Tragedy hits close to home as Theo Epstein’s twin brother ran Boston Marathon
By GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org April 16, 2013 6:37PM
Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, left, and manager Terry Francona watch team practice at Fenway Park in Boston Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007, in preparation for Friday's Game 1 of the American League Championship Series baseball game against the Cleveland Indians. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Updated: April 16, 2013 10:05PM
The bombings in Boston Monday sent shock waves through the Cubs’ front offices, where several executives have strong ties to New England, including Boston native Theo Epstein.
“All my thoughts are with my hometown, the people of Boston,” the Cubs’ team president said before Tuesday’s series opener against the Texas Rangers – and against the backdrop of heightened security efforts at the ballpark in the wake of Monday’s deadly events at the Boston Marathon.
Epstein’s twin brother Paul ran the Boston Marathon, finishing about 45 minutes before the first explosion, Theo said.
“My brother had actually called me right after he finished and told me he had run a decent time,” said Epstein, who later learned of the bombings via Twitter while team officials met to talk about the upcoming draft.
It took 20 minutes, but he was able to reconnect and make sure his brother and other loved ones were well.
“It’s a horrific thing that happened,” he said, “kind of surreal that it happened right there in the middle of the city, a place I’ve been. I used to live about a block from there.
“The city’s really shaken, but it’s extremely resilient … It’s a shocking, tragic event. But I know Boston’s tough enough to get through it.”
Assistant general manager Jed Hoyer and top player personnel executive Jason McLeod all were together in the Boston Red Sox front office for several years. And Cubs manager Dale Sveum was a Red Sox coach for two years.
“You’re shocked that anything can happen in our country like that,” Sveum said. “We’re kind of right back to 9/11 as far as security and all that goes in this country again.”
As terror attacks spill into the sports world, the events in Boston take on another dimension for Epstein as a ranking official in American major league sports.
“Everyone who works in sports has a responsibility to be extremely vigilant,” he said. “We have large crowds on a daily basis, and they trust us with their safety, and obviously it’s difficult to keep large numbers of people safe.
“We take a lot of precaution on a regular basis, but we ramped up security even tighter today in the aftermath of what happened yesterday, and we’ll continue to do so.
“People in sports have an added obligation.”
The potential for attacks hitting sporting events had been discussed internally already Epstein said.
“Because you have to,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate reality of today’s world.”