Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Boston Red Sox

HOME

RED SOX MISC | SCOTT SAUERBECK #47 | AUDIO AND VIDEO | TERRY FRANCONA | FRONT OFFICE | WALLY THE GREEN MONSTER | THEO EPSTEIN | CURT SCHILLING #38 | THE HOUSE OF LAUGHS | Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) | Portland Sea Dogs (AA) | Sarasota Red Sox (A) | Augustus GreenJackets (A) | Lowell Spinners (A) | Gulf Coast Red Sox (R) | LOU MERLONI #13 | WRITE TO YOUR FAVORITE PLAYER | Arizona Fall League | JOHNNY DAVID DAMON #18 | EUKY ROJAS #54 | ANTHONY NOMAR GARCIAPARRA #5 | OTHER RED SOX NEWS | TROT NIXON #7 | JASON VARITEK #33 | MANNY RAMIREZ #24 | PEDRO MARTINEZ #45 | HISTORY OF THE RED SOX | RED SOX HALL OF FAME | YEAR BY YEAR RESULTS | ALL TIME PLAYER ROSTER | RETIRED NUMBERS | ALL TIME PLAYER ROSTER | DAVID ORTIZ #34 | KEVIN MILLAR #15 | BILL MUELLER #11 | DEREK LOWE #32 | TIM WAKEFIELD #49 | DOUG MIRABELLI #28 | ALAN EMBREE #43 | MIKE TIMLIN #50 | MIKE CUBBAGE #39 | RON "PAPA" JACKSON #22 | JERRY NARRON #41 | BYUNG-HYUN KIM #51 | JASON SHIELL #57 | SCOTT WILLIAMSON #48 | DAMIAN JACKSON #2 | DALLAS WILLIAMS #20 | DAVE WALLACE #37 | DANA LAVANGIE #60 | JIM ROWE | CHRIS CORRENTI | CHANG-HO LEE | Game Reports | Standings/Schedule/Stats | Favorite Players | Photo Album | Mailbag | Related Links | Contact Me
THEO EPSTEIN

 BOSTON RED SOX GENERAL MANAGER

theo1.jpg

THEO EPSTEIN CHAT


"Why are we fiscally responsible? Not because we are cheap; we are not. Not because we are afraid of large commitments; we are not. Not because we would rather pursue non-tenders or particularly enjoy reading through thousands of minor league free agent reports instead; we don't (well, maybe sometimes). Quite simply, we are fiscally responsible because the alternative would be a disaster. Fiscal irresponsibility is the single quickest way to hamstring a franchise for a decade."


Thursday February 6, 2003 - 7:30pm - 9:15pm:

from Philly Sox Fan:

I don't believe there is currently such a thing as a "$100M player development machine." Could you provide some specifics to explain how you'll develop that machine - from scouting (draft and international), to signing budget (will the amateur budget change dramatically from year to year depending on payroll and other factors or will that be a dedicated budget item?) to minor league instruction, to how often you'll you hope to integrate young players into the major league roster? It will take at least three or four years to get to where you want to be - what kind of progress should we be able to see in a year or two?

Theo Epstein:

Our goal for player development and scouting is to develop a constant flow of impact talent through our farm system. Reaching this goal would have tremendous benefits:

1) We would have access to impact young talent for our major league club. Talented young players are more likely to stay healthy and are more likely to improve than older players, both good things.

2) We would have access to inexpensive young talent for our major league club, allowing us more resources with which to address our other needs.

3) We would have the solid organizational depth needed to address injuries and poor performance at the big league level.

4) We would have a surplus of prospects, allowing us more flexibility to address holes on the big league club through trades.

5) We would all have added pride in the Red Sox uniform, having developed our own major league talent from the bottom up.

How do we get there? I'll try to answer this thoroughly but also generally to avoid compromising any competitive advantage. (For example, if I indicated that we were going to spend $6 million every year on the draft, I'd be handing the agents way too much information. If beat writers read Sons of Sam Horn, so do agents, I'm sure.)

