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.
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.