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Boston's Epstein can't throw strikes

Has this really become a big story in Boston? Nick Cafardo:

    The general manager was seen at the Pearl Jam concert at TD Garden Monday night, which led some to question where his priorities are. Well, relax.

    Criticize [Theo] Epstein, if you must, for his team construction, his moves (or lack thereof), but please, spending two hours at a Pearl Jam concert makes you angry?

    Granted, it probably wasn’t the best timing, given that the Sox suffered the worst loss of what has been a very frustrating season. But this isn’t like the days when former Twins GM Howard Fox would walk into manager Ray Miller’s office and ask, “How’d we do last night?’"

    --snip--

    Since spring training, Epstein has not taken one day off. He works virtually around the clock, and even at the concert, Epstein had his phone on, getting briefings and updates. So what’s the problem?

    Asked about going to the concert, Epstein would not comment.

I'll take it a step farther. While Cafardo is right -- it's utterly ridiculous to criticize Epstein for (sort of) taking a few hours off -- I would argue that he should be encouraged to take more time off. Won't he be better in July if he's well-rested, maybe followed Eddie Vedder around the Midwest leg of the tour for a whole weekend?

I would make this argument more strenuously if Epstein hadn't been essentially working around the clock for the past eight years with no obvious signs of burnout (unless you count that time he quit for a few weeks, but I think that was less about burnout than negotiating). Still, if I'm John Henry, I'm encouraging my (still) wunderkind to enjoy life maybe just a little bit more (and I'll bet you a shiny silver dollar that John Henry has occasionally done exactly that).

With a little luck (and time), the idiots ripping Epstein will achieve Enlightenment and forget all about this (and perhaps the Red Sox, too, but let's not get ahead of ourselves).

Anyway, after dispensing with this particular molehill, Cafardo goes on to analyze the Red Sox's real problems: They're in fourth place and they've been outscored. Obviously, you can't blame the hitting, as the Sox are third in the league in scoring, even though Victor Martinez and Jeremy Hermida both have sub-.300 slugging percentages.

Of course, the Red Sox also have the worst ERA in the American League. Let that sink in for a moment. Then recall that last winter one of the most popular stories in the Wonderful World of Baseball Literature was that the Red Sox had -- foolishly, some said -- forsaken run production for run prevention. Remember that?

"No battle plan survives contact with the enemy" is obviously an exaggeration, and certainly not a prescription for having no plan at all. But it's amazing and wonderful, isn't it, just how difficult this game can be to figure?