MLB Season in Review: Hello Chicago, I Am the Great Theo Epstein
On August 19, 2011 Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts finally made the move that all of Cubs nation was waiting for:
He fired General Manager Jim Hendry. Hallelujah!
That day was when the speculation would begin. Who was next? It has to be Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman or Brian Cashman, right? They are going to want to come to Chicago, no doubt about it.
For about two months speculation grew. The New York Yankees were dominating the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays were catching up and the Boston Red Sox were having turmoil September.
Then on the last day of the regular season, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles while at the same time the Rays had just beaten the Yankees. That was it; the Red Sox were out of the playoffs.
A few days later, Terry Francona was dismissed as manager and the speculation about Epstein was growing. As soon as anyone could say it, Tom Ricketts and the Cubs had already begun to make their move.
Many things were coming together at once. The Cubs pursuit of Epstein had just begun. While in Boston, news was being released about the fall of the Boston Red Sox, relating to issues of beer and fried chicken in the locker room. Honestly, not a huge deal, but it looks like The Colonel was the scapegoat of 2011. It was only the beginning of the downfall that surrounded what was known "KFC-gate."
With all the negative news surrounding the Red Sox in the media, they were looking to shake things up, and the first thing they did was they "mutually" parted ways with their longtime manager. Following Francona’s dismissal; they allowed Epstein to talk with the Cubs.
Were the Red Sox critics and possibly even ownership blaming the beer and fried chicken on the guys who were essentially running the team? It looks like it. The Red Sox were not going to make it easy though, considering Epstein was still under contract for 2012.
After discussing things with the Cubs’ organization, Epstein agreed to a five-year deal on October 12, 2011. While Epstein officially resigned from the Red Sox on October 21, discussions are still going on between the Cubs and Red Sox in terms of compensation.
At the end of the day, the Chicago Cubs got their guy. Hopefully that guy will make a dramatic change on the North Side for 2012.
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