Perception is everything. Boston has been thought of as a model organization that could do no wrong while the Cub were the inept laughingstock that couldn't seem to do anything right. It now appears that the two franchises are switching places.
The way both the Cubs and Red Sox franchises have acted throughout this process says a lot about the different ownership between the two teams. The Cubs appear on their way to becoming a top notch organization while Boston suddenly looks petty, greedy, and manipulative.
Ricketts has handled his search with class. He did his research, he has drawn input from around the league, and he has come up with his own handful of candidates, one of whom we now know is Theo Epstein. Throughout the process, Ricketts has kept everything close to the vest. There have been no leaks to the media. It has strictly been about finding the best person(s) for the job of making the Cubs a consistent winner.
Epstein was said to be "blown away" by Ricketts long-term vision. Jim Hendry has said nothing but good things about the Ricketts family and the Cubs organization in general.
Meanwhile, in an excellent article by David Kaplan, we get this from one of his sources, whom he calls "a current baseball executive with knowledge of the parties involved".
Larry Lucchino is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever dealt with and because of his frayed relationship with Theo Epstein he is looking to make a point at the expense of Theo's happiness and his desire to go to Chicago. I didn't believe that ownership group for one second when they said that they wouldn't stand in Theo's way if he wanted out of Boston. They are furious that he wants out and they are trying to make a point. Theo helped bring them two World Series titles and they have no loyalty to him and his happiness. They messed with Terry Francona and that was just an incredibly pathetic move and now they are trying to make life very tough for Theo.
We've seen them throw Terry Francona under the bus and then have the owner John Henry clumsily deny it with an unannounced visit to a Boston radio station. Even the hometown radio station's hosts weren't buying Henry's spin. Why should anyone else believe it?
We also talked earlier about how all the leaks are coming from Boston in an obvious ploy to try and manipulate the negotiations to their favor.
The point is that Boston is now switching places with the Cubs. Once revered as the model to follow, the Red Sox are quickly losing that reputation. They are now alternating between looking petty, unprofessional and downright laughable - especially when their owner storms on to the radio to try and defend their highly questionable actions. Can you even imagine Tom Ricketts doing that?
Not a chance.
As the Red Sox look to tear Epstein down on his way out the door, they are in serious danger of also tearing down the model organization that he was largely responsible for building. In their effort to play hardball and gain top prospects in return, they could well pay for that price in terms of their once hallowed reputation. Are a couple of top prospects really worth the damage they seem to be doing to their organization -- at least in term of perception?
Think about it this way: If you're an aspiring GM right now, forgetting the past, who would you want to work for going forward? Which organization looks like the professional one that respects their employees and keeps their business in house?
Who'd have thought just a month ago that the correct answer would be the Cubs?
Filed under: Cubs Organization