Collapse still stings Epstein

Theo Epstein still can’t erase the Boston Red Sox’s collapse

last season from his mind.

Now the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations, he says

he remembers ”stuff from 2003.” And what happened late last

season, when he was Boston’s general manager, was the ”toughest of

all of them.”

”At the same time, you move on,” he added. ”You learn from

it, try to get better.”

The subject came up with the Red Sox visiting Wrigley Field for

the first time since 2005. Epstein spoke before Friday’s game.

The Red Sox were in line for a playoff spot but missed out for

the second straight year after going 7-20 in September, one of the

worst months in club history. The collapse led to Boston declining

manager Terry Francona’s option and Epstein jumping to Chicago, a

bitter end to one of the club’s most successful decades.

The Red Sox won championships in 2004 and 2007 with Epstein as

GM after going 86 years without one, and the Cubs are hoping he can

help bring them their first since 1908.

Clearly, they have a long way to go. They entered Friday’s game

with a major league-worst 21-42 record.

”We’ve been here six months,” Epstein said. ”There’s been

progress in a lot of different areas. Some of it is behind the

scenes. We’ve put together a new scouting plan, development

philosophy, getting them on the same page, commit to a vision for

the future as far as young players we’re trying to identify and

develop. A lot of work behind the scenes.”