Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Theo Epstein to Exchange Toxic Red Sox for 'Cursed' Cubs

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Theo Epstein to Exchange Toxic Red Sox for 'Cursed' Cubs

Article excerpt

Theo Epstein was revered in Boston for helping to bring the city its first World Series since 1918. Now, Theo Epstein is set to try to do the same in Chicago after enduring a disastrous Red Sox season.

The epitaph for what will apparently be General Manager Theo Epstein's last year with the Boston Red Sox was written before the 2011 season even began.

It came in the April edition of Men's Journal, penned by Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter.

Responding to the apparent genius of Epstein in securing stars Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez in the offseason, Showalter quipped: "I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay [Rays] payroll. You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their b***. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the h*** are they beating us?' "

In the light of a cold New England October, the irascible Showalter appears a prophet - and, as a result, Epstein is headed for the door, reportedly set to leave for the Chicago Cubs.

He has not been fired; he had a year to run on his Red Sox contract.

Nor is he being frozen out the way manager Terry Francona was.

But no executives or fans are throwing themselves in front of the exits, either.

Six months ago, that would have been unthinkable - a primary architect of the Red Sox' "curse"-breaking 2004 World Series winner sent on his way with a pat on the rump and a "better luck next time."

But perhaps, there was just a little too much truth in Showalter's malediction.

It was, after all, Showalter's Orioles - with a record of 69-93 - who won five of seven games against the Red Sox at the end of the season to keep the Sox' $205 million menagerie out of the playoffs, the final incomprehensible exclamation mark on the biggest September collapse in major league history.

It was, after all, Carl Crawford who the Yankees GM later admitted to faking an interest in during the offseason solely to drive up the price for the Sox. Carl Crawford who hit a career-low .255 (nearly 40 points below his career average) and stole only 18 bases (also a career low for a full season). …

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