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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Stewing Over Little

No one in the world of sports knows suffering like Boston Red Sox fans.

The sweet taste of a game seven victory over the despised New York Yankees turned bitter when the Red Sox surrendered a three-run lead with five outs remaining in the contest. 99.9% of the nation blames the Sox manager, the bumpkin with the southern drawl, Grady Little.

His decision not to pull Sox ace Pedro Martinez before the start of the eighth inning will live in infamy, like the roller that slipped through the legs of Bill Buckner in 1986, or the miniature Bucky Dent popping a Mike Torrez pitch over the Green Monster in 1978. So another season full of dreams turns nightmarish

The question remains: What to do with the man they call Grady Little?

I am sure that in some New England locations, both urban and bucolic, effigies of Mr. Little have swung from trees a-burning. The vitriolic chatter over the airwaves on sports talk radio would have you believe that some sort of medieval punishment should come into play. Only a small, tiny circle of certain print media members has not rushed to the judgment of exile.

I am not, nor was I ever, a fan of Grady Little. That being said, I will concede that he did a good job with this 2003 squad. His players respect him, many of them like him. Fans speak about that fact as if it were a fault. Well, Joe Torre of the Yanks is considered a players’ manager, and he’s done quite well (three championships since 1996).

I will admit that I don’t blame Little for leaving Martinez in the game for the start of the eighth inning. Without a doubt, I would have pulled him earlier than the manager.

The triumvirate of John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein will tell the public of their decision regarding Little within the next few days. The opinion here is that we have seen the last of Little. The owners may pick up the one-year option, but Little is going to want more security than that, and hence leave.

In the end, it may be the best thing for him. The fans and media in this town are so ferocious and rabid that the mental stress of it all is enough to make anyone pack up and leave. In the eyes of Sox nation, he blew our chance to be in the World Series.

Red Sox ownership has some difficult decisions to make over the next twelve months. Several key players from this season are up for contracts (David Ortiz, Todd Walker, Mike Timlin) in a few weeks, and a boatful of stars (Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek) are due big money after the 2004 season. Who stays and who goes? At this point, it’s anybody’s guess.

It is painful to see New York (again) in the World Series. It is painful to be once again relegated to the sidelines. So mourn, my brethren, and find other diversions (the Patriots, for one). Spring will be here before you know it, and the ride can begin all over again.