It starts with the draft. We are committed to finding the best available talent every year (sorry, I know that means nothing, but I have to say it... it's in the GM manual). In general, we look for low-risk, high-reward players. We make no secret about our belief that college players represent lower risks than high school players while offering comparable rewards. That said, we will not shy away from taking the right high school players, especially position players, in the appropriate round. In general, we want college players with tools, but we also want to find the college players who have good make-ups and those who have track records of consistent quality performance.

"In an ideal world, we would love middle-of-the-diamond athletes who have plate discipline and power as well as power pitchers with pitchability, command and clean arm action. Usually, these players are only available at the top of the draft. As the draft develops, we make judgment calls, balancing tools, track records, projectability, makeup and signability."

In an ideal world, we would love middle-of-the-diamond athletes who have plate discipline and power as well as power pitchers with pitchability, command and clean arm action. Usually, these players are only available at the top of the draft. As the draft develops, we make judgment calls, balancing tools, track records, projectability, makeup and signability. I shouldn't go into further detail, except to say that we have a game plan and we know what we're looking for. All of our scouts came to Boston for our organizational meetings in December and we developed a game-plan, a philosophy on how we were going to scout and how we were going to attack the draft. Now it's just a matter of doing it. We were disciplined this off-season and are thrilled to have four picks in the first 54. If we draft well, two or three of our top college picks could be at AA as soon as 2004, making a real impact on our system.

With our emphasis on college players in the draft, we will rely on our international program to supply the best 17-year-old talent available... and lots of it. There is so much talent concentrated in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela that it is possible to get both quantity and quality at a reasonable price. (Scouting 17-year-olds is fairly imprecise, so volume is important). If you sign enough promising players, you'll find a Hanley Ramirez for $22,000 or a Denny Tussen for $16,000 or a Juan Cedeno for $30,000. We also will pursue the higher profile players when appropriate (Aneudis Mateo for $400,000), but our emphasis will be on signing lots of promising players to turn over to development. We will also pursue the right talent in other markets, including Asia, although our focus is in Latin America.

I should make another quick point. When we talk about risk-aversion and prudent spending and $22,000 investments instead of $2,200,000 investments, the point isn't to be cheap or pocket the money. The point is to produce players and get value for our dollars where we can, so that when it's time to let it fly for the big investment at the top of the draft or the high-profile international stud, we have the money available. We spend a lot of money on the draft and a lot of money internationally, but it only works if you make wise investments. If you draft high-risk players year-in and year-out or throw all your international money into one multi-million dollar signing, the results usually are not good. For us, the preferred approach is to focus on the best talent and the best investments to get the most out of our considerable resources, allowing us to go "all in" when the right opportunity presents itself. This is our approach to talent acquisition and we are committed to it.

I'm running low on time, so I'll be more general with respect to player development. All I will say is that we finally have an organizational philosophy -- a Red Sox way of doing things -- and, after a major overhaul of the field staff, we finally have the right people in place for implementation. I'll protect the company secrets, but I think it's well known that we care a lot about the strike zone, both for hitters and pitchers. One of the keys to unlocking a player's potential is helping him to control the strike zone. We will work long and hard to get the best out our minor league players and turn out as many prospects as possible. We will be not be afraid to try new methods, nor will we abandon proven methods. If there's someone out there who will help us develop a player, we will hire him. If there's something out there that will help us develop a player, we will buy it. Period. It's that important.

As for your other questions, the signing bonus budget will fluctuate year to year but will be very considerable every year. One of the best ways to capitalize on our large-market status and vast resources is to spend wisely and spend big on amateur talent. It's impossible to predict how many young players will reach the big leagues every year, but we hope they come in waves. I hope, within a year or two, that you will see obvious signs of progress in the quantity and quality of our prospects. The real results will not show for three or four years.


from DieHard3:

With each of the high-profile players the Red Sox failed to sign this off-season there was perhaps a unique set of circumstances. However, taken together, it looks like the club's negotiating strategy was to offer fewer years and less dollars than the agents/players were seeking in the hopes that the price would later fall. Do you consider "fiscal responsibility" and "payroll flexibility" ends in themselves, or are they a means to enable you to overpay in order to either "win now" or secure the rights to the "perfect ballplayer?"

