Bowden interviews for his 'dream job'

Bowden interviews for his 'dream job'

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Jim Bowden sounded giddy on Wednesday after his interview with the Red Sox for their open general manager's position.

Bowden, the Washington Nationals vice president and general manager, spent 90 minutes talking with Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner for the job vacated on Oct. 31 by Theo Epstein.

He left the room with a choice of the best of all worlds: remaining with the Nationals and having a chance to thrive in the nation's capital possibly even after the franchise is eventually sold, or perhaps joining his hometown team.

"This is my dream job," Bowden said about the Red Sox. "I was born in Boston and raised in Boston. I mean, I love Washington. But to have a chance to join my hometown team, a team with the second-highest payroll in the Major Leagues, a franchise that's loaded in the Minor Leagues, a team that's loaded in the Major Leagues, I think people in Washington will understand."

Bowden said the Red Sox made no commitments at the meeting and he wasn't told how long their search for a general manager might take. Werner and Lucchino also met with Dayton Moore of the Atlanta Braves, and Wayne Krivsky of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. Former Expos and Orioles executive Jim Beattie is scheduled to be interviewed in Boston on Friday.

Whether Bowden will be called back for a second interview is anybody's guess, he said, adding he won't know what the next step will be until he receives a telephone call from the team.

"These are very intelligent people and I had a good time talking to them," Bowden said. "Without going into what went on at the meeting because I think that's private, just the fact that they are those kind of people tells you all you need to know about the type of detail they went into."

It was the second time Bowden interviewed with another team since the end of the regular season. He interviewed last month for the Arizona job vacated last summer when Joe Garagiola Jr. left for MLB's New York office. That position later went to Boston's Josh Byrnes, one of Epstein's assistants.

Meanwhile, his business with the Nationals continued as the general managers meetings completed their third day. Bowden has met with agents and general managers about potential transactions as he prepares the team for the 2006 season.

Earlier in the day, Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters that the potential sale of the Major League Baseball-owned franchise to one of eight suitors wouldn't be consummated before next week's owners meeting in Milwaukee and that there's no timetable for the process to be completed.

Bowden was recently signed to a six-month contract extension that will last until the end of April. The longer the sale process, takes the better the chance that Bowden, manager Frank Robinson and the coaching staff will be carried into next season even under new ownership.

But the contracts of Robinson and his staff all expired on Oct. 31, and none of them have been notified about their status.

Bowden said the pending sale won't impact his decision whether to stay or leave if the Red Sox ultimately offer him the job.

"I've always said that if you're in a job for one day or one year, you give the best you've got no matter what," Bowden said. "Look, when I was hired last year it was supposed to be until the end of April and a year later we're still here. To me, it has never been how fast baseball sells the team, but they need to sell it to the right group.

"It's just like Boston. It was a long process to put the current group in place and everyone complained. Well, look what happened. It's a great group. They brought a World Series title to Boston and nobody is complaining about it now."

MLB bought the Expos/Nationals franchise from Jeffrey Loria in early 2002 on the same day Loria acquired the Florida Marlins from John Henry, and Henry, Lucchino and Werner then purchased the Red Sox from the Yawkey estate.

Bowden, whose previous GM job was with the Reds, joined the Nationals on Nov. 2, 2004, replacing Omar Minaya, the move coming just a little more than a month after it was announced that the franchise would move from Montreal to Washington. Minaya, who spent three years as GM of the Expos, is now in the same position with the Mets.

Under Epstein's watch, the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years in 2004 and then were swept out of this year's playoffs in the first round by the eventual world champion White Sox.

Epstein and Lucchino couldn't come to an agreement on the terms of a new contract and Epstein decided to step down late last month, leaving the Red Sox without a general manager heading into the free agent signing season. They also lost Mike Port to MLB this summer and Byrnes to the Diamondbacks.

Bowden seemed undaunted by all those machinations.

"I'm honored to have interviewed with the Red Sox," he said. "I'd like nothing better than to get them back to the World Series."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for reporter Bill Ladson contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.