October 10, 2003

Forget The Curse, Because The Gump Factor Is Killing Us. Grady Little is a horrible manager for many reasons, but the main one is: he doesn't try to win every game. And in the post-season, in a best-of-7 showdown against the hated New York Yankees, you must do everything you can to win every game. Grady made all the rights moves in Game 1, but hoping for competent managing for two consecutive days was pushing it. I am convinced this (or any future) Red Sox team will win nothing with Grady Gump calling the shots. Yes, all the players think he's wonderful, but when it comes to making decisions that decide ball games, he is a 200 proof idiot. He has shown (in so many painful ways this season) that he is in way over his head as a major league manager. The Boston offense is historically strong, but it cannot bail Gump out of every blunder, and it will not do so in 2003.

Boston should have treated Game Two as if they were down 0-1. Gump should have managed with his foot on the Yankees' collective throat. Taking a 2-0 lead to Fenway with Pedro pitching on Saturday would have been a huge advantage. But that's not Gump's style; apparently, that wouldn't have been very sporting. Might have to apologize to Mr. Torre in the morning.

I'll get into it later, but the biggest mistakes were: leaving Lowe in at least two innings too long, completely mismanaging the 7th inning, bringing the worst arm (Sauerbeck) into the game's most critical situation, wasting a golden opporunity to grab a big 2nd inning lead against Pettitte, and being slow to pinch-hit in the late innings.

I was hoping for a split of the first two games, and that's what I got, so maybe I should be happy. But I'm not. I know you cannot win every game, but Game Two was within reach and Gump threw it away.

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