So Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Soxs and is going to the Chicago Cubs – the story first broke out yesterday, according to WBEI in Boston. The Cubs have locked Epstein for 5 years $3 million per…smart move by Epstein for a lot of reasons. He grew up a Red Sox fan and he’s leaving his dream job – and dream jobs are totally over-rated to begin with. I was networking last week with a former colleague of mine and we were talking about the Yankees and the Yankees have the reputation of not paying very well behind the scenes but pay their star players a lot. Do you want to know why? Cause so many guys would die to work in New York for the Yankees…and the Yankees know it!!! So they’ll pay anything.
So these Google’s, ESPN’s, Nike’s and Microsoft’s….who so many people would die to work for – and those companies know it. They don’t have to pay above average…they can pay average of below average. So Theo Epstein is making the right decision by bailing on a franchise like the Red Soxs. Not because of what happened this year, not because of that! He can create his own legacy, he’ll have final say on everything – which he didn’t in Boston, and he didn’t grow up a Cubs fan so he has no clouded emotion, it’s all business and all win. So this guy I was networking with, he’s in his mid 40’s, and his tiny bit of career advice that he gave me was that “dream jobs are over rated! Make the job you have now a dream! Make the job you’re applying for a dream.” Because if it’s your dream job, your employer knows it and they’ll stiff you and you’ll have to sacrifice stuff because they know it’s your dream job.
The other reason why you leave Boston is because Tim Kirchen said on SportsCentre yesterday that this Red Sox roster is old, fat, and lazy and you can’t do anything with it now! “The thing with the Red Soxs right now is that there are not a whole lot of things to do with that club right now. They’ve got so many guys tied to long term deals that it’s almost like they have what they have there and now with this incoming GM, there is only so much that the GM is going to be able to do with the current roster” Move on, build your own legacy and build your own team. I got an email from a friend in Chicago – and he totally missed the boat “oh great, lose pain killers, misspent cash! The gory details of the Red Sox’s collapse is all over the Boston Globe today Andrew, now the Cubs want this guy? Great! Another GM who picks idiots” No bud, you whiffed! They got 2 World Series titles out of him – how you doing in Chicago bud? How are those World Series titles for you bud? You don’t have any!!!
The reality in baseball – the new reality is that with the Yankees and the Red Soxs and the Phillies, when you pay the players – what these teams pay the players in the strongest union in sports, as long as you can win a championship or two, that’s all you’re going to get. This is because you end up overpaying guy’s worth over $150 million who are not hungry and not coachable. By the way, the emailer is talking about a story that was released yesterday on the Boston Globe which is just unbelievable! It is one of the great baseball stories – it’s one of the great jobs of journalism. The guy’s name is Bob Hohler, veteran dude…great reporting!
So he goes back and unveils what went wrong with the Red Soxs collapse last month – it’s unbelievable. Josh Beckett, John Lester and John Lackey – their 3 ace’s, in the time of crisis, according to sources, had a habit of drinking beer, eating fast food and playing video games DURING GAMES!!! The article is based on a series of interviews with individuals familiar with the Soxs Operation. Terry Francona, they unveiled this that he moved out of his wife’s house of 30 years and into a team hotel during the latter part of the season. There were bottle of pills that Francona’s own children were concerned about their father taking too much pain medication. Team sources expressed concern that Francona’s performance may have been affected by pain medications…he was numb, but he denied it.
Then they go into a great story about Hurricane Irene coming to the East coast in late August. Red Sox management, according to the Boston Globe proposed moving up the Sunday game of the weekend against Oakland so that the teams could play like a day-night double header on Friday or Saturday and they could avoid the rainout, because if you have a rain out with the A’s – who are 3,000 miles away, it’s hard to make up. According to the story, the players protested saying “what a bunch of spoiled brats these guys are” as they’d just come off a tough road trip and basically the players thought the team management cared more about money (pfft, like if you guys don’t?) than the team. As it turned out, from that point forward, the Red Sox’s never won 2 games in a row for the rest of the season.
The Red Sox’s owners, according to the article, suspected it and invited all the players to the owners’ yacht on a day-off, gave them all $300 headphones, took care of them for a night – it didn’t work! The players had already made up their mind – management was against them. As far as the players are concerned – Beckett, Lester and Lackey, like Lackey doesn’t have a great reputation, but Lester? I thought everybody loved Lester! They go onto say that Francona was burdened not only by the frustration of coping with the “least dedicated” group of players during his Boston tenure “rich fat guys” but that the Red Sox’s were probably going to exercise his contractual option. So that was another part of the story.
So what I really take away from all of this, my take away is – first of all, the players all went tone deaf on Terry Francona, it doesn’t mean he’s any less of a manager, he can go somewhere else and his message will be fresh somewhere else. The second thing is, we just watched the Yankees, Phillies and Red Sox’s – veteran teams, wealthy teams, circle the drain. What does that tell me? It tells me that when you have these high payroll teams, in a sport where you can’t cut players because they have the strongest union. If you can win a World Series or two –Red Soxs got two, Phillies got one and lost one and the Yankees got one…that may be it! You’re going to get fat, overpriced, lazy and not coachable guys.
I mean, look at David Ortiz of the Red Soxs, Mark Texiera of the Yankees, Ryan Howard of the Phillies…dead pull hitters. Do you think you could ever coax those guys into hitting the ball the other way? Nope, they make a $100 million; they’re set in their ways “give me my money” is their thing…not coachable! Joe Torre is a legend in New York, Joe Torre inherited young hungry guys…he got Jeter and Mariano and Bernie and Jorge…they weren’t rich, but they were young and hungry. Then he also got guys like Scott Brosius and Charlie Hayes and Joe Girardi and Ricky Ladee and role players that would die for you!!
Do you know what Joe Girardi inherited? Derek Jeter $280 million net worth, A-Rod $300 million net worth, Posada $150 million, Mariano at $200 million…yet who is the one Yankee all year long that gave you everything, every stinking day….Brett Gardner, $529,000 annually. So in a sport where you can’t cut anybody, when you make them worth $150 million….that’s what you get! They win their title and they go eat cheese burgers and play video games!!