Whether Theo Epstein has as much success as president of the Cubs as he did as general manager of the Red Sox is still to be seen. But the verdict on which storied franchise’s city is easier to live in appears to be in already.
Epstein admitted this week that he had “mixed emotions” as he watched the Red Sox win the 2013 World Series, their first since his front-office work gave the team its first championship in 86 years and two titles between 2004 and 2007. He still clearly has a soft spot for his hometown club — even if life is a lot simpler now that he’s a resident of the Windy City, away from the challenges (and one little rivalry) that came with the Boston job.
“Boston’s a great place to live,” he told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. “In Chicago, it’s easier to blend in. There are more teams, more professional teams around. We’re not exactly the talk of the town right now, so it’s easier to go under the radar. It’s nice.”
Davidoff pointed out that Epstein had a special notoriety in New York, and Epstein’s answer, which touched on exactly why the Red Sox have become such a thorn in Yankees fans’ sides, made it easy to see why.
“It’s funny,” Epstein said of his reputation. “I always enjoyed my interactions. I had a lot of special memories in New York. One was just walking around the city before Game 7 of the ’04 ALCS. Just kind of sensing the unease in town. No one knew we were going to win that night, but walking around, sensing what was happening, it was really fun.”
Epstein said he enjoyed his “back and forth” with Yankees fans — well, minus one part.
“Except for the beers that have been poured on me in the scout section behind home plate,” he said. “But that’s another story.”
He said Yankees fans have told him since he left the Red Sox how much they respected him, and that he now enjoys the rivalry “from a different perspective.”
Yankees fans probably do, too.