In which Theo Epstein has to eat his words

Pettitte pushed back
Who had March 12 in the Giambi injury pool?

A little over two weeks ago, Theo Epstein criticized Mike Mussina over his complaints — from 2004 — about the Yankees’ ill-fated trip to Japan to opening the regular season. At the time, Yankee fans were a little surprised about Theo’s seeming breach of protocol. A GM’s criticizing another team’s player for comments about an unrelated incident are exceedingly rare in sports.

Today, the shoe is squarely on the other foot, and I have to wonder if this isn’t some sort of karmic retribution. The Red Sox, you see, now view their upcoming trip to Japan as a huge inconvenience. Josh Beckett, their ace, is out indefinitely with back problems and will miss the trip. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s wife is expecting, and he may miss the trip as well. The trip — two 18-hour plane rides in four days plus two baseball games that actually count — disrupts the rhythm of Spring Training and generally messes with athletes used to routine.

Publicly, in the Boston Herald, the Red Sox are saying that they’re excited to go. They say they could sit back and complain, but they’re just going to tough it out instead. Of course, reading between the lines, complaining is exactly what they’re doing, and I don’t blame them. In this case, I completely sympathize with the players.

As for Mr. Epstein, I think he should take this one as a lesson. Internally, I’m sure there will be a lot of Boston-based grumblings about this trip both before and after. Mussina just happened to share his with the world. For that, he does not deserve the criticism he received. Enjoy your flights, Theo. I hear crossing the international date line twice in 96 hours does wonders to the body.

Pettitte pushed back
Who had March 12 in the Giambi injury pool?
  • Chris

    Have a Fun trip in Japan! Shoe is on the other foot for once, this will easily screw up the sox for a week. Maybe they will catch a staph infection like Giambi did…im sure they are all pumped up and rdy to go.

  • It’sMeSNITCHES!!!

    i need video of this brawl.

    • Mac

      Yeah, as do I.

  • RobertGKramer

    What “reward” for a championship!

  • Bo

    So Theo pulled a Spitzer?

    You know. All sanctimonious and everything. Huge hypocrite.

  • J.R.

    Yeah im sure Manny loves the idea of playing in Japan. From the guy who views the All-star game as a huge inconvience.

    • dan

      One of Manny’s kids went to my camp in ’06, left at the all-star break and never came back. He learns from the best.

  • Count Zero

    Speaking from experience…

    I have done a 21 hour one-stop to Singapore in business class on Singapore Air (which is rated one of the top airlines in the world). I was in that small private upstairs level of a 747. My seat went completely horizontal. They gave me noise canceling headphones and I had my iPod set to all sorts of Trance and Classical. They fed me gourmet meals, and waited on me hand and foot. I drank gobs of water and I slept at least 10 hours.

    Yet when I got there, I was still completely frickin useless for the first day anyway. It was like I was walking around in a dreamscape. No matter what you do to stave it off, your internal clock just can’t handle the fact that the sun is in the sky when it’s supposed to be 2am. Your brain is like, “WTF is going on here? This is all effed up!” Then when you come back, it starts all over again.

    I was there for a week — I can’t even imagine having to do the turnaround in 96 hours with two strenuous physical days in there. The reality is, this is just patently unfair to any team that has to do it. Only someone who doesn’t have to make the trip could’ve dreamed this scheme up.

  • Trish

    There are some rumblings that Beckett’s back injury is being claimed so he could avoid the Japan trip since he hadn’t been very thrilled about it in the first place.

    Having flown between DC and Tokyo (and NOT getting the cushy VIP treatment) I can tell you that the flight flat-out sucked. If you’re going to fly that far you may as well spring for the good seats, but doesn’t sound like the experience is that much better.

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  • seeingthroughthehype

    this whole thing is really not an issue. the yanks sucked it up after their trip for weeks. Fack is, Red Sox Nation is global, very big in Japan and is raking in cash to compete with the empire. a couple disgruntled players for a few days is a minor issue, to be forgotten about by Fenway home opener. All that said, I think it is a rather stupid trip and is backfiring on Theo, other than the fact the sox are making coin on the trip