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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Grady Little still has a lotta love for baseball

Or as my old Red Sox pal Less Nunamakers used to call him…“Grade D Little”.

So what is he doing on a small baseball diamond in Charlotte, cutting the grass and directing the high school baseball team at Hickory Grove Christian?

“I think it’s just part of doing God’s work,” Little said in his deep country drawl. “I’ve been to the highest level doing what I was doing. I just wanted to see if I could help one kid a year here.”

...Said Little: “That decision is part of my legacy, and part of what I’ll leave behind when I leave this earth. But I know in my heart that I made around a million decisions that year to get us to that point. And then in the last game, I made a decision and the results were bad. I couldn’t undo it.”

As for Boston fans who still insist on trying to define his 40 years in baseball by that one moment, Little drawled: “After spending several years up there in that part of the country, I think I’ve got it figured out. When you are from that part of the country, your summers are so short, and your winters are so long. Just imagine being cooped up like that. You get cabin fever. And then when the weather gets nice, you’re always in a traffic jam. That will make you pessimistic.”

Little would get one more chance at the majors, directing the Dodgers in 2006 and ’07. By the end of that second season, he had had enough.

“A five-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak started to feel the same way,” Little said. “I wasn’t really wanting to go to the ballpark anymore.”

...Little’s name still surfaces occasionally as a possible replacement when major league teams fire their managers, but he doesn’t think he will ever again manage at that level. He said he enjoys being able to go on Lake Norman for the Fourth of July or to host a Memorial Day barbecue – things that never happened during a baseball season that routinely stretched from February to October.

And then there are the kids at Hickory Grove, keeping him young. The team’s last game of the season will be Thursday at Charlotte Country Day.

“You can tell Grady just enjoys this,” Carte, the Hickory Grove center fielder, said. “He’s a huge storyteller – he gives us two or three of them a day – and he tells them in a way so they teach you something. I think he just wants to stay in baseball. And it seems to me that he really likes to help people.”

Repoz Posted: May 06, 2014 at 09:47 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, red sox

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 10:49 PM (#4701746)
I'll likely take crap for saying so, but...

Little drawled: “After spending several years up there in that part of the country, I think I’ve got it figured out. When you are from that part of the country, your summers are so short, and your winters are so long. Just imagine being cooped up like that. You get cabin fever. And then when the weather gets nice, you’re always in a traffic jam. That will make you pessimistic.”


I would say "impatient" rather than "pessimistic" but I think he's onto something.
   2. theboyqueen Posted: May 06, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4701787)
I agree except that New York is not really like that. I find New Yorkers quite optimistic on the whole. I think there is quite a bit of inferiority complex at play in Boston.
   3. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 07, 2014 at 01:34 AM (#4701822)
Yes, Grady. Why, oh WHY oh 1918BabeRuth1949finalweekendImpossibleDream0.5gamesbehindin1972takingoutWilloughbyJoeMorgansingleBostonMassacreB.F.DentBucknerakimboCalvinSchiraldi1-and-14recentplayoffrecordleadinginto2003loseeveryGameSeven WHY would Boston Red Sox fans have felt a sense of pessimism by the time you were the manager? It's just gotta be snow shovels and the gridlock on Mass Ave.
   4. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: May 07, 2014 at 07:53 AM (#4701856)
Little drawled: “After spending several years up there in that part of the country, I think I’ve got it figured out. When you are from that part of the country, your summers are so short, and your winters are so long. Just imagine being cooped up like that. You get cabin fever. And then when the weather gets nice, you’re always in a traffic jam. That will make you pessimistic.”

For me, it always sounds weird to read people complain about Boston and New York's weather. From up here (Quebec City) both cities seem to enjoy extremely mild and short winters. I guess everything is relative.
   5. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4701880)
Grady Little can #### himself.
   6. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4701883)
Timlin in the 8th, Williamson in the 9th.
   7. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:20 AM (#4701888)
I think there is quite a bit of inferiority complex at play in Boston.



??? What in god's name does Boston have to feel inferior about? Taken as a whole, they have the most successful sports teams, a dynamic forward looking 21st century economy, some of the world's best hospitals and universities, fine museums, symphonies and other cultural attributes, a highly educated population, a beautiful local environment and a rich history.

