Reading the Boston Globe’s take down of Theo Epstein and Terry Francona this morning gave me a horrible sense of deja vu. The name on the article may have been Bob Hohler, but he only wrote that article in the sense that he literally typed the text up on his computer. The words and the substance of the piece was clearly the work of some fairly significant players in the Red Sox hierarchy.
While the specifics might be different, I feel an unsaid agreement (as well as a lot of trust) has been broken here just as when Fred Wilpon decided to throw most of the Mets organization under the bus in his New Yorker profile. I wrote at the time that behaviour like this is an utter neglect of duty on behalf of ownership; whose primary responsibility in dealing with the press should be to protect the reputation and standing of the organization. I think a similar neglect has taken place here.
I have some issues with what the Globe has done here. Clearly some people in the paper weren’t particularly fond of the departing regime but I respect a newspaper’s right to report a story/piece of gossip if they want to. No, my real issues is with the weaselly behaviour of the ‘unnamed sources’. We see it everyday, unnamed scouts saying a pitcher’s slider looked good last night or front office sources saying their team is looking for a bench bat. That’s fine,I get the value of that for everyone involved and the anonymity doesn’t do any harm.
On this occasion, it comes across as nothing more or less than a hit job on two departing employees. There’s no need to throw innuendo about prescription drugs at someone in this situation, particularly at someone who, while he may have had differences with people behind the scenes, always represented the organization and its players with grace and humour in public despite ample opportunity to take a different tact.
I appreciate that the situation within the Red Sox needs to be examined to work out what’s gone wrong, but this is absolutely not the way to do it. For my money it just makes whatever problems there may have been bigger as well as giving the impression that responsibility for the dysfunction spread much further than the Tito and Theo.
Whoever was responsible for spoon feeding the Globe all this information already got their wish when both men left the team. Why they felt they need to stick the boot in in quite this manner as they were leaving I have no idea. Also, in the medium to long term, if you’re a candidate for some sort of managerial, coaching or front office role with the team, doesn’t stuff like this at least give you some pause? Good on Curt Schilling and Dustin Pedroia for calling out the people responsible. You got what you wanted, isn’t that enough?