Red Sox starter Curt Schilling called in to Boston sports radio station WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program today and offered his perspective on Theo Epstein’s situation.
“From what I’m hearing, I’m excited. I really honestly thought that this was not going to happen. I thought Theo was going to be gone and I was upset and disappointed with the thought of that happening but my impressions of everything that happened was that if he was coming back he was going to have a lot more latitude to do the things he wants to do as the general manager and I wasn’t sure that that was necessarily going to happen but I’m guessing it is now, and that’s a good thing.”
“I think money had something to do with it (the snag in negotiations). Theo wanted to be, and I think in a sense rightly deserved to be, one of the better paid GMs in the game. I look at his situation and I see a general manager that is equivalent to an arbitration eligible player. It’s after his third year. He’s put a club together that’s gone out there and gone to the postseason three times, won a World Series, and he’s certainly deserving of whatever he can get financially.”
“I think the most important thing for me is Theo’s a good person first and foremost and I think that has a lot to with it. He’s not deceitful, at least not to me, and I think if the situation called for it he could be. But he’s an honest guy. He’s a good guy … there’s a lot more to this thing than being a job to him. Being born and raised here and having the Red Sox be as important to him as they are, it gives him a little different look at his job than other general managers have … but I think above all else is he understands and he’s a compromiser. A lot of teams that I’ve been on don’t even want to see the general manager, much less have them in the clubhouse. And Theo understands that the clubhouse is our home and he doesn’t invade that privacy often, but when he does he doesn’t make you uncomfortable. And that says as much about him as anything.”
“I don’t know that I was led to believe he was out of here (based on some information he had) … I was under the impression it probably wasn’t going to happen based on what I had heard because the obvious point of this is Theo and Larry (Lucchino) have been together a long time and I think everybody sees the relationship as Theo riding coattails, or some people analyze it as such, and it’s not. Theo has made himself into what he is and I heard some people talking about the fact that if Theo goes they’ll bring in another guy, cause it’s the system and I absolutely 100 percent disagree with that.”
“I think people underestimate the human element in sports a lot of times. He (Theo) is every bit a part of the atmosphere around here as Chris Correnti (the recently released Red Sox trainer) from some viewpoints and when you take people like that away, playing in certain places becomes a lot less attractive. Theo Epstein is a draw for me to be here now. I enjoy him. I trust him and that matters. And you don’t find a lot of people in that role that are as personable, and as understanding, and get it as he does.”
“I think that this Theo situation is actually playing into this (the Sox possibly waiting too long on dealing with Johnny Damon). I think in a sense, and I don’t mean this in a negative way, Theo is trying to handle his own personal situation and I would imagine that would take precedent over working with the current players on the roster and trying to get stuff done. I think that was interfering, it might have been, it might not have been, that’s me speculating but I don’t know. I think that one of the things that I like about Theo is I believe in my heart of hearts we’re gonna have the 25 best possible players we can have on this roster. I think Johnny Damon is one of those guys. I’m hoping he comes back. I think he wants to come back. I think they want him back. And obviously if it makes financial sense, it’s gonna happen. But what’s financial sense to one side is lunacy to another and when you add Scott Boras to the mix weird things happen.”
“Why would you want to move somewhere if you thought… what you perceive to be the ultimate set-up for Theo obviously isn’t. This is a different environment. I would imagine that he’s one of the top two or three guys that when he walks out of his house, it’s gotten real hard for him to function in society around here. Cause everybody’s got a trade for him. Everybody’s got a new lineup to run out there on Monday. Everybody’s got a new idea to pass to the manager. I don’t let people tell me that stuff. I tell them to shut the hell up, but I would imagine Theo gets a lot of it.”
“Part of it is principle too. I think that Theo believes he belongs on a certain rung of the ladder and I’m not sure that he doesn’t. I’m not making those decisions but in my opinion, he should be up there somewhere.”
“A lot of clubs are starting to infuse a lot of young quote unquote talent in out of sight places and decision making spots in clubs. Moneyball started the snowball rolling and I think it’s just gotten bigger with Billy Beane and with Theo and the thing about them (the new crop of young GMs in baseball) is they haven’t sucked. They’ve been good and they’ve been at two extremes. You’ve got Billy Beane operating on an incredibly limited budget in Oakland, and you’ve got Theo operating with an unlimited budget and one of the best things he’s done is he’s tried to show a semblance of fiscal responsibility even though he probably doesn’t have to in a sense. In the context of where we play and who we play against yes (it is an unlimited budget). We can outspend everybody except the team (Yankees) that can outspend the country and us. But the thing about it is Theo tries to make every dollar he spends go the mile. And it’s not a sign and fill a spot, sign and fill a spot, sign and fill a spot, it’s ‘If I’m gonna spend this money, I’m gonna make sure I get the most out of it.’ That’s a different approach than maybe the Yankees who will gather it all up, sign it all, and sort it out later. Not that that’s a bad thing but it’s different.”
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