I’ve been a fan of the Boston Red Sox for over twenty years. A number of factors conspired to make me a fan, but the catalyst was reading on the back of a Wade Boggs baseball card that he was born in Omaha. Since then, I’ve ridden the highs and lows of being a Red Sox fan.
One of my favorite memories is from 2004. Jana and I were living in an apartment complex near one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. We were also near the University of Nebraska at Omaha, so there were a lot of students there. Lots of noise. While living there I called 911 on a few occasions. When the Red Sox were making their comeback against the Yankees, and then winning the World Series, Jana was concerned we were going to be reported because of the noise I was making in the apartment cheering on the Red Sox. Considering some of my neighbors, I had no worries we were going to be reported by anyone.
The past ten years has arguably been the best ten year run in the history of the Red Sox organization. They’ve averaged 93 wins a season, won two division titles, made the playoffs six times, and most importantly won two World Series championships.
For a majority of that decade, GM Theo Epstein and Manager Terry Francona have been leading the way. Within a few weeks of the end of this season, both men are no longer with the team. Watching and reading how the organization has handled their departures with a lack of class and honor, especially toward Terry, is disheartening. These two men were instrumental in the greatest ten year run the Red Sox have had.
While there are more and more reports of the Red Sox’s upper management being concerned about maximizing profit and other ventures they are involved with (Liverpool F.C., NASCAR), you never doubted Theo and Terry’s commitment to the Red Sox winning.*
*Who knows at this point, but I’ve read and heard a few reports that Red Sox ownership was behind the Carl Crawford signing. They wanted to show Red Sox and Liverpool fans they were willing to spend money to win. John Henry alluded to this in an interview with The Guardian, before saying he was against the signing. Plus, the Red Sox wanted to boost tv ratings and buzz. The Crawford signing wasn’t necessarily a baseball decision. If that’s the case, Theo shouldn’t be blamed for that contract.
I hope the end of the 2011 season isn’t the lasting impression for Red Sox fans when it comes to Terry and Theo. I don’t think it is now, and it certainly won’t be in the future.
Thanks Terry and Theo. You brought a bit of joy to my life. I hope you continue to be successful in life.