Savior? Or Fan Pleaser?
What will Theo Epstein's new role be?
Yesterday, it was announced that Theo Epstein would join Fenway Sports Group as a part owner. The immediate assumption was that he would be taking a role with the Red Sox, but that isn’t necessarily true.
I saw the tweet alert as I was cleaning up vomit from one of the younger students in school. At first, a sense of joy came over me. But then I began to think about it more. Maybe it was the smell of vomit that distracted me, but I wanted more time to think about this.
While I credit ownership for bringing in a franchise favorite, I truly hope this is not just a ploy to get fans back in their good graces.
Let’s look at some of the quotes coming out. The wording is very particular both from him and the team. In an article from Sportico he states,
“It’s a great honor, something I’m really excited about,” Epstein said in a video call. “It’s just exciting to be joining such a dynamic, groundbreaking company across multiple sports, doing so many innovative things at the cutting edge of everything going on in sports these days. For me, it’s perfect, and I was looking for a pathway into ownership.”
Key word in there is “ownership.” While I am happy that Theo has come on board I don’t think this is the saving grace many Red Sox fans are expecting. He seems to try and temper those expectations himself when he talks about Breslow,
“I’m a full believer in him and what he and his team are going to mean for the Red Sox,”
He then immediately jumps to his roles in the “other sports”
“With the other sports, where I have a lot to learn, hopefully my experience not only with teams but with Major League Baseball and with private equity will come in handy, at least as a supportive resource for the people at FSG.”
These other sports of course, are soccer, hockey, and golf. All of which the Fenway Sports Group is involved in. And all of which have gotten more attention in the past few years than the Red Sox have. Maybe that is natural. The Sox have been the most successful MLB team of the 2000s. But within the organization the lack of attention from ownership has been felt. According to Chris Cotillo, this is the reason Epstein is here.
“According to people with an understanding of the arrangement between Epstein and the Red Sox, he was brought back into the fold, at least in part, due to Red Sox ownership privately acknowledging that they have, at times, not given the club the attention it has deserved in recent years as the FSG portfolio has rapidly grown.”
If he really is here to push John Henry and make him spend where he previously wouldn’t , then I am a happy camper. If he ends up working more with fixing the hierarchy with Liverpool…. Well, that might be the final straw for Red Sox Nation.
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