Theo Epstein:

In my opinion, "fiscal responsibility" and "payroll flexibility" are not ends in themselves, but they are more than just a means to enable us to "overpay" in order to "win now." They are part of a comprehensive plan designed to turn the Red Sox into a championship organization.

Why are we fiscally responsible? Not because we are cheap; we are not. Not because we are afraid of large commitments; we are not. Not because we would rather pursue non-tenders or particularly enjoy reading through thousands of minor league free agent reports instead; we don't (well, maybe sometimes). Quite simply, we are fiscally responsible because the alternative would be a disaster. Fiscal irresponsibility is the single quickest way to hamstring a franchise for a decade. You don't have to look long and hard to find examples of the dire consequences caused by two or three bad contracts, by two or three times when you give in to the "win now" temptation and end up with a bloated roster and no way out.

We are fiscally responsible and we value payroll flexibility because we trust our ability to evaluate talent. Our attitude is: give us a talented core and some flexibility and let us go to work. The more talented the core and the more flexibility we have, the better off we will be. Injuries and down-turns in performance will be more manageable if we have flexibility.

There's no such thing as the perfect ballplayer, but there is such a thing as the perfect fit. When the right fit comes along, we will stretch ourselves (and have stretched ourselves) to acquire the player. That said, we think we have a handle on a player's value to our club, and we won't do something that doesn't make sense just to make a splash.

One more point to consider when assessing our perceived strategy, there are literally hundreds of factors that go into player evaluations and negotiations. Of those factors, we can probably only discuss a small fraction with the mainstream media. I wish I could share all of our thinking, all of the facts with our fans, but that would be inappropriate in certain instances and would compromise our ability to compete. I think our beat writers are terrific. Just keep in mind that, sometimes, (as Neil Young says) there's more to the picture than meets the eye.


from Yecul:

Regarding Contreras and Colon... the Red Sox, having such a public and high profile pursuit of these two guys, seemed to cause the Yankee organization to flex the necessary financial muscle to keep them from landing in Boston. Do you think mistakes were made, or that a more subtle approach might have worked better -- or at least distilled some of the reaction to not getting a starter? And, of course the cynic would say that these were empty pursuits for PR purposes as the talks were rather public and widely known, but ultimately fruitless. How would you respond to those claims?

Theo Epstein:

There's no doubt that management of our confidential information and management of our PR are issues. It's always better to play your cards close to the vest. This off-season, for whatever reason, our intentions have been too public. We are taking steps to ensure that we improve in this area.

"This off-season, for whatever reason, our intentions have been too public. We are taking steps to ensure that we improve in this area."

Regarding Contreras and Colon, we had interest. That is clear.


from WSD:

Given the stated emphasis of this administration on scouting and player development, is it a stated intention of the organization to keep the
nucleus of Major League All Stars together on the major league payroll past 2004 (Pedro, Manny, Nomar, Lowe)? If this is the intention, will you put forth best efforts to sign these players before the end of the 2004 season and, given your current financial projections and the expected demand for these players services in the open market, is it realistic for fans to believe you can be successful in these efforts?

Theo Epstein:

As we discussed above, part of our long-term strategy involves keeping the great players that we already have. Of course, our goal is to retain all of these players. That said, negotiations do not take place in a vacuum, and a lot can change over a year or two.

As we discussed above, part of our long-term strategy involves keeping the great players that we already have. Of course, our goal is to retain all of these players. That said, negotiations do not take place in a vacuum, and a lot can change over a year or two.


from Nick Esasky:
Considering the state that the farm system is currently in (although I don't think it's near as bad as the media likes to try and convince us), should we expect to see more college picks in next summer's draft to try and get some prospects into the higher levels sooner? Also considering that historically good college players tend to be more proven and have a lower attrition rate than high school players.

Theo Epstein:

I pretty much answered that one above, but I like your thinking.


