So Theo Epstein quit. For me, this news is devastating, and it has nothing to do with any personal feelings about the Boston Red Sox. If you’re like me, and I think you are, this news is devastating to you too, and let me explain why.
If you’re like me, you realized that your baseball career was heading for a dead end about the same time you realized that your coach wasn’t putting you in right field because he thought you were the next Tony Gwynn. For me, this took place in seventh grade, the same season, coincidentally, that I went 5 for 45 on the season.
My dreams of becoming a major league All-Star were over, but another dream was just beginning – being the baseball genius up in the box. I began honing my skills on the fantasy sports circuit, and after trading a pitcher whose name I can’t recall for Miguel Tejada won me my first league championship, I was sure I had found my calling.
Epstein was proof that the dream could actually happen. The man was the General Manager of a big market team at the age of 28. Up until he came along, I thought the only route to GM was toiling around in a George Costanza like office job until the cross town Mets ask you to get yourself fired. (Side note: isn’t it fun watching those old episodes with Steinbrenner, now knowing that it’s Larry David’s voice?) Comparatively, Epstein went straight to the top, and instead of falling on his face, he succeeded! I wasn’t taking the exact same approach; I was hoping to get a higher degree in mathematics, and then get hired by some unsuspecting owner who was blown away with my bogus mathematical theorem ensuring a ring within five years.
But then Epstein quit. Granted, he didn’t blame it on his employer, and he claims he’s not burnt out. But nonetheless, he had our dream job for only three years, and quit. Here’s his depressing statement: “You have to believe in every aspect of the job and the organization and your ability to stay and do the job the right way, with your whole heart and your whole soul. And in the end, it just wasn’t the right fit. It wasn’t right.”
If it only took Theo three years to lose his heart and soul for the job, what hope do the rest of us have? Maybe we’re better off keeping our goals limited to dominating fantasy leagues, and leaving the big leagues to the disenchanted.