Any person employed in a high-profile job will find themselves the subject of intense scrutiny at one time or another. They will find that their performance will be analyzed and dissected, and they will be subject to criticism and—sometimes—to ridicule.
It doesn’t matter whether you are the President of the United States, the governor of your state, the mayor of your city, or the teacher of your son’s sixth-grade class, there is a blowhard out there who thinks she or he knows the job better than you do.
In sports, it would be hard to identify an executive who is subject to the same scrutiny as the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, who frequently finds himself under the microscope on a day-to-day basis—even in the offseason.
One day it is a verbal assault from some get-a-lifer on talk radio...the next day it’s a rebuke from some know-it-all like Dan Shaughnessey on the pages of the Boston Globe...and on the third day it is a tirade from some blogger on the Internet.
Haywood Sullivan failing to mail contracts to Carlton Fisk and Freddy Lynn.
Lou Gorman trading Jeff Bagwell to Houston.
Dan Duquette...well, for just being Dan Duquette.
Even the Boy-GM, Theo Epstein, has endured a mountain of criticism from the members of Red Sox Nation—for trades that haven’t worked out and free agent signings that have fizzled. But the fact of the matter is, the Red Sox organization has NEVER experienced the kind of success it has had since the Henry/Lucchino/Werner triumvirate named him their guy.
Prior to Epstein assuming control of the franchise, the team had made postseason appearances on fourteen occasions in one hundred years. Since his arrival, the team has made the playoffs six times in seven years, including two stretches of three straight years (the only times Red Sox teams have made the second season as much as three years in a row).
Today, Epstein discussed his philosophy with respect to assembling his ballclubs. Whether you love him or not, his approach to running The Olde Towne Team has helped to make the last ten years as glorious as any period in franchise history.
“If you played in the postseason 100 times, 50 times you might get bounced in the first round, 25 times you might get bounced in the next round, 12 times you might lose in the World Series, and 13 times you might win the World Series...That’s why we have clearly defined objectives.
"In our mission statement, (we establish) we want to operate with a long-term view to put ourselves in a position to win 95 games and get into the playoffs as often as we possibly can. Part of the thinking is that if you make the postseason multiple times, you improve your chances of making the World Series.
"In theory, if you’re in eight times, you’ll win one World Series. Well we’ve been in five times, this is our sixth time in. Of the first five times, we won two World Series.
“I don’t believe in building a team with the season goal of winning the World Series, and the next year you look up, and all of a sudden you’re old and you don’t have any options...We want to try to always operate with the broadest possible lens, so we have a solid foundation and so that every year, or just about every year, we’ll be in a position to win 95 games and get in.
"Then we trust our players, trust our manager, trust our coaching staff, trust our advanced scouting, trust our ability to perform under pressure to go win a World Series.”
This evening, his players, manager and coaching staff will begin the fight to win a third championship in six years...that’s a little better than one-in-eight.
1903: won WS, 5 games to 3 (Boston Americans)
1912: won WS, 4 games to 3 (with one tie)
1915: won WS, 4 games to 1
1916: won WS, 4 games to 1
1918: won WS, 4 games to 2
1946: lost WS, 4 games to 3
1967: lost WS, 4 games to 3
1975: lost WS, 4 games to 3
1986: lost WS, 4 games to 3
1988: lost ALCS, 4 games to 0
1990: lost ALCS, 4 games to 0
1995: lost ALDS, 3 games to 0
1998: lost ALDS, 3 games to 1
1999: lost ALCS, 4 games to 1
2003: lost ALCS, 4 games to 3
2004: won WS, 4 games to 0
2005: lost ALDS, 3 games to 0
2007: won WS, 4 games to 0
2008: lost ALCS, 4 games to 3