t hear Manny demanding to be traded and then taking it back, or laugh about it with you. I missed my Red Sox. We live in a cynical world, and we work in a divison of tough competitors, so try not to laugh — I love you. You complete me.”
RED SOX: “Aw, shut up. You had me at VORP.”
SOX1FAN: Thirty years ago, Epstein needed a note from his mother to get back into class after a hiatus. So now I am left to wonder whether today, after eighty-one days, Ilene Epstein finally wrote her son Theo a note to get him back into the Red Sox front office. Or if the note had been written previously, I am left to wonder why it took this long for Mr Kotter… er, Mr Lucchino… to accept the offered excuse and finally let Theo back into class to play with the other GMs.
The Triumphant Red Sox blog: I heard the news after an uneventful evening at the mall, where I was away from the radio for two hours. When I got back to my car and flipped on the radio, I only half grasped the words: Theo Epstein is back with the Red Sox. … It was like one of those really strange dreams that seems unreal even while you’re still asleep. My first instinct was to grab the cell phone and start calling people, but the truth is there wasn’t much to talk about. The announcement raises more questions than it answers, at least for now.
Boston.com message board posters
Cabot41: unless he is going to play center field or perhaps shortstop, the damage has already been done. It will take years to repair this team.
DaveyD: This is a JOKE, and the RED SOX Top Ownership have to be the laughing stock of MLB. First of all, Theo rejected the offer due to personal reasons….Oh, Boooo Hooooo!!! We, a true organization would have just wished him well, and looked for management elsewhere… But with this JOKE organization, they pull in all this drama…..Oh, what can we do to make you stay Theo….the door is always open….TOTALY LAUGHABLE!!!
Foulke29: Welcome back THEO! No pressure, but we need a CF, SS, one of which needs to be a leadoff hitter within the next month.
wfinley: Unless Theo is going to play either center field or shortstop, I can’t get too excited about this. This has been perhaps the worst off season in Sox history. Think what you want of Theo. I, for one, am not a big fan. But even if he’s the best GM in history, he has been left with a mess than no one can fix.
dguz: This is great news for the Red Sox. I think is perfect timing. People think the Season starts in February for some reason. Don’t forget scouts and teams look for performance during spring training to see if they can take some risks on some trades. So The Red Sox do have the players in the farm system, and the current roster to be champions or contend for many years to come. Take it easy Red Sox nation, everything has a right time and they’ll get the job done.
sweet_caroline: Theos back? This is just another example of Theo being Theo. Sincerely, Manny Ramirez