October 18, 2003

What's In A Name? Some sportswriters, in commenting on Game 7 of the ALCS, have lengthened Aaron Boone's name to "Aaron Bleeping Boone," putting the current Yankees third baseman seemingly on par in New England lore with a certain former Yankees shortstop. That is preposterous. To Red Sox Nation, Boone is a nobody and will always be a nobody. Aaron Boone will haunt Red Sox fans as much as Aaron Myette.

Grady F'in Little is the man we will hate, truly hate, many of us cursing him to our graves, as the man who single-handedly derailed a World Series-bound team due to his stupidity and cowardice. At SoSH, "Gene Conley's Plane Ticket" wrote: "Grady carries with him a defining moment, an image of a manager sitting idly, to outward appearances contentedly, in the dugout while the greatest moment in Red Sox baseball history disintegrated before our eyes. Every Red Sox fan feels robbed of his or her birthright, and we all know as sure as we know ourselves the man who robbed it. Grady Little will never, ever live that down. There's nowhere for him to run and nowhere to hide from this toxic cloud that he, himself, has cast over Fenway Park."

Grady Little is a coward because he was afraid to remove Pedro Martinez after 7 innings. Pedro has said he believed his night was over at that point (as did his teammates who came over to hug him and shake his hand), but he did not refuse when his manager told him to pitch the 8th. He should have, and he can't be too happy now about that now. ... And when the shit began hitting the fan(s), and Grady couldn't avoid a decision any longer, he went out and asked the one person in Yankee Stadium who wouldn't give him a straight answer (and someone Grady had to have known wouldn't give him a straight answer) to make the call. [And what in god's name was Dave Wallace -- you remember him, the pitching coach! -- doing all this time?]

Pedro did his job; Grady refused to do his. By contrast, when Torre yanked Clemens in the 3rd inning, he tapped his wrist the instant he came up out of the dugout. There would be no questions, no discussion, no chance for Clemens to plead his case -- even in what was looking like the final game of his career. Torre is in another World Series tonight because he wanted to win at all costs. Grady Little will burn eternally in Red Sox Hell because he was scared to lose.

The decision on Little's future with the Red Sox will not be made until after the World Series, but it's impossible for me to imagine him being retained. Owner John Henry wanted to replace Grady before the 2003 season, but Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein convinced him otherwise. There is NO way Henry gets overruled this time. Life-long Red Sox fan Epstein has looked and sounded shell-shocked in interviews. If Boston had lost Game 7 by a 6-1 score, or had dropped Game 6 the day before, or had even been eliminated by Oakland, there was a good chance Grady would have returned, if only because of the way the players feel about him. Now there is no chance. ... In one of the most important moments in Red Sox history, Grady Little had a decision to make. And he blew it. Henry, Lucchino and Epstein face a similarly obvious decision. The only question is: Are they smarter than Grady Little?

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