Fantasy Baseball: Theo Epstein's farewell scene if written by grandfather Julius
Reports from WEEI radio and ESPN.com state that, as had been rumoured, GM Theo Epstein will be leaving Red Sox Nation for the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and the Cubs with a job title yet to be determined. The news, floated since the end of the regular season, was first reported on WEEI, with added details on Wednesday from the Herald, the Globe and ESPN.com http://es.pn/rqWAZ0
Expected compensation from the Cubs will be in the form of minor-league prospects.
We now present as a public service from north of the border, utilizing oodles of literary licence, a re-enactment of Theo's departure. This tongue-in-cheek script is designed to bring a smile and help ease the pain of Red Sox Nation whose fans have seen a collapse of unprecedented proportions, the firing of a manager, alleged clubhouse in-game partying with beer and fried chicken and the premature departure of a homegrown GM.
Readers are asked to take into account that Theo's grandfather Julius J. Epstein, a Boston native, was credited as the screenwriter on Humphrey Bogart's classic wartime movie Casablanca. Thus, with all due credit to grandpa Julius here is a totally fictional re-enactment of what could have been Theo's emotional departure from Boston, the town he grew up in, the ballpark he called home and the team he had been in charge of for nine years, including two World Series wins. The Cubs of course have a lengthy World Series drought of their own since '08 over a century ago that they expect Epstein to help end.
The stolen scenes adapted from the movie are the famously misquoted "Play it again, Sam" in Rick's cafe and "Here's looking at you" on the tarmac at the Casablanca airport.
This fictional re-enactment begins with an emotional Epstein accompanied at Fenway Park by fellow philanthropist, accomplished musician, Hall-of-Fame baseball writer and “Hot Stove, Cool Music” guitarist, the iconic Peter Gammons. The last character arriving onto the scene of this opening act is Sox vice-chairman Larry Lucchino... ACTION ...
[an emotional Theo and Peter stand on Fenway warning track looking out at the Green Monster]
Theo: Play it once, Gam. For old times' sake.
Peter: [lying] I don't know what you mean, Theo.
Theo: Play it, Gam. Play "Sweet Caroline."
Peter: [lying] Oh, I can't remember it, Theo. I'm a little rusty on it.
Theo: I'll hum it for you. Hummm-humm-hm-hm..hum-hum-hmhmhm-hmhm
[Peter begins playing]
Theo: Sing it, Gam.
Peter: [singing] Swee-et Caroline, Good Times Never Seemed So Good...I'd Be Inclined To Believe They Never Could...
Lucchino: [emerging from dugout] Gam, I thought I told you never to play-...
[Lucchino sees Theo. Peter closes the guitar case and exits stage left]
[Later in the swirling fog of Logan Airport Lucchino and Theo stand alone as private jet warms]
Lucchino: Inside of us, we both know you belong with the Cubs. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with them, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Theo: But what about us?
Lucchino: We'll always have '04 and '07. We didn't have...we, we lost it until you came to Boston. We got it back last decade.
Theo: ...when I said I would never leave you.
Lucchino: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Theo, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.
[Theo lowers his head and begins to well up]
Lucchino: Now, now...
[Larry gently places his hand under his chin and raises it so their eyes meet]
Lucchino: Here's looking at you kid.
Henry: [pointing to the plane] Theo is on that plane.
Werner: Why do you stand here? Why don't you stop him?
Lucchino: [sees Henry begin to pull out cell phone] Get away from that phone!
Henry: [hits dial button on smartphone] Hello?
Lucchino: Put that phone down!
Henry: Get me the control tower.
Lucchino: PUT IT DOWN! Theo's gone to the Cubs and we can replace him.
[Werner looks at Lucchino, Larry gives him a knowing look]
Lucchino: Round up the usual suspects.