With the departure of Theo Epstein from Boston Tuesday came a chance to start fresh for both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs. For Chicago, a high-profile figure arrives — one who has already proved he is capable of snapping epic World Series droughts. New Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is a lesser-known local, but is someone who has been with the team since 1999 and handled himself perfectly during his introductory press conference on Tuesday.
The list of reasons for Epstein to accept a position with the Cubs was long while the list of reasons to remain in Boston for another season was limited. The Red Sox are coming off an epic collapse and have clubhouse issues that can only be fixed if major changes are made. Theo will have more power in Chicago and a chance to rescue the most depressed fan base in baseball. One reason we did not consider as a contributing factor in Epstein’s decision was the crazed fans of Boston. As Peter Gammons pointed out in his MLB.com article on Wednesday, that may have played a small role.
There was a burnout factor in Epstein’s desire to leave, which he was going to do regardless after the 2012 season. It was as if he were stuck on an elevator between the ninth and 10th floors. His wife, Marie, and son, Jack, could not live normal lives. There often was an unmarked Brookline police cruiser at the end of his street because of a stalker and concerns about the family privacy.
Stories like these are not uncommon when talking about superstar athletes. People like LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Derek Jeter have to disguise themselves when going out in public, otherwise they would never get anything accomplished. Hearing that the general manager of a baseball team may have had to deal with a stalker is frightening. Maybe the fans in Boston do take the Red Sox just a little too seriously.’
Fist pound to Hardball Talk for passing the story along.