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Friday, October 17, 2003

GO GET YOUR SHINEBOX AND WALK STRAIGHT OUT OF TOWN

"He asked me if I had enough bullets in my tank to get him out and I said yes, I would never say no." - Pedro Martinez

Way back on October 7th in my pretty harsh criticism of Grady Little (my "ALCS/NLCS Predictions" entry) I said that it appeared the chickens were running the coup in Boston. On Grady Little's visit to the mound in Game One of the ALDS I said, "I can't be sure but I also have a suspicion that Pedro has told Grady to basically 'Go get your shinebox' on a couple of his mound visits.". Well now I'm of sure of it.

With Pedro clearly out of gas (around the 94 pitch mark) and Alan Embree ready to come into the ballgame in a situation begging for a pitching change Grady Little comes out to the mound.

(Artistic License Re-enactment)

Grady: How you feelin' Pedro?

Pedro: Who are you?

Grady: That's good enough for me. Go get 'em.

How many good pitchers actually tell their manager they can't continue or that they don't have anything left? My guess is not many. Even the most inept reader of physical language could tell that Pedro needed to be pulled from that game. His mouth may not have been saying so but his body was.

It was Little's inability to pull his number one starter and Joe Torre's ability to do so without hesitation (a much tougher decision by Joe for obvious reasons) that was the difference in this game. Joe Torre outmanaged Grady Little. (And in the NLCS, Jack McKeon outmanaged Dusty Baker pretty much by default.)

With the Boston media and fans ready to descend I think Grady's time is up no matter how much the players like him. John Henry is a smart owner and a follower of Bill James and must have been scratching his head at Grady's puzzling post-season moves. Little is not Theo Epstein's man of choice either. A sacrifice of the human variety is in order for a failure of this size.

A tip of the hat should go to Pedro Martinez for throwing a great game and, despite what Mike says, pitching courageously. It's somewhat ironic that with Boston's bullpen finally getting the job done (Mike Timlin should have been the MVP if the Sox had won) that they weren't given the opportunity to preserve this game for Pedro; something they had trouble doing during the regular season. (Did the blown saves behind Pedro in the regular season factor into Little's bad judgment?)

BoSox fans my heart goes out to you.

(Baseless speculation: Is Lou Pinnella willing to leave Tampa Bay for Boston?)


ALCS/NLCS Prediction Update:

Well, I guessed the two winners right, the Marlins and the Yankees, but I was a little off otherwise. My disdain of Grady Little was so intense that I thought the Yankees would actually sweep the Red Sox. I also thought that Jason Giambi would turn things around and be the series MVP. He did turn things around tonight with two homers but otherwise didn't have a great series.

My NLCS prediction was a little closer to the mark with me picking the Marlins in six. It took them seven games but they pulled it off and continue to impress me. I picked Josh Beckett as the series MVP and while he didn't win the award you can surely make a strong case that he should have won it.

I'll post my World Series pick tomorrow but here's a hint; it's not the Yankees.

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