(Dukakis in very nice shirt on left / Boston Globe File Photo 2002)
Former Massachusetts Governor and US Presidential Candidate Comes Up Short in Bid to Succeed Epstein
Red Sox Apprentice: Former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis has come up short in his bid to succeed fellow Brookline native Theo Epstein as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. He was eliminated from the competition by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino late last night.
Lucchino was not available to the media for comment, but issued a statement regarding his decision:
“As I said at the beginning of this process, we’ll leave no stone unturned when it comes to finding the next general manager for the Red Sox. And that includes scouring the world of politics where we have interviewed mayors, senators, governors, and even presidents.
“Unlike front-running Red Sox native son John Kerry… you all remember the ‘Manny Ortez’ gaffe I’m sure… former governor Michael Dukakis is a longtime, legitimate Red Sox fanatic. He saw his first game in 1938 when Jimmy Foxx smacked a ball off the Wall against the Yankees’ Lefty Grove. He saw young pitching sensation Boo Ferris light up the Fenway scene in ’45 and ’46. He was in the stands in ’67 to witness the ‘Impossible Dream.’ And for those of you still pining for the previous general manager, the former governor is also a Distinguished Alumni of Brookline High School, class of ’51.
“It’s also important to note that Dukakis and his team went down the tubes together. When the Red Sox blew a 14-game lead to the Yankees in ’78, Dukakis was busy blowing a 40-point lead in the governor’s race to Ed King with just five weeks to go.
“Unfortunately in this campaign, the former governor was running on a platform of ‘progressive spending and big payroll,’ much like he did when he ran for president, in the hopes of creating what he called another ‘Red Sox miracle.’ And as you all know, our passion is to reduce spending and lower the payroll over a period of time that enables us to sell the team at an enormous profit. Therefore, it was unanimous between John, Tom, Charles and I that it would not be prudent to place the stewardship of the Red Sox baseball operations in the hands of Michael Stanley Dukakis at this time.
"I would like to point out that the former governor did leave us with an innovative idea which we will pursue with the state legislature for a program called 'Soxachusetts,' whereas the working citizens of Red Sox Nation residing in Massachusetts, including non-cardholders, would be levied with a 7 1/2 percent annual income tax payable to New England Sports Ventures, the partnership that owns the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and 80 percent of NESN. Surprisingly, this was something we hadn't thought of to raise additional revenue prior to the former governor presenting the idea to us during the interview process, and we are grateful to him for that.”
Other well-placed industry sources familiar with the thinking of the Red Sox brass suggested that Dukakis’s downfall began when he was awkwardly photographed wearing a construction helmet, much too big for his head, while at the helm of a Caterpillar 5090 front shovel being used in the demolition of the .406 club at Fenway Park.
Dukakis, speaking during his ride home from Fenway on the green line, said “I have run what I called a marathon for the highest honor that the Red Sox can bestow on anyone, and even though the marathon was not won, it was completed and should lead to the continuation of a strengthened Red Sox front office.” Whatever that means.
Dukakis will now return to his passion of lobbying for a $200 million high-speed rail system between Belchertown and Boston, a program the former governor said the Commonwealth “desperately needs.”