Theo Epstein has always had his sights set on bigger things, moving up the ladder as a curse-breaking baseball executive in Boston and Chicago before reshaping the game as part of the league office. Many believed he even had political aspirations, but it turns out he can’t quit baseball or the Red Sox. As reported by Brendan Coffey of Sportico, Epstein is returning to his old stomping grounds as a part owner and senior advisor of Fenway Sports Group.
“It’s a great honor, something I’m really excited about,” Epstein told Sportico in a video call. “It’s just exciting to be joining such a dynamic, groundbreaking company across multiple sports, doing so many innovative things at the cutting edge of everything going on in sports these days. For me, it’s perfect, I was looking for a pathway into ownership.”
But this isn’t just about handling the baseball side of things, as Epstein will deal with various initiatives across FSG’s portfolio. That includes the Pittsburgh Penguins, RFK Racing, the PGA Tour, and Liverpool FC. Epstein has long had an interest in European soccer, among other pursuits, and we sort of predicted he could pursue it as more than a hobby based on the path set by his longtime idol, Billy Beane. Famous for his time running the Oakland A’s, Beane is a minority owner of soccer clubs Barnsley of the EFL League One in England and AZ Alkmaar of the Eredivisie in the Netherlands.
Beane was reportedly set to join FSG back in 2020 in the very role Epstein just assumed, so some version of this deal has been in the works for a while. That could help to explain the hiring of Craig Breslow as president of baseball operations despite little direct experience in an executive role. Epstein hired Breslow into the Cubs organization and will now be able to serve as something of a mentor as the “smartest man in baseball” gets acclimated to the gig.
This move could have an impact on the Cubs over time since Epstein has always been an elite judge and recruiter of front-office talent. While Breslow has an embargo on poaching any Cubs employees for a year, that Chicago-to-Boston pipeline will open up next winter. In a more general sense, Epstein’s job change may have a net negative effect on MLB as a whole because it takes a forward-thinking leader out of the commissioner’s office. Even though he’s technically a competitor again, we’d like to wish Epstein the best in his new role.