Hello, Red Sox Nation. I’m Morgan Freeman.
You may well ask what a Hollywood fellow like myself would know about your Boston Red Sox. But the truth is, sonny, that I may know more, probably much more, about what Theo Epstein is feeling than you could ever imagine. Let’s just say that, like Theo, I’ve spent considerable time walking in the shadows of taller, more “experienced” men. Men who thought they knew what was best for me, because they saw me as young and malleable to their every whim.
Fact is, for all my success and Academy Award nominations, there was a time when I was as green and carefree as a rich expanse of Maine hayfield. I guess you could say that life for me changed when, through several fortuitous events, an opportunity for paid, steady work fell into my lap, and I took the role of “Easy Reader” on the PBS series The Electric Company. After years of struggling for steady employment, I was finally, firmly ensconced in the catbird seat.
But a funny thing happens to a man when he becomes successful. Suddenly, his credit cards are accepted. His wallet fattens, and his pride follows suit. He carries himself with the air of a man who rarely wants for female companionship. And people… well, they try to change you.
Marlon Brando told me I’d be better off working in the screen door business. “Everyone loves a good screen,” he said. “And when it comes as part of a door? Well, that’s something magical.” The great Henry Fonda tried to offer me a “ground floor opportunity” with his nephew’s locksmith franchise. And when I served as an understudy for James Earl Jones in the off-Broadway play “Now That’s Cinnamon,” the old fool kept blabbering about how he and I should produce an all-Negro version of Star Wars that took place entirely on bicycles.
Now, I could have listened to these men. Could have jumped at the tempting offers they presented. But I held my ground. I persevered. And in time, the role of Fast Black in Street Smart came along. And with it, my first Oscar nomination. And the fulfillment of a promise I’d made to myself.
Right now, Theo’s likely feeling something similar. I think it’s the excitement that only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope he learns to carry this feeling with him for the rest of his days. I hope he realizes the good things he’s accomplished, and that, in the future, learning to brace himself against the storm will make him stronger than simply choosing to walk away from it. I hope he finds his happiness, be it as GM of another team, or opening a small pastry shop in mid-town Vermont with Kevin Millar. I hope the team he left behind can regroup, rebuild and restore the majesty of just one year ago.
Now, sonny. How much for the foam puffy hand?
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With apologies to McSweeney’s.