You covered a lot of bases with your answer to the first question...

from BigMike:

Given that there have been indications that the Sox will be implementing a more statistics based evaluation of minor league players, how much do you value traditional tool scouting as a part of minor league player evaluation? What do you consider the most important pure TOOL for a hitter? and for a pitcher?

Theo Epstein:

That's a good question. For players in the rookie leagues and the lower levels, we focus more on traditional scoutings and tools. As the player rises through the minors, we shift our emphasis towards performance and statistical evaluation. When a player reaches AA, we balance these two schools of evaluation 50-50... and it more or less remains that way.

I can cop out and say the most important tool for a hitter is plate discipline. If you insist on one of the traditional five tools, my answer would be hitting and hitting for power.

For a pitcher, as far as tools go, we focus on command and arm strength. The real essence of a pitcher's ability cannot be expressed using just tools.

"I can cop out and say the most important tool for a hitter is plate discipline. If you insist on one of the traditional five tools, my answer would be hitting and hitting for power. For a pitcher, as far as tools go, we focus on command and arm strength. The real essence of a pitcher's ability cannot be expressed using just tools."


from Harry Hooper:

Can you provide us with some details about the Sox scouting of opponents in 2003: who will be doing this, how much will be carried out in person vs. videotape, how far in advance before a series, what sorts of materials will be prepared for Grady and the team?

Theo Epstein:

We will combine live advance scouting, video advance scouting, and statistical advance scouting. Dave Jauss is our advance man in the stands, while Galen Carr does the video and statistical analysis. We also use outside statistical resources.

We actually just purchased some new software that should help Galen and Dave provide even more thorough information for Grady et al. I could tell you exactly what we prepare for Grady, but I'd have to kill you.


How about a hacker to scramble Yankee data?

from possumbait:

One of the recent developments at Baseball Prospectus has been to embrace the work of Will Carroll and others who have thought about integrating
health issues into player development and evaluation. I think it is fair to say that Mr. Carroll feels that team trainers and staff are an underrated component of successful organizations in baseball. I personally have wondered why MRI's, costing only thousands a pop, are not routinely administered to organization pitchers before and after every season, especially since investments in these people run into the millions and more. Have you had a chance to consider, or even implement, a program to update Red Sox physical training practices?

Theo Epstein:

Yes, but I can't get into the details. (This might be a theme of the chat; I'm sorry.)

I can share that we are spending lots of time, energy and manpower investigating different ways to keep our pitchers healthy. Even an incremental improvement would make a tremendous impact on our organization.


from Eric Van:

The statheads among us completely understand why you think Giambi, Walker, Mueller, Ortiz, and (fingers crossed!) Millar were desirable acquisitions, and for the most part we heartily agree. We are much more in the dark about why you chose Mike Timlin and Ramiro Mendoza from the large crop of FA pitchers. Timlin, for instance, seemed to be "lucky" last year, according to Voros McCracken's insights into pitching (which we know Bill James is familiar with). Can you tell us something about your thinking regarding these two?

Theo Epstein:

Thanks for the question Eric.

For you stats-guys (just kidding), strikeout rate is a terrific indicator of future performance. We always look for guys like Chad Fox who have the chance to dominate and keep the ball out of play. They are very difficult to come by.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Groundball pitchers who have had consistent results are also attractive commodities. Both Mendoza and Timlin are incredibly consistent, posting good year after good year, and they are both able to pitch multiple innings.

It's hard to find the perfect reliever.... you want to jump on the good ones at the right price. It helps to discover one as a MLFA and such, too. Notice the K-rates of our MLFA signings.


Lanternjaw:

Considering the relative dearth of proven bullpen arms in this year's free agent pool, why did the Red Sox seem so willing to let Urbina go his own way? Timlin, Mendoza and Fox could surprise us and provide what Urbina did in 2002 but they all come with inherent risks -- why didn't the club just stick with the known quantity instead of gambling?

"We like Urbina. We wanted Urbina. Based on his arbitration value, Urbina would have cost $7 million next year. We made him an offer that was very competitive, and he chose to test the free agent waters, as was his right. For the price of one closer, we have acquired three or four (including Rupe) relievers who should really stabilize our pen."

