SBD/October 26, 2011/Franchises

Red Sox Officially Announce Ben Cherington As New GM, Replacing Theo Epstein

Cherington has worked for Red Sox for last 13 years -- 10 under current ownership
Red Sox yesterday introduced Ben Cherington as the team's 11th GM in a press conference at Fenway Park, according to Gary Dzen of the BOSTON GLOBE. Cherington "takes over during a trying time for the Red Sox organization, but he also takes over for one of the most successful executives in team history," Theo Epstein. Cherington yesterday said, “We’ve let our fans down in some important ways recently. The last few weeks have been painful and difficult. But what I’m left with is an incredible conviction that the Red Sox will be the best organization in baseball.” Cherington, who was joined yesterday by team President & CEO Larry Lucchino, added, “There will be changes” (BOSTON.com, 10/25). Cherington: "The Red Sox will be the best organization in baseball moving forward. I'm convinced of that because I know that John (Henry), Tom (Werner) and Larry care more than any other ownership group" (N.Y. POST, 10/26). MLB.com’s Ian Browne wrote Cherington “had been working tirelessly for the club for the last 13 years -- 10 under the current ownership -- and that was a far bigger proving ground than any other candidate could have had in a job interview.” Lucchino said, “He is the ultimate team player and his hunger for the future success of the Boston Red Sox is second to none. In his quiet way, eschewing the spotlight and the accolades, Ben and the Red Sox organization are inextricably intertwined. I could not at this point in Red Sox history imagine Ben with any other organization and I have trouble imagining the Red Sox without Ben Cherington" (MLB.com, 10/25). In Boston, Peter Abraham lists some things that “stood out” during the press conference, writing, “You can spent hours parsing the words of the Machiavellian Lucchino. But it was interesting to hear him praise Cherington as a team player and somebody who didn't seek the spotlight. Shots, perhaps, at a certain former GM?” (BOSTON.com, 10/25).

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: On Long Island, Anthony Rieber writes Epstein left Cherington “with a PR mess but a world of talent and an organization that before September had been lauded as one of the best in baseball” (NEWSDAY, 10/26). Cherington said that “the parties agreed ‘significant compensation’ was due the Red Sox for Epstein, and they’ve made some progress.” Cherington: “Theo and I will now try to work that out in the coming days, and if we can’t, then we’ll turn it over to the commissioner and let him decide” (USA TODAY, 10/26).

TWO THUMBS UP FOR THE NEW GUY: In Boston, Chad Finn writes the “new guy sure sounds an awful lot like the old guy.” Cherington “owned his press conference, presenting himself as prepared, focused, confident and informed, but with appealing asides of self-effacing humor.” The press conference was “impressive,” and the Red Sox “get a seamless transition to a well-rounded, dedicated executive” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26). Also in Boston, Peter Abraham notes Cherington was “honest in his assessment of various problems and didn’t duck for cover on any questions.” Abraham: “Fans will appreciate that style” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26). The BOSTON GLOBE’s Bob Ryan writes, “The truth is he’s not Epstein, and, for him, that will be a good thing.” Epstein was the “rock-star GM of an iconic franchise,” but Cherington is “a quiet, low-key guy known to this point only by insiders and by a pop culture subset of fans who know that his ex-wife” is ESPN’s Wendi Nix. Lucchino said, “I have seen the effect Ben has on the people he works with. He definitely has the respect and admiration of his co-workers” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).

WHERE WERE HENRY & WERNER? Lucchino, the only member of the Red Sox ownership group to attend yesterday's press conference, said that Henry and Werner were “out of town.” He “cautioned reporters not to read anything into the absences” (N.Y. TIMES, 10/26). ESPN BOSTON’s Gordon Edes wrote, “Finally, some good news on Yawkey Way: One of their own was being promoted to general manager.” But Henry and Werner yesterday “were nowhere to be found,” and that “wasn't the case in 2002 at Theo's coming-out party.” Lucchino said, "I believe they're here in spirit. I suspect they're watching every golden minute of this press conference. One's in California; one's in Florida.” Edes noted Henry and Werner “had four days to clear their schedules for this event,” and it “would have been advisable to show up instead of leaving Cherington and Lucchino to pick up all the pieces.” Cherington acknowledged that as a new GM he “will be relying on collaboration with others, which probably means Lucchino's voice regains some of the prominence it lost when Epstein bolted six years ago and Henry had to lure him back with promises of greater autonomy” (ESPNBOSTON.com, 10/25). The BOSTON GLOBE’s Abraham writes it “seems odd” that Henry and Werner were not in attendance. Given the “public perception of the team these days, Henry should have been there” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).
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