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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Theo Epstein takes exception with his quotes in Terry Francona’s book

Terry Francona has co-authored a book, “Francona: The Red Sox Years,” and from the sound of it, the former Boston Red Sox manager is seeking a bit of revenge in the wake of the team smearing his image on his way out the door.

Earlier this week, we shared one of Theo Epstein’s quotes from the book in which the former Boston general manager talked about John Henry, Larry Lucchino and the Red Sox ownership group wanting “sexy” players.

On Wednesday, Epstein told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the quotes were taken out of context.

“My quote about how ‘they told us… we needed sizzle’ was in response to a question about the meeting to discuss the consultants’ study on NESN ratings,” Epstein, who is now with the Chicago Cubs, said. “It was specifically about the consultants’ meeting; it was not about ownership.”

Epstein insists that it was marketing consultants that said the team needed to bring in “sexy” players — not Henry and company. He also took exception with the book’s assertion that he was pressured into trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Carl Crawford prior to the 2011 season.

“There is no direct link between that meeting and the Red Sox moves that winter,” he said. “I take full responsibility for those moves. It was my job to handle the pressure of a big market and make good decisions.”

In the book, Francona is quoted as saying that baseball is more of a “hobby” for the Red Sox ownership group and that they do not seem to love the game. Epstein strongly disagrees.

“I spent a decade in the organization,” he explained. “In my opinion, John, Tom and Larry do love baseball and care deeply about the Red Sox and Red Sox fans. … I got a chance to work with one of the best managers and one of the best ownership groups in baseball, and we all had a lot of success together. We have fond memories of that time — including supporting one another through the difficult stretches — but now we are all consumed with new challenges as we should be.”

For his part, Francona even admitted that some of the excerpts that have been pulled from the book make the criticism of Boston’s front office sound harsher than he and co-author Dan Shaughnessy intended it to be.

The bottom line is Epstein, Francona and the Red Sox owners accomplished a great deal together. While there are certainly some bitter feelings about the way the era came to a close (and there should be), we’re not exactly talking about the failures of a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates.



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