Theo Epstein:

We like Urbina. We wanted Urbina. Based on his arbitration value, Urbina would have cost $7 million next year. We made him an offer that was very competitive, and he chose to test the free agent waters, as was his right.

For the price of one closer, we have acquired three or four (including Rupe) relievers who should really stabilize our pen.


from Kiss My Aase:

Some people, you included I believe, expect Jeremy Giambi to have a breakout season, which seems predicated on him being in the best shape of his life. So is he? Have you received reports recently (i.e. in the past couple weeks) about his off-season conditioning? Do you know how it compares to his conditioning at this time in past seasons?

Theo Epstein:

Kiss My Aase (no thanks):

That question is a John Dopson thigh-high sinker.

Giambi has been working exceptionally hard at the Athlete Performance Institute in Tempe, AZ. They focus on athlete-specific conditioning, core strength, flexibility, balance and progressive-conditioning. Nomar, Walker, Giambi, Shea, Merloni, Sanchez and Youkilis were all at the API. They've gotten great results in the past.

Giambi is in the best shape of his life and will be on the field in Ft. Myers on Feb. 11, eight days early.


from Felix Mantilla:

Regarding platoons, what are you feelings about platooning at the catcher position? Is it different than platooning at another position? Some on this board have argued that a pitcher should throw to whomever he is more comfortable with. Others argue that the better hitter should be in the lineup. How do you come down on this argument? And how should this shake out with this year's Sox team

Theo Epstein:

Felix,

Great question.

I can cop out and say that when you have two plus defensive catchers, that allows you to go with the best hitter for the situation. In general, platooning with catchers presents complications not found with other positions. My philosophy is to get two guys you trust to handle your staff, and go with the best bat.

Where are all the minor league questions? I'd kill for a Tyler Pelland question right about now.


from DieHard3:

How about the question Gordon Edes posed to us? Do you feel that the Red Sox have any obligation to consider the concerns of the other teams in baseball when it comes to negotiating contracts or setting your payroll?

Theo Epstein:

I think the same thing all the time.... just kidding, Gordon

Our primary concern is for advancing our own position. Our secondary concern is the overall good of the game.


Red Sox Dirt Dog:

Some folks have questioned Larry Lucchino's role in the Red Sox front office and see no need for a management layer between you and John Henry. What can you say about Larry's contribution to the baseball operations side of the business and specifically how does he help you perform at your best as GM of the team?

Theo Epstein:

Actually, Larry is great for us in that he raises the bar. He forces you to defend your opinions and your actions. Contrary to what a lot of people have written, Larry does not consider himself a scout or a GM. He brings a certain standard, a certain process, and a certain way of thinking to the table... all are invaluable.


from Dan Rosenthal:

Was it the opportunity to get 2 top picks that convinced the RS to not pursue Floyd in earnest, or was it questions regarding his willingness/ability to play 1B and or health/injury concerns?

"Millar? Millar who?"

Theo Epstein:

Dan Rosenthal... did I go to school with you?

All factors contributed to our decision. Again, if we sign both Floyd and Urbina, we would not have been able to address all of our other problems.


from Tim Wescott:

It has been said time and time again that it is an 'unwritten rule' that a team will not place a waiver claim on somebody when they are destined for Japan. While I (and I'm sure many others) agree with what you did regarding Millar; knowing such a move was sure to ruffle some feathers, did you get opinions from those outside the organization as well as inside before you made the claim? And if so, what kind of feedback did you get?

Red Sox Dirt Dog: Theo, in follow-up to the Tim Wescott question:

Anything you can share with us now on the ongoing Millar drama, chapter 21?

Theo Epstein:

Millar? Millar who?

Lanternjaw:

re: Millar... c'mon, nobody is gonna read this silly website (SoSH :-).


from Cuzittt:

There has been some question about Ryan Rupe in regards to whether he has a minor league option left. Does he? Additionally, are there any players that a normal fan would be surprised to learn does have minor league options left?

