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

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

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."

Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

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Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

David Ortiz's exploits with the Red Sox over the years can easily be described as "Ruthian."

That description became more fitting and Big Papi's legend grew Friday night when Ortiz made like the Babe by promising and delivering a home run to young fan named Maverick. 

Ortiz connected with a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and give the Red Sox a 4-2 victory over the rival Yankees. 

Here's the video Ortiz and former Red Sox teammate Kevin Millar, now with the MLB Network, made for Maverick before the game.

And here's Maverick's response, via Millar:

 

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

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Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.