Sunday, December 18, 2011

Theo Targets Rizzo In Garza Deal

Cubs President Theo Epstein may be snatching back another player from his Red Sox past. Reportedly, Epstein is looking to deal RHP Matt Garza and is looking for his former draft pick Anthony Rizzo as part of the return package. Rizzo was sent to the Padres as part of the deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. The highly-touted 22-year old first baseman becomes expendable in San Diego after the acquisition of Yonder Alonso. (Photo: Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Theo To Challenge Blue Jays For Fielder

According to Jery Crasnick of, the Cubs are "stepping up" their pursuit of free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder. The Blue Jays—already rumored to be the winner of the Yu Darvish sweepstakes—were seen as a big player on Fielder as well (along with the Rangers). How's this for a compensation deal?: Theo spends the $254 million to keep Fielder out of the AL East, and the Red Sox will call it even. Sounds fair to me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Theo May Grab Both Varitek And Wakefield

The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers is reporting that Theo Epstein may grab both Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield from the Red Sox scrap heap. Can't you see it now? The Red Sox swoop into Wrigley next June and open against a battery of Wakefield and Tek. Definitely appointment viewing. (PHOTO at

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Young Reporter Gets His Story

A week or so ago, I had the pleasure of covering a fundraising event in Vermont sponsored by ESPN's Buster Olney. The event—to help that state's farmers who'd been ravaged by Hurricane Irene—featured Theo Epstein, Brain Cashman and Pirates GM Neal Huntington. Also on hand to cover the proceedings was 11-year old sports reporter Jasper Goodman. Jasper is actually an on-air personality for WDEV radio in Waterbury, Vermont. Of course, he's a Red Sox fan—but he doesn't let it get in the way of his journalistic mission. One of the nicest moments of the evening was Theo Epstein setting aside a few moments to give Jasper an exclusive one-on-one interview (see photo). Jasper handled it with total professionalism.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

'Rahm'-ming through Wrigley Takeover?

Growing up in Greater Boston, Theo Epstein may have thought he understood the influence of politics on public affairs—including sports. After all, the main reason we don't have a 21st century replicate of Fenway Park is provincial political intransigence. Shut up and enjoy your obstructed view of "America's Most Beloved Ballpark".

But Theo ain't seen nothin' yet. Chicago, known for gangsterism and rough politics (sometimes indistinguishable) now has a White House renegade as Mayor. Rahm Emanuel, who was Obama's pit bull Chief of Staff, is bringing new meaning to Windy City hardball. Not only has he fired former Mayor Daley's nephew from the Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, he's talking about re-starting an old plan to have the state of Illinois acquire and renovate Wrigley Field. That oughta give his new owner a case of the "Ricketts". Good luck, Theo!

Theo Helps Out Vemont Farmers

ESPN's Buster Olney grew up on a farm in Vermont. So, when Hurricane Irene's flooding devasted farmers in his home state, he decided to do something about it. He recruited baseball executives Theo Epstein (then of the Red Sox, now of the Cubs), Brian Cashman (Yankees) and Neal Huntington (Pirates) to join together at a fundraising event called 'Going To Bat For Vermont'. All three were in Randolph Center, Vermont last Saturday to offer a round table discussion of baseball along with a star-studded array of auctioned baseball memorabilia.

We spoke with all three execs prior to the event. Theo Epstein seemed relaxed and comfortable talking about his new role in Chicago. We asked him if uncertainty around the unresolved Collective Bargaining Agreement might result in free agents opting for shorter-term deals—hoping for a second bite at the apple with a wider array of teams down the road. Epstein stated, "No, the number of years is a very important consideration for players, it shouldn't make a difference."

Tonight's event is expected to raise in the neighborhood of $200,000 for farmers in the area—and baseball can be proud of its role in the success.

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Bartman Chronicles

Those of us here in Boston cringed a little when our former GM offered an 'olive branch' to that Bartman moron who screwed his team out of a legitimate chance at a title in 2003.

This is the weird side of Theo—the unctuous political correctness (not uncommon in Brookline, Mass.) that looks for "healing" in the most inappropriate areas. Better to have just ignored the question, or called it a non-factor in the job ahead—bringing a world championship to the Cubs after 103 years. Get used to this aspect of Theo's personality, Chicago.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

'Every Opportunity To Win Is Sacred'

As Red Sox fans have painfully learned over the last four years, chances at championships do not grow on trees. At Theo Epstein's introductory press conference in Chicago, he used this theme to set out his vision for leading the Chicago Cubs out of their 103 year drought. "Every opportunity to win is sacred."

He was also careful to leaven that desire to win every year with the realistic need to plan for the future. As he put it, "We also need to build a foundation for long-term success." That's what he did in Boston—leaving a "player-development" machine for Ben Cherington to nurture. That's likely what he will deliver for Cubs fans as well.

Whether that results in breaking the curse is another matter. It will be fun to watch.

Watching Theo From Afar

Put me down as one of those Red Sox fans who believes this is a sad day for our franchise. Theo Epstein was the only local Boston presence in the upper management of the Red Sox over the last decade, and now that presence is gone. This blog will attempt to follow Theo's attempt to break a second curse—this time with the benighted Chicago Cubs. We hope you'll follow along with us to see if Theo can pull it off again.