Theo Epstein:

Rupe has two options left, but then again, Manny has all of his left too....


from Rough Corrigan:

Theo, Have you ever seen the Ebay listing under the search term "red sox tickets"? On Thursday, January 30, 2003, there were 161 listings for Sox tickets on Ebay, dozens of these already specified sections and row numbers. Only season ticket holders could know that and be supplying the tickets at that time. Will the club take a more active stance like the Patriots and do something about this?

Theo Epstein:

I want all of our fans to be happy, and I think our policies should be shaped accordingly. Unfortunately, I'm the wrong person to ask about ticket policies. I don't get involved... and they don't want me involved. I'll pass on your concerns.

Thanks.

"On the defense, I think the only question mark is first base. Jauss liked Ortiz in a work-out. Giambi has been taking throws from Nomar in Tempe. We'll see."


another one from Kiss My Aase:

With the 1999 ALCS still searing our brains, do you feel that this team, as currently constructed, is solid enough defensively to win tight playoff
games?

Theo Epstein:

On the defense, I think the only question mark is first base. Jauss liked Ortiz in a work-out. Giambi has been taking throws from Nomar in Tempe. We'll see.

All teams are collections of strengths and weaknesses.


from jmcc5400:

After the Sox trounce the Yanks in the divisional race and the 2003 ALCS, what piece of George Steinbrenner's office furniture is most susceptible to breakage?

Theo Epstein:

Gosh jmcc5400, you've practically teed this one up for me. This is one time when being a GM sucks... I have to pass.


Theo Epstein:

Okay, the minor leagues:

I think we're safe on the age front, but we won't know until spring training. I'm planning to report at age 42.

Montalbano and Gabbard are 100 percent full-go for ST, both having thrown off a mound in Florida already. Pena was healthy throughout his DR winter-ball. Crawford is still recovering from back surgery and is an unsigned MLFA.

Lew Ford.... Terry Ryan wouldn't want me to tamper.

We're thin in A-ball OF. We signed a few MLFA to hold the fort. Goss, D. Brown, Boran, Stone and Bowman should all see time in the Augusta OF. At Sarasota, Seiber, Money, David Callahan (a MLFA), and even Carlos Aleman may seem time out there. Concepcion will play 3B and 1B when he's not catching.

"Hanley can play short. His arm, when he lets it go, is a 55, but he doesn't show it all the time. His attitude is actually great... loves baseball, wants to play, plays with a smile.... it was just a little too much too soon for him, but he's fine now."

Hanley can play short. His arm, when he lets it go, is a 55, but he doesn't show it all the time. His attitude is actually great... loves baseball, wants to play, plays with a smile.... it was just a little too much too soon for him, but he's fine now.

DSL: Melvin Reyes, Luis Herrera, Julio Valdez, Elpidio Hilario, Sal Paniagua, Alex Penalo, and Edwin Boitel.

VSL: Anibal Sanchez, Julio Blanco, Jose Guanchez, Dernier Orosco, Fernando Veracierto.

Rule 5 guys: you don't want to start the clock too early on these guys; we hope to get them both back.

Of the 02 draft guys, Priola, Villereal, Maclane, Concepcion, Goss, Boran, and Stone have the best shot, but we're a long way from Opening Day and it's wide open

Penalo will play at 19, has great hands and actions, and is very projectable. Reyes will now play at 21 years old and he has some pop for a 2B.

Thanks for all the questions.... see you at Fenway.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THEO
 

Sox Young GM Has Diverse Background

Printable version
E-mail this story to a friend

BOSTON -- Long before Theo Epstein was born, the phrase that describes his challenge as the youngest general manager in baseball history was written in a screenplay by two of his relatives.

"Here's looking at you, kid," grandfather Phillip and grand-uncle Julius Epstein wrote in "Casabalanca." Now, Theo is the kid being looked at very closely by passionate Boston Red Sox
fans.

What, they ask, will he do to bring the team its first World Series title since 1918?

How, they wonder, did this clean-cut prodigy who grew up a mile from Fenway Park and doesn't turn 29 until three days before the new year, get to the point where he can decide the futures of Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra, free agents after the 2004 season?

