No 'I' In Team — But Plenty In Epstein's Farewell

By WGBH News


Oct. 25, 2011
theo epstein in 2007

Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein waves at fans in the happier days of 2007. (Hardnfast/Wikipedia)


BOSTON — Does grammar tell the tale of former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein’s self-interest?
Analyzing Epstein’s farewell letter to the fans that ran as a Boston Globe op-ed on October 25, media critic Dan Kennedy counted 66 uses of the words “I,” “me” and “my” — to only six uses of the word “team.”
(The figure rises to 25 when you add “our,” “ourselves,” “us” and “we.”)
Longtime sportscaster and regular WGBH commentator Bob Lobel thought it was a dead giveaway that Epstein’s departure was motivated by ego.
“That is not okay,” he said in an October 25 conversation with Jared Bowen, guest host of "The Emily Rooney Show." Lobel edits his own opinion columns if he feels he’s overused the first-person singular. The fact that Epstein didn’t edit all that “I” business out — “That’s a red flag,” Lobel said.

Then again, the sportscaster has never been a big Theo fan. Lobel believed Epstein's special treatment from Red Sox Nation was circumstantial. 

“Here’s a local kid, Brookline, great family background. You take that away, he’s just another guy. And if he’s just another guy he did not do a good job here and in no way should he be given credit for the two World Series,” Lobel said.
The first line of the op-ed is “I grew up in Brookline. . . .” 

But Lobel wished Epstein well in his new job — and was interested to see how he would fare: “Now he’s out in Chicago and this will be the real test. The one good thing he’s got working for him, he’s got a new owner that’s got almost as much money as his old owner.“
According to, the Red Sox team salary total was the third highest in Major League Baseball in 2011 at $160 million. The Cubs came in sixth of 30 teams at $126 million.

Meanwhile, new Sox executive vice president and general manager Ben Cherington said in an interview with radio station WEEI that his top priority is finding a manager to replace Terry Francona, who left two days after the Red Sox completed a September collapse that left them out of the playoffs.

He said he planned to start interviewing "serious candidates" as soon as possible, adding, "We’re close to an initial list of candidates and we’ll probably try to start setting up interviews very soon."

Cherington downplayed reports that some pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse during games. "I don’t believe that anybody should be judged by one moment, one action, one incident of behavior, especially when that behavior was perhaps drinking a beer," he said.

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