NEW YORK - Billy Beane and J.P. Ricciardi knew this time would come. Yet, watching it from afar doesn't make it any more palatable.
The two general managers both had their shot at taking the reigns Theo Epstein holds, general manager of the Boston Red Sox. They understood at the time both the adoration of being on top and the pitfalls that would come with the job if things started going south.
With Epstein now taking his share of slings and arrows while the Sox meander toward the offseason, both Beane and Ricciardi want to make it clear that Boston has the right man in the front office.
"(Epstein) is flat out of the best GMs in the game," said Bean, the man who holds the same position for the Oakland A's. "He's doing it in a very difficult situation and in a very demanding market, which is what makes the franchise great. It's pretty amazing that they are, what, 10 games over .500 (as of yesterday) and they've basically lost their entire team at some point.
"It's a balance we all face, and all of us know when we got into the job it's part of the deal. Listen, the fact of the matter is when you're winning everybody loves you, and when you're not winning nobody loves you. That's the deal."
Ricciardi, who was first wooed by Boston ownership to succeed interim GM Mike Port before taking the same job with the Toronto Blue Jays, agrees with Beane that some might be losing sight of the big picture when it comes to Epstein.
"From one GM to another GM, the Red Sox have of the best GMs in the game," said Ricciardi. "They have a very smart guy who has done very well with resources and made great decisions. But, unfortunately, you aren't going to make the right decision every time.
"Look at (Edgar) Renteria. We've been in that situation, too. Everybody in baseball is smart enough to know if you have a player you don't think is going to work out, then you take that player and you move him. The plus of doing that is: a) you save money, and b) you don't have to see the guy play every day. You're smart enough to realize that you made a mistake and that player isn't going to function playing for you.
"To think every move that you make is going to be a home run is just unreasonable."
The perspective of the two GMs might appear biased, but, according to Ricciardi, it's for good reason.