Epstein graciously declines prom invitation

Updated: March 3, 2006, 6:01 PM ET
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine -- Alice Evans and Grace Needleman need a new date for the prom.

Boston general manager Theo Epstein won't be escorting the Cape Elizabeth High School seniors, who recently went to the Red Sox spring training complex with two handwritten signs, one that read: "Will you go to prom with me?"

After Epstein took a break and talked to the girls, the potential of a prom date was written about in newspapers and featured on radio and TV, including ESPN.

But the 32-year-old Esptein is bowing out, Glenn Geffner, vice president of media relations for the Red Sox, told the Portland Press Herald.

"Theo appreciates the support, but of course he will not be attending. We were all surprised to see the media coverage this good-natured exchange generated," Geffner wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

The girls met Epstein on Sunday in Fort Myers, Fla., during a vacation with Needleman's family.

"This all was taken in fun," said Grace's father, Richard Needleman. "These kids know he is not coming up here."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press