Epstein says 'Farewell, Red Sox Nation' in op-ed

Epstein says 'Farewell, Red Sox Nation' in op-ed
October 25, 2011, 5:52 am
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As it turns out, a full-page ad wasn't enough for Theo Epstein.

Not enough to describe his feelings toward Red Sox Nation and all it meant to him over the years -- from his childhood to now, the time he decides to walk away from his dream job.

Epstein wrote an op-ed piece in Tuesday's Boston Globe, saying everything he couldn't cram into his full-page ad, while trying to sum up a career as Red Sox GM that nobody will ever forget.

From the highs to the lows, Epstein's tenure in the Sox front office will forever be the measuring stick for all other Red Sox GMs.

Epstein begins by reflecting on the early stages of his life, when working for the Red Sox was nothing more than a dream of a young boy growing up in Brookline, MA. How he and his brother lived and died with every pitch, and how that 12-year-boy he once was deserves an explanation for why he's leaving -- as well as the fans.

"For the last decade, I gave everything I had to the Red Sox and received even more in return," Epstein wrote in the Globe. "I grew enormously as a person, had some successes, and made a lot of mistakes, too. I still love the organization, enjoy close relationships with owners John Henry and Tom Werner - as well as a complicated but ultimately productive and rewarding relationship with Larry Lucchino - and count many of my co-workers among my dearest friends. The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships. It has nothing to do with September, either.

"Football legend Bill Walsh used to say that coaches and executives should seek change after 10 years with the same team. The theory is that both the individual and the organization benefit from a change after so much time together. The executive gets rebirth and the energy that comes with a new challenge; the organization gets a fresh perspective, and the chance for true change that comes with new leadership. This idea resonated with me. Although I tried my best to fight it, I couldnt escape the conclusion that both the Red Sox and I would benefit from a change sometime soon."

Epstein goes on to write how, with Walsh's words in his mind, he could prepare his successor, Ben Cherington, for the inevitable -- his departure. He just didn't see it going down the way it did, with the way the season ended.

Epstein knew it was important for a GM and manager to have a strong relationship from the start, and that it would be "less than ideal" for him to take part in the search for Terry Francona's replacement when he would be leaving the organization in a year, when his contract ran out.

"What a privilege it has been to be a part of the Red Sox these last 10 years," Epstein wrote. "The first title in 2004, born from the heartbreak of Aaron Boone, was unforgettable: The Steal, Papi, the Bloody Sock, the Greatest Comeback Ever, the end of The Curse. The second, 2007, was equally rewarding as it solidified the franchises rise and marked the emergence of a core drafted, developed, and trained in the 'Red Sox Way' so many had worked so hard to establish."

Epstein also wrote about how proud he was for what the Red Sox now stand for.

"Pride in the uniform," Epstein wrote. "Appreciation of our history. Controlling the strike zone. Grinding at-bats. Having each others backs. Rising to the moment. Never backing down. Connection to the fans. Hard work. Playing with passion and urgency."

But Epstein couldn't leave without one more reference to the collapse, and the aftermath that came with it.

"Yes, September was a collective failure. As the general manager, I am the person ultimately responsible. Things did indeed happen in the clubhouse that do not have a place at the Red Sox or anywhere in sports. But the reports about team-wide apathy and indulgence are exaggerated."

Yes Epstein is now gone, but he writes that he leaves Red Sox Nation in good hands with Cherington as GM.

"Ben is infinitely more prepared than I was when I took over nine years ago," Epstein wrote. "Hes been an area scout, an international scout, an advance scout, a farm director, and hes supervised drafts. Ben is honest and insightful, fearless and friendly - and he is ready to lead this organization forward."

Epstein wraps up the op-ed with words of encouragement, hope, and good will towards the Red Sox organization, saying that although he won't be there, "the 12-year-old in me will be rooting for the Red Sox (except, of course, when they play the Cubs in June)."

"Thank you for all the incredible support this last decade," Epstein wrote. "I will never forget it. May we meet again in an October not too many years from now."