Chasing Steinbrenner: Pursuing the Pennant in Boston and Toronto
The most storied rivalry in baseball is the Yankees and the Red Sox, despite what often seems like an annual exercise in disappointment in New England. Despite having a comparatively brief and less operatic history of losing to the Bronx Bombers than do the Sox, the Blue Jays were once the team to beat in the American League East. Now Boston and Toronto are again gunning for the top, led by a pair of young general managers. Theo Epstein of the Red Sox and J. P. Ricciardi of the Blue Jays represent a new generation of general managers, weaned on two decades of baseball analysis that started with the groundbreaking work of Bill James and Pete Palmer. Without the Yankees’ financial advantages, both Epstein and Ricciardi contend by carefully building their organizations and their big-league squads with a blend of financial good sense, scouting know-how, and the kind of analysis that helped them reach their positions in the game today. Indeed, both GMs now have such people as Bill James and Keith Law (formerly of the Baseball Prospectus) to help them crunch numbers and take their best shots at beating the Yankees.
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