Theo Epstein spoke to Boston Nation Tuesday morning, explaining his choice to leave his beloved Red Sox in a first-person op-ed piece in the Boston Globe.
“The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships,” Epstein wrote. “It has nothing to do with September, either.”
Citing football legend Bill Walsh’s idea that coaches and executives in sports benefit from a change of scenery after 10 years or so in the same place, Epstein said he was thinking of leaving after the 2012 season, his 10th year. He also said he and assistant Ben Cherington discussed a plan for Cherington to take over as GM.
“This summer, when ownership and I first discussed Ben as my successor, the Red Sox were stable, thriving, and talented enough in the big leagues and in the farm system to compete as one of the best clubs in baseball this year and for many years to come,” Epstein wrote.
The team’s September collapse, subsequent firing of mananger Terry Francona and strong interest from the Chicago Cubs sped up the timetable.
“All of a sudden, we found ourselves needing to pick a new manager, a decision with long-term implications and one best made by someone who could lead the Red Sox baseball operation for the foreseeable future,” Epstein wrote. “Then the Cubs asked permission to interview me. The Cubs -- with their passionate fans, dedicated ownership, tradition, and World Series drought -- represented the ultimate new challenge and the one team I could imagine working for after such a fulfilling Red Sox experience.
“It was very difficult deciding to leave the place where I grew up, where I met my wife, where my son was born, where my family and closest friends live, and where I help run a charitable foundation. And it was equally hard to part with the organization and the people, including John [Henry], Tom [Werner], and Larry [Lucchino], who entrusted me with this role at such a young age and supported me along the way. But it was the right thing to do.”
Epstein will be announced at the Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations later Tuesday. He wrote that he believes the team will recover from the September slide and the belief they were a troubled team. He also will cherish his time in Boston.
“For the last decade, I gave everything I had to the Red Sox and received even more in return,” he wrote. “I grew enormously as a person, had some successes, and made a lot of mistakes, too. ... Thank you for all the incredible support this last decade. I will never forget it. May we meet again in an October not too many years from now.”