A home video of Theo in Central Park is a clue to how it all began and where it would lead. Not yet 5 years old, he is shown hitting a wiffle ball with a bat.

"Crowds used to gather and kind of watch, so I think maybe I did peak at about age 4, baseball-wise," he told The Associated Press in an interview at Fenway Park. "So it was a huge amount of my life early on."

His parents, who moved from the Upper West Side of New York when Theo was 41/2, still have the video in the home where he grew up in the Boston suburb of Brookline. They also have the Oscar statuette awarded for the "Casablanca" screenplay.

"The academy award, which actually rests in the den at my parent's place, represents our grandfather and our great uncle. So nothing would ever trump that," he said. "But I think we can make room for a World Series trophy."

Breaking a streak of no championships that began 55 years before he was born may seem like wishful thinking to often-disappointed Red Sox fans. But Epstein has been hooked on baseball for most of his life.

"If my mom wanted to go vacuum or do some housework and leave me occupied, she would turn on the baseball game and that would be it for a couple of hours," Epstein said. "My dad tells stories of
me early on aligning the defense in the outfield" of televised games.

He played baseball and soccer in high school but was much more than a jock.

His father Leslie, a Rhodes Scholar, was a professor at Queens College before becoming head of the creative writing department at Boston University. One of dad's household rules: For each minute of television Theo and his twin brother Paul watched, they must read for a minute.
"I was angry about it at the time but I'm pretty happy about it now," Theo said. "We read most of the classics by the time we were through with elementary school. I also learned how to cheat the system.

"I'd lock myself in a room with a book and riffle through the pages for a couple of hours and I could watch the Red Sox games"  at the same time.

Just the kind of mental agility that would help him in academic and social circles.

His grandfather's movie "was just sort of a neat part of family history that I could use to meet girls," he said, "and a great source of pride."

About two years ago, he took up rhythm guitar, which he now plays in a band that practices in a friend's basement.

Epstein went to Yale, where he was sports editor of the school newspaper, the University of San Diego, where he got a law degree and the start to a career in baseball when he got a stint in 1992 as a summer media relations intern with the Baltimore Orioles.

While there, he organized a tribute to players in the Negro Leagues.

He was an intern for two more years, then moved to the Padres where he spent three more years in media relations. In 1998, he became a baseball operations assistant and in 2000, baseball operations director with San Diego.

"This was not your average intern," said Red Sox vice president Charles Steinberg, who hired Epstein in San Diego.

J.P. Ricciardi saw that and, when hew was named general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, he wanted to name Epstein his assistant GM. But Epstein wanted to be available if the Red Sox called.

When Larry Lucchino, who had been president of the Padres, was part of the group that bought the Red Sox in February, he brought Epstein with him as assistant general manager.

"It will be clear to you over time that this is a gifted person with a real opportunity to have a profound impact on this franchise," Lucchino said.

Epstein immerses himself in details. With the Padres, one of his tasks was to learn every team's depth chart of prospects from top to bottom. He would scout hundreds of games and put in countless hours of work.

With the Red Sox, he encourages input. He'll get plenty from a group of experienced aides, including former GMs. He already has helped develop a plan to build the farm system, add players to the major-league roster and proceed aggressively -- but, at times, cautiously if the price for a player is too high.

"There's going to be a lot of pressure to go for the quick fix," he said. "If that means sacrificing more of the future than we're willing to do, we have to remain disciplined and pass on a
potential quick fix."

Epstein is confident he can handle fan scrutiny. He's already deflected cynics who suggest he's just a Lucchino puppet. "I laugh at people who call me sort of a yes-man for Larry or who claim that I'm beholden to Larry in any way," he said. "I wish they could see some of our discussions. We really go at it."

That's hardly surprising for a kid who, before his tenth birthday, would go with his father and brother to Fenway Park where his twin would take along some reading material. "By the third inning, Paul would be reading "Highlights" magazine," Theo said. "I would be keeping score for the whole nine innings." (AP)

Enter supporting content here