Theo Epstein is very meticulous — both in his baseball decisions and how he handles the media. So when the Cubs president of baseball operations was asked to discuss the Stanley Cup Final, he chose his words wisely.
Epstein grew up in Brookline, Mass., and had an illustrious run as general manager of the Red Sox. It’d be understandable if his allegiance was solely with the Bruins, who are ready to take on the Chicago Blackhawks for hockey’s ultimate prize. If Epstein admitted such, however, it would open up a can of worms in Chicago, where he’s currently trying to rebuild the Cubs. Thus, we all received a rather noncommittal response.
“I’m going to cop out one way or another, right?” Epstein said of the Bruins-Blackhawks Stanley Cup Final, according to CSNChicago.com. “I’m just going for a great series.”
Ah, the old “great series” response. It’s the most boring answer you could possibly receive, but it’s also a wise response from a man who needs to play both sides. Epstein didn’t hide his roots completely, though, as he clearly recognizes his history as a Boston sports fan.
“It’s kind of a pattern with me and Boston sports,” Epstein reportedly said. “I liked all those teams better when they weren’t winning — or I liked them the most when they weren’t winning.
“It’s like [with] the Bruins — I was a huge fan growing up and they could never beat the Canadiens. And then finally [goalie] Reggie Lemelin got hot one playoff series and they knocked off the Canadians and went to the Stanley Cup finals against the Oilers. When they lost [to the Oilers], I had to see the Cup skated around the Boston Garden ice. That wasn’t fun.”
The Bruins are obviously in the midst of a great stretch. Between the 2011 Stanley Cup victory and this year’s run, B’s fans have had a lot to cheer about. It isn’t going to be easy to take down the Blackhawks, though, and Epstein — like everyone else — is gearing up for a battle.
“That was great for the Bruins when they won a couple years ago and by then I was pretty much focused on Red Sox stuff,” Epstein told CSNChicago.com. “But Original Six hockey is fantastic, so this series is going to be something else. The passion for the Hawks in town here reminds me a lot of the way it is for the B’s in Boston. It’s going to be a heck of a series.”
Epstein admitted that some friends from Boston have threatened to fly out to Chicago in order to “drag” him to a game. Perhaps that situation will tell us a little bit more about his rooting interest.