We may never actually know what really happened. And right now there are a bunch of people doing their damndest to muddy the waters--the CHB and Mazz, for starters. I'm not linking them, but from the multitude of other blogs I've read that link and / or excerpt them, the Theo return is bad because it makes the front office "inconsistent." And too "drama filled." One source I read said, "The Red Sox keep turning into the Yankees," comparing the Theo situation to Billy Martin drama in the 70's.
In other words, much of our local press (and the national) would prefer to gloss over the fact that the most successful GM in franchise history has decided to actually rejoin the team, delighting Sox fans everywhere, and would rather harp on the fact that the whole thing is so...dramatic. And inconsistent. As if that's not their bread and fucking butter. Greater hypocrisy I cannot imagine.
It's like two people deciding to reconcile after beginning divorce proceedings...and a friend of theirs sniffs, "Well the whole thing has just been one big soap opera...I don't see why they should get back together at this point. I mean, all the drama." Especially if that friend's gossip-mongering and outright interference had been at least partially to blame in the first place. Would you want to smack that person in the face or what?
That's exactly how I feel about the usual suspects in our local media today.
Granted, pathalogical Sox fan that I am, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop--as SG put it, "the gelatinous, half-baked form in which it was plopped out in the streets intrigues me." Me too.
But we're not getting any solidifying from the media--instead, basically, they're throwing a tantrum because they've lost a great stick to poke the fan base with. And unfortunately, much of the outside world is taking their complaints as representative, once again, of Red Sox Nation. Maybe someday I'll accept that this is the way of things, but right now that makes me want to throw a tantrum of my own.
Because there's a story here. And maybe it's the journalist in me, but I'm DYING for that story. I want to know who, what, when, where, how, why. I want to know the scenarios. I want to know the conversations Theo had, with John Henry, with his friends and family, with a player on the team, perhaps? I want to have been a fly on the wall. I desperately want to know what happened.
What I don't want is some sports columnist's opinion on whether or not what happened is a good thing. What I don't want is to see Dan Shaughnessy pitch a fit because essentially, he was in somehow on the Theo departure and / or can't stand to see Sox fans happy about anything. It's not useful to me, what they're doing right now. What I want is the story they're (deliberately?) ignoring. I want them to use the access their job affords them to get me that information, get it out in the open. Of course, that's the one thing they're never going to do, for whatever reason, and frankly, I despise them for this.
So far, the only rumblings of the deeper story I've heard comes from Sean McAdam, as referenced by WallBall Single:
[John Henry] hired outside consultants to examine the organization’s corporate culture, rebuffed Lucchino’s many attempts to install Jim Beattie as Epstein’s permanent replacement and kept the lines of communication open with Epstein.
“Look at it this way,” said a person from outside the organization with knowledge of the situation. “It’s like there was a controversial call on the field [in football], and Larry has been trying to get to the line of scrimmage and get a play off and John has been calling timeout, trying to get it looked at and reversed.”
That is fascinating, not only from a sports standpoint but also from a business standpoint. Someone who has professional credentials and a professional reporter's salary at our "major" Boston newspapers should be covering the shit out of that angle. Instead all we get is pontificating and unsubstantiated off-the-record stuff...while the rest of the nation reads Dan Shaughnessy and concludes (and who can blame them?) that we're looking a gift horse in the mouth...again.
Anyway, from what information I'm hearing, like McAdam's admirable piece, I'm more and more convinced of the correctness of my original assumptions about Theo, assumptions that never wavered throughout this saga: that he is a strong, ruthless, brass-balled guy--perhaps the strongest, most ruthless, brassiest-balled guy I've ever even heard of, in fact--and someone I unequivocally want on my side. As Brian puts it, "remind me never to get in the way of Theo. He’s ruthless, and Larry Lucchino has Theo’s shoe marks all over his butt."
Despite Shaughnessy's better efforts, Theo's departure never made me doubt Theo. It made me doubt the Red Sox. Period.
John Henry appears to have been smart enough to recognize what he has in Epstein, but it's still Theo who really takes my breath away. He called their bluff, and walked away to stand his ground. He proved his point and argued for months, and would not accept the job, even if it meant a quadrupling of his salary, unless it was on his terms.
That's the kind of GM Boston needs. That's the kind of person Theo is. I'm glad he stuck to his guns in such a major way. I'm glad Lucchino has butt shoe prints in Theo's wingtip size. I am in awe of Theo's determination and strength. I never believed he had caved under the media pressure, as many rumors stated. The guy who traded Nomar mid-season didn't seem to jibe with that characterization, you know?
I wish this was the story our media was telling.
But, then again, as Jonathan Swift once wrote, "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." The Theo saga thus far has shown us just how many dunces we are surrounded with in Boston...but maybe all that just helps to single out the genius.
P.S. Although, hey, maybe I'm the dunce here. Eric Wilbur (whom I normally have a lot more respect for than many of his coworkers) seems to think those of us happy to see Theo back are "the target audience the team deemed dumb enough to hoodwink into buying some World Series sod."
I'm getting tired, as a Red Sox fan, of being insulted by these sportswriters whenever I'm happy about something. I'm getting tired of having appreciation for anything Red Sox being equated with naivete and idiocy. Like appreciating Manny--for all his faults. Or being glad Theo's back, no matter what else happens or what else is going on. Like recognizing that the Red Sox are something to enjoy means we're obtuse--the unwashed masses for which the sportswriters feel nothing but contempt.
I'm getting sick of being written about, characterized, interpreted, by people who obviously despise me.
Might this be how many players and Red Sox figures also feel, hmm?
It's not like I don't recognize that it's not ideal for this situation to have unfolded as it did. It's not like I think Theo is totally lily-white in this situation, but I still wholeheartedly believe that him being officially, openly, with the team and taking some sort of control (in a way in which he feels good about) is a good thing, in the end. And yeah. I admire his ballsiness--I'm not going to apologize for that. Any more than I've apologized here for being a fan of Curt Schilling, for all his faults.
Apparently, though, that just means I'm stupid.