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updated: 10/12/2011 2:59 PM

Sports world agog over Epstein deal

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  • As a security guard closed a gate at Fenway Park in Boston after the Red Sox missed the playoffs, another entrance apparently was opening in Chicago for Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to join the Cubs.

      As a security guard closed a gate at Fenway Park in Boston after the Red Sox missed the playoffs, another entrance apparently was opening in Chicago for Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to join the Cubs.
    Associated Press


It's not just Cubs Nation that is buzzing about the apparent signing of Theo Epstein to a 5-year deal to run the team.

The entire baseball world is agog about it.

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Here's a sample of what people are talking about:

Optimistic view

"There are no guarantees in life, but there is reason to be optimistic about Epstein's chances to turn the Cubs into a winner. Why? Because many of the same challenges he faced when he took over the Red Sox exist with the Cubs.

Epstein is very familiar with the overall milieu in which the Cubs currently find themselves. When he took over in Boston he inherited a franchise with a dispirited and fatalistic fan base and a team which called a near-dilapidated ballpark home. He changed the mood soon after he arrived and helped change the narrative as ownership embarked on substantial ballpark renovations. No, you can't credit Theo Epstein with all of that ... but Epstein knows what faces the Cubs in this regard."

-- Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports

No guarantees

"If Epstein doesn't win with the Cubs, it doesn't wreck his career. Heck, Branch Rickey never won anything with the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he worked after his St. Louis Cardinals and Brooklyn Dodgers days, and he's in the Hall of Fame.

If Epstein does win with the Cubs, he gets stamped into the history books as the man who took not one, but two historically tortured franchises and brought them to the winner's circle."

-- Steve Buckley, Boston Herald

Price to pay

"#Cubs won me over when they sent me a new gorilla suit lined with $100 bills, a ticket to O'Hare & map to Wrigley."

--TheIneptstein (Inept Theo Epstein) via Twitter

Chicago isn't Boston

"This would not be the first time in recent memory that the Cubs have hired a young, hotshot GM, who had won two World Series with another club, for such a position. In 1994, Chicago hired Andy MacPhail as president and CEO of the Cubs after he led the Minnesota Twins to two titles. He was 41 years old at the time, which is just four years older than Epstein is now. In 12 years at the helm, MacPhail got the Cubs as close as five outs from the World Series but unfortunately never hoisted the trophy.

Epstein might change that, but he should know that, contrary to popular belief, the Cubs' job is not as plum as one would expect."

-- Jim Bowden, ESPN

Escape from Beantown

"I think if Epstein leaves the Red Sox, it will be for more money, and for the chance to make moves without checking first with Larry Lucchino, and for the chance to escape the crushing pressure of the Everestian expectations that he, of course, has helped create.

People who think Theo Epstein can't leave are projecting ... He's making good money, he's guiding his favorite team in his hometown ... How could anyone leave that situation? If I were him, I certainly wouldn't leave.

Except you're not him. And if you were him, you might be ready for a new challenge with a new team in a new town."

-- Rob Neyer, Baseball Nation

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