In Theo We Trust

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox were bought out by a new ownership group. Soon after, the group hired then 28-year old Theo Epstein as the General Manager of the club, much to the pride of my Jewish friends. He was the youngest ever to hold that position, a bright spotlight to endure, made harsher by the fact that the team had not won a World Series in over eighty years.

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended the Curse of the Bambino to win the World Series. Last night, they won their second World Series. A once struggling franchise is suddenly the shining jewel of Major League Baseball.

Which brings me around to my point: the biggest determinant of success for a professional sports team over the long run is not its players, its coaches, nor its fans. Rather, it's the front office.  The Sacramento Kings were perennial bottom dwellers before the Maloof family bought them.  Similarly, Mark Cuban made the Dallas Mavericks championship contenders.  Under Jack Kent Cooke's ownership, the Washington Redskins won three Super Bowls.  They're barely playoff worthy in the Daniel Snyder era.

Back in early 2004, before the Sox won their first, I predicted,

This isn't the same franchise as it was five years ago. Young Theo Epstein is ambitious and driven. He's going to bring the city a World Series win it has longed for so many years. Entire generations have come and gone since the Sox won it all. I hear co-workers lament this fact all the time - "Yeah, my uncle Todd lived and died and never saw the Sox win". Sometime in the next five years, if not this season, the Sox will win the whole thing. I guarantee it. In Theo we trust.

With the youth on the team and the record of personnel decisions Epstein has shown so far, the Red Sox will be in the title hunt for many, many years to come.

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