The Baseball Desert

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

A Little bit of a change

After a season in which the Red Sox were one game away from going to their first World Series in 17 years, the club decided not to pick up Grady Little's contract option for the coming season. The initial reaction to the decision is to assume that it's related to Little screwing up in Game 7 of the ALCS, but that's clearly not the case. As GM Theo Epstein rightly points out: "Anyone who thinks we made this decision because of Game 7 or even gave it a significant amount of weight in this decision doesn't know this organization very well. We would be irresponsible businessmen if we were to make a decision based on one play in one inning ... it didn't happen."

What is amusing, though, is that although Boston has decided that Little is not the right manager for their ballclub over the coming seasons, Epstein also had this to say: "If we were to sit down and make a wish list of attributes for the next manager of the Boston Red Sox, Grady Little would embody most of them." That 'most of them' is the killer - he almost has what the Red Sox need, but not quite...

So, the Red Sox will now be looking for someone wiling to manage in the pressure-cooker atmosphere that is Boston. After New York, Boston has to be the toughest place in the country to manage, and it takes a certain mentality to be able to do it. Here's an idea: since Don Zimmer won't be coming back as the Yankees' bench-coach, maybe he could go back to Boston, where he managed from 1976 to 1980. Imagine Zimmer managing Pedro - they could compare notes on choice insults and wrestling holds...

Alex Belth has a good piece on the ongoing Zimmer / Steinbrenner feud - I particularly like the article he links to at the New York Post, where Kevin Kernan says this:

"The Zim/Steinbrenner feud is getting old. Zim is 72, the Boss is 73. This is like watching Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon go at one another in the movie Grumpy Old Men."