October 29, 2003

If You Read Only One Grady Article ... John Tomase has written what is by far the best summation of Grady's management style, his perceived faults and why he is currently unemployed (and probably will remain unemployed if this article gets any circulation at all).

Both David Heuschkel and Michael Silverman mention Glenn Hoffman (Sox attempted to interview him before hiring Little in 2002), Bud Black (Angels pitching coach), Terry Francona (A's bench coach and former Phillies manager) as three strong candidates. Rico Brogna on Francona: "He's a very personable guy. I think at the beginning, he might even tell you he was a little too player friendly to win over the players. ... He will do statistical analysis. But I think he has such a good feel for the game because of his playing days. He can do a little of everything. He's a tireless worker. His work ethic is phenomenal." Joe Maddon, the Angels' computer-savvy bench coach, is "absolutely" interested in the Red Sox vacancy. "If computers were available when Branch Rickey was alive, he'd have made them popular 50 years ago. ... We take advantage of technology in every other facet of life and we're going to disdain it in sports? I don't get that." ... Silverman notes that "Little remains a possibility for the Yankees' bench coach job, replacing Don Zimmer as manager Joe Torre's right-hand man." I can't tell if he's serious. Can't Gump replace Torre instead? Please?

Hot Stove Logs: Alfonso Soriano for Carlos Beltran? The White Sox say goodbye to Bartolo Colon. ... BlogWatch: Lucchino's comments to WEEI. ... Bronx Banter has several good links and Aaron Gleeman is always worth reading. ... Does God really help Andy Pettitte win baseball games? ... Patriotism at the Ballpark.

From two Boston Herald pay columns:

Howard Bryant: "[T]he biggest reason the fun of 2003 has dissipated is that Sox principal owner John Henry clearly did not enjoy this 95-win journey, and the postscript to the season now contains a revisionist element of the summer. Henry wanted Little out, unhappy with his methods and his lack of reliance on data, and became convinced the team was winning despite the on-field decisions of the manager. When Pedro Martinez was lauded for his gutsy 128-pitch win against Tampa in late September, Henry was furious that his manager would gas his pitcher to beat a 99-loss team. Henry said Martinez would be spent for his next start in Cleveland, and that was Grady's fault. Even when Martinez pitched well against the Indians, Henry could not be mollified, for this was another example of a season's worth of Little costing his team a chance to win today, and more importantly with Martinez, tomorrow. Sources say Henry is now convinced that the high, late-season pitch counts may have weakened Martinez in the postseason. ... the braintrust is still fuming over the June, Jim Thome game in Philadelphia ..."Memo to Braintrust: Me too.

Steve Buckley quotes Rick Burleson (who has managed for 8 years in the Reds minor league system): "[T]hey want a guy who has old-school values, who wants to take advantage of the new technology. I would love to be able to walk into my office and see all that information on my desk every day. Anybody would want to take advantage of all the information that's available now. I have always been very comfortable with the baseball climate in Boston. In a funny way, I was almost glad the Red Sox lost in the playoffs. Because for a long time now I've had this dream that I'm going to be the manager who helps lead the Red Sox to the World Series championship Boston has been looking for for a long time. How great it would be to be that guy."

What Century is this? Nick Cafardo of the Globe asked Cleveland coach Joel Skinner about managing in Boston; after noting the Sox are looking for a "new-breed" type of skipper, Cafardo writes: "Asked if he uses tools such as scouting reports and statistics in his decision-making, Skinner said, 'Sure. It's very important, but there are many tools you use as a manager depending on the situation.'" ... Are scouting reports now thought of as a tool used by new-breed stat geeks? This reminds me of Tony Cloninger proudly telling the media he had no idea how to turn a computer on or off.

Six months ago, George W. Bush spoke on an aircraft carrier deck under a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished"; now he claims the White House had nothing to do with the sign. "The "Mission Accomplished" sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way." (WH) A few hours later, the White House admitted there was a link.

I can't blame Bush for wanting to distance himself from such a stupid stunt (and his flyboy outfit was as silly as Dukakis poking his head out of that tank). This lie has the feel of a child's refusal to take responsibility for anything, however trivial it might be. The best summary of the White House's theatrics was in the New York Times. The entire article is worth reading -- how White House aides spent days on the carrier blocking out camera angles, how they timed the speech so Bush would be cast in a golden evening glow, how crew members wore coordinated shirt colors behind Bush and how the carrier was positioned so the San Diego coastline would not be visible on camera -- but I'll snip one sentence: "White House officials say that a variety of people, including the president, came up with the idea ..." The Washington Post agreed: "Aides say the slogan was chosen in part to mark a presidential turn toward domestic affairs as his campaign for reelection approaches."

The Air Force Times: "The White House communications office, well known for the care it takes with the backdrops at Bush speeches, created the 'Mission Accomplished' banner in the same style as banners the president uses in other appearances, including one just a week before the carrier appearance in Canton, Ohio. That banner, with the same soft, brush-stroked American flag in the background and the identical typeface, read: 'Jobs and Growth.' The AFT also provided two pictures:

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