Regarding Little, he would be a lot better off if he just admitted he made a colossal managerial blunder, perhaps the most colossal I have ever seen in a post-season game, that cost his team a chance to go to the world series and be done with it. The fans don't have an inferiority complex. They have a deep seething anger at you, the moron manager who cost them a chance to savor victory.
   8. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4701900)
Yeah, I wasn't pessimistic because the winters were long, I was pessimistic because the manager at the time was dumber than ten dogs, and feared he'd irrevocably #### something up at the worst time.

And I was right.

I wish he hadn't wanted to go to the ballpark any more in 2003 either. Eff him. It's no shocker that the Sox suddenly got a lot more successful when they didn't have a gibbering moron in the manager's seat, in the long unrelenting tradition of the club up until 2004.

I'm with Kevin here: Grady has never ever ever admitted he made a horrible blunder. As long as he keeps flapping his jaws about how he did his best and "it didn't work out" and golly isn't Boston uptight, then I'm going to hold him in contempt.

   9. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4701905)
I wish he hadn't wanted to go to the ballpark any more in 2003 either. Eff him. It's no shocker that the Sox suddenly got a lot more successful when they didn't have a gibbering moron in the manager's seat, in the long unrelenting tradition of the club up until 2004.


Seriously, he was pathetic as the manager, only 188 wins in two seasons is a ####### joke.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: May 07, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4701912)
Little was not a bad manager but he was not a good fit for what this ownership group wanted. I've always thought he did a pretty good job in some pretty turbulent circumstances; the ownership change, the Joe Kerrigan shitshow...Smiling Joe is right though that I wouldn't mind a little acknowledgement that he made the wrong call that night.

Strangely I view the 2003 ALCS in a positive light now. It was a great series and given what happened a year later to me is the beginning of the 2004 championship season than a disappointing end. The only bad part is that if they had pushed on through and won the WS that year Nomar would have been able to be part of a WS champion.
   11. ASmitty Posted: May 07, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4701928)
??? What in god's name does Boston have to feel inferior about? Taken as a whole, they have the most successful sports teams, a dynamic forward looking 21st century economy, some of the world's best hospitals and universities, fine museums, symphonies and other cultural attributes, a highly educated population, a beautiful local environment and a rich history.


But how does it compare to your home city of Washington, D.C.?
   12. tfbg9 Posted: May 07, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4701998)
Jose, I feel exactly the same way: 2003 only made 2004 all the more sweet. Didn't feel that way at the time, obviously.
   13. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4702013)
But how does it compare to your home city of Washington, D.C.?


Well, I live in Annapolis now so I dont' live in DC anymore. But in some ways it compares favorably. Most of DC doesn't have that neighborhood feel. Too many of the residents are outsiders who don't have an emotional attachment to the place. the architexture isn't particularly interesting either.

However, a lot of the museums and other cultural or historical points of interest are both excellent and free. And the diversity of the population is interesting.
   14. Flynn Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM (#4702022)

Seriously, he was pathetic as the manager, only 188 wins in two seasons is a ####### joke.


Yeah, also Bob Brenly is a great manager because he won the World Series. Those two Boston teams were stacked and Gump took them to missing the playoffs and a wild card spot. Some manager.

I've always thought he did a pretty good job in some pretty turbulent circumstances; the ownership change, the Joe Kerrigan shitshow...Smiling Joe is right though that I wouldn't mind a little acknowledgement that he made the wrong call that night.


The Henry group had already bought the team with Jimy and Kerrigan being out on their butts by the time Gump took over. Now that 2001 Red Sox team was about the most hateable group of guys imaginable, and Gump got them out of that funk, but he was a such a poor tactical manager that Henry wanted to fire him in 2002. History shows Henry was on to something.
   15. Flynn Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4702028)
But how does it compare to your home city of Washington, D.C.?


Wait, so if you don't live in your hometown ergo you must hate it? Who knew I loathed San Francisco so?
   16. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4702053)
As pissed as I was about Little's horrible, horrible decision, I didn't really despise him until they let him go and he spewed that passive-aggressive comment about how now he'd be "just another ghost, fully capable of haunting."

