Ben Cherington Becomes Important Hire For Cubs

Ben Cherington – Growing up in tiny Meriden, N.H., Ben Cherington often asked his mother to drive until they found a newspaper with comprehensive Red Sox coverage. His dream ame true.

In 1997, Ben Cherington took an internship with the team, holding a radar gun and doing other odd jobs. For the past 13 years, he has worked for the Sox in numerous capacities, including a three-month tease as co-general manager after the 2005 season.

So it mattered little that the Red Sox just completed the worst September collapse in baseball history, or that their starting pitchers have copped to drinking beer during games, or that manager Terry Francona alluded to toxic clubhouse chemistry before stepping down Sept. 30.

Even if Cherington had to don a hazmat suit on his first day, he was going to accept the Red Sox’ offer to become general manager once Theo Epstein agreed on a five-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

“I’ve thought a lot about this job in recent years and thought about the challenges that come with it,” Cherington said yesterday. “My eyes are wide open. There are going to be tough days that come with this job, but there’s so much enormous upside. And look, at the end of the day, this is what I love to do. This is the job I want.”

At last, the job is his after two weeks of limbo while the Red Sox haggled with the Cubs over compensation for forgiving Epstein the final year of his contract, an issue that remains unresolved. And now, nearly a month after the season crash-landed, Cherington has a long to-do list, much of which he outlined during and after an hour-long Fenway Park [map] press conference.

Cherington described the Red Sox’ first managerial search since 2003 as an “important hire” and said the process, which has only just begun, will take place “swiftly and diligently.” He said he will be seeking a “strong voice,” someone who will cultivate a clubhouse culture that leaves players feeling “empowered.”

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