Sox Brass Has Created
a Public Relations Monster
Opening, and No Closure
"So the Sox aren't saying yes or no on the Theo rumor that won't go away.
"Meanwhile, there is the ball club's public relations nightmare of the last two weeks and the perception of chaos at the top during a critical time in the calendar. The Red Sox are the only team in the majors without a general manager. They obviously waited too long to negotiate with Theo and now they look like George McGovern trying to find a running mate in 1972.
"Lucchino assured fans the Sox will have a general manager before the winter meetings commence in Dallas Dec. 5. He also disputed the notion that the Sox are falling behind because of their situation.
'''The business of our baseball operations department is going along. Bill Lajoie is functioning as kind of an acting general manager down there. If you go back to 2002, when we conducted the search, we started it right at the end of the season and we hired someone -- Theo Epstein -- at the end of November. That was a much longer process than this one will be, but it is more important for us to find the right person than to do a rush job on the search.'" -- 11.18, Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
Mets Want Their Manny-TV
"LASTINGS' IMPRESSIONS: Lastings Milledge, the center-field prospect who could get traded should the Mets obtain Ramirez, said he isn't fazed by the rumors. "It's not like I'd be getting released," Milledge told MLB.com. "I'd just be in another uniform. It's not a big deal. I can't say having me makes a team better than having Manny Ramirez. It's hard to say I'd make the Mets better because I'm still in the minor leagues. I can say, though, that I'd be playing longer." Milledge, 20, is currently participating in Olympic qualifying in Arizona. He homered in Team USA's 7-4 win over Nicaragua yesterday while committing an error playing left field." -- 11.18, NY Daily News
Lessard In, Rowe Out as Head Trainer
Newsday: Yanks Like Damon at 4/$44M
Daily News: Manny is Minaya's 'Holy Grail' While Sox Long for Lastings
Star-Ledger: Yanks, Mets, and A's Interested in Mike Myers
NESN: Bill Lajoie on Sox GM Search
Gammons: 'Epstein Has No Regrets'
"Henry clearly wanted Epstein to continue to run the baseball side of his operation, and thus attended the Brookline ceremony. But Epstein reiterated what it would take for him to go back to his office in the cellar of 4 Yawkey Way: resolving issues and priorities within the organization. Lucchino and Tom Werner chose not to address them during the contract negotiations, and Epstein will not discuss them publicly. Lucchino and Werner stated in Palm Springs, Calif., last week that they had "turned the page.
"Epstein insists to friends, many within the game, that he has no regrets. He had his reasons, and to run back without resolving issues is not something he would consider. He has told friends and other general managers that he is very comfortable with his actions, hopes to be in the game a long time from now, and hopes stepping back like this will only help him in the long run." -- 11.16, Peter Gammons, ESPN.com Insider (subscription required)
FORTUNE: Letting A Star Slip Away
"By his own admission, the owner had allowed a critical management process to spin out of control. As a result, Henry had lost the man hailed for assembling the first Red Sox championship team in 86 years. The ultimate systems guy had trusted the system—and it had blown up in his face. Most agreed that the result would have been different had Henry relied on himself rather than his hierarchy. As Red Sox star Curt Schilling put it in an e-mail to FORTUNE: 'In my opinion, had Mr. Henry handled the negotiations, Theo would still be the GM.' But Mr. Henry hadn't, and Theo wasn't.
"Henry still pines for his old GM, so the story may have a happy ending. However it concludes, the Red Sox have been battered by bad press, hamstrung without a GM during baseball's trading season, and riven with turmoil. What's easy to miss is that those problems far exceed the damage from losing Epstein. They reveal a paradox: It may have been a mistake to let Epstein leave, but it could be an even bigger one to bring him back.
"Epstein insisted that his much dissected, 14-year relationship with Lucchino was not the problem. Yet moments later, Epstein grimaced when Henry insisted there had been no 'trust issue' between Epstein and Lucchino. Was that a telling slip? Epstein won't say—he did not respond to numerous e-mails and phone calls seeking comment. Nevertheless, Henry wasn't surprised when told of Epstein's body language. 'There was a trust issue, and after I read through the transcript, I realized I should have just said, 'No comment,'' he concedes. 'But I was trying to be very careful about not giving away his reasons. I felt like that's up to Theo.'
"Henry viewed Epstein as Lucchino's responsibility. That may explain why Henry brushed off a direct warning. Epstein told him in August that negotiations were floundering and 'could take a bad turn.' Henry says he told his general manager 'to just communicate more, to be forthright.'
"Epstein acted immaturely at times. According to Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College economics professor and a well connected sports business expert, Epstein was angered by a Boston Globe column that revealed that it was he rather than Lucchino who reneged on a trade with the Colorado Rockies in July. In the columnist's telling, Lucchino was the hero: 'Lucchino took the fall, killing the deal and saving Epstein.' Epstein was outraged by the article. During his press conference, he denied that the column affected his decision to resign, but Zimbalist isn't buying it: 'It's unlikely you would own up to that because it does seem a little bit callow and precipitous.'" -- 11.28 issue, FORTUNE magazine
Nip is Back (Can Clemens Be Far Behind?)