By Art Martone
As theTheo Watch moves into Day Whatever -- why does the phrase "To Infinity. . . And Beyond!" leap to mind? -- two interesting themes areemerging:
1. After nine years under a hometownmicroscope, and with the locals getting surly after a couple ofnon-playoff seasons, Epstein would do well to move on to a lesspressurized environment. PeterGammons, in a piece on mlb.com, lays out that argument.
2. But if that's why he's leaving the Red Sox, he'sgoing to get a rude awakening because being anointed as the Cubs'potential savior will turn up the heat even higher than it was inBoston. That'sCSN Chicago's David Kaplan's view.
No onereally knows why Theo Epstein would be tempted to move to Chicago. Lotsof theories abound -- he's burned out; ending a championship droughteven longer than the Sox' would guarantee his spot in baseball history;listening to some of the revisionist idiocy now being circulatedlocally about his work in Boston has soured him; the interpersonalflashpoints within the Red Sox organization that prompted him to(temporarily) walk in 2005 have never really gone away -- and there'sprobably shards of truth in all of them. Even John Henry, perhaps thegreatest Theo admirer of all, admits Epstein's not in this for the longterm. Forced to make a prediction, I'd say hegoes.
But I also agree with Kaplan. Chicago had bestbe a destination, and not an escape, for Epstein. The expectations willbe great and patience will be in short supply, maybe even shortersupply than it is here. Failure to win a World Series could stainhis reputation more than actually winning one would enhance it,and that's the standard; anything short of it will be seen as failure.That's setting the bar awfully, awfully high.
If you'regoing to approach it, Theo, take a lesson from the Red Sox marketingdepartment:
Make sure you're allin.