So he was about as good a ghost as he was a manager apparently. #### him.
   17. Sonic Youk Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4702057)
“A five-game winning streak and a five-game losing streak started to feel the same way,” Little said. “I wasn’t really wanting to go to the ballpark anymore.”


So he left himself in too long?
   18. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4702063)
As pissed as I was about Little's horrible, horrible decision, I didn't really despise him until they let him go and he spewed that passive-aggressive comment about how now he'd be "just another ghost, fully capable of haunting."


Oh God, I forgot about that quote. eff him even more.

Little's essential problem, much like Lasorda's these days, is that he's always been a fossil. Old school manager, didn't care about then silly pitch counts, once saw Pedro throw 130 pitches in Yankee stadium and come out with a CG game win, so 3 years later and after an arm surgery he figured it was OK to let him try it again, regardless of the circumstances or consequences for failing. He lacked critical thinking ability. He was an amiable idiot. The players liked him well enough, and he did calm down the clubhouse after the 2001 mess, but he was always inadequate in every other facet of managing.

And clearly he still hasn't learned from his prior mistakes.
   19. McCoy Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4702098)
DC is a blast and a ton of the area really does give off a neighborhood vibe. Plus the architecture is amazing. Don't know what Kevin is talking about.
   20. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4702113)
Regarding Little, he would be a lot better off if he just admitted he made a colossal managerial blunder, perhaps the most colossal I have ever seen in a post-season game, that cost his team a chance to go to the world series and be done with it.


He didn't make one blunder. He made five straight increasingly indefensible blunders. This wasn't "what was he thinking letting Brandon Workman hit" level stupid. It was letting Brandon Workman hit, then letting Brandon Workman play catcher, then letting Brandon Workman make all the lineup decisions for the following game, then letting Brandon Workman fix the team meal, then letting Brandon Workman fly the team charter back to Boston (by that point, down 3-2).

But like others, Grady's post-Sox pity jag has left me far less friendly toward him than his mere 2003 stupidity had.

   21. villageidiom Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4702117)
Plus the architecture is amazing. Don't know what Kevin is talking about.
If you're not into white marble and height restrictions, it's lacking. Otherwise I agree (EDIT: with you).
   22. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4702182)
Oh God, I forgot about that quote. eff him even more.


How about the one where he complained about all the extra work the front office was expecting, reading scouting reports and develop game plans?

If he had read the damn scouting reports and prepared a game plan with respect to the strenghts and weaknesses of his own team and that of the opposition, he might have been in a position to make the right decision and pull Pedro when he had 3 rested arms in the bullpen who were all pitching well(Embree, Timlin, Williamson).

Little was a numbskull and everything that he has said since that day, after he quickly and justifiably fired, validates that opinion.
   23. McCoy Posted: May 07, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4702183)
If you're not into white marble and height restrictions, it's lacking. Otherwise I agree (EDIT: with you).

There's more to the architecture than just the Mall area. You've got the Grant era government buildings as well as all of the other post-Civil War era mansions. Plus with the rejuvenation of DC over the last 15 years or so there is a bunch of modern buildings sprouting up as well.
   24. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4702195)
There's more to the architecture than just the Mall area


Taht's what I was referring to, McCoy. the federal building are pretty uniform and bland looking, wth the exception of the capital.

But I'll grant you the brownstone townhouses on capital hill and some of the other neighborhoods are pretty nifty. The metro is nice and clean too, compared to other cities.
   25. McCoy Posted: May 07, 2014 at 01:12 PM (#4702203)
Smithsonian buildings, Executive Offices, Federal Era buildings. . .there is more than just marble buildings down there.
   26. Publius Publicola Posted: May 07, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4702310)
Some of the Smithsonian building are nice. I think Air And Space is pretty meh. The modern wing of the National Gallery likewise.
   27. Ron J2 Posted: May 07, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4702362)
#9 The thing about The Decision is that (unusually) the critics weren't second-guessing him.

That said, everybody understands the temptation to try and get a little bit more from the best pitcher in the game.

Even if he was obviously out of gas.
   28. Ron J2 Posted: May 07, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4702417)
Just listened to the 8th again. McCarver say (almost word for words) that the decision to allow Pedro to face Matsui is the most obvious opportunity to second-guess the manager in the series.

He had predicted during Williams' plate appearance than Embree would face Matsui no matter what happened with Williams.

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