Wednesday, October 04, 2006


ESPN just interviewed Willie "off the first" Randolph* during the game. That made me realize I may be hearing Grady Little's voice very soon, for the first time in a while. Talk about blast from the not-too-distant but feels like a lifetime ago past.

I was thinking how Grady winning a pennant or championship would be good for my camp. My one-person camp. That's right, in case you forgot, or never knew, or are so mad at me you erased it from your memory, I'm the person who feels Grady didn't leave Pedro in too long. At the time, I said, "Go with Pedro." And I stick by it. Matsui hit a good pitch, and Posada had the Jeter-est of bloop doubles. I still think had he removed Pedro, and we still lost, people would've been pissed at him for taking out the ace, and it would've immediately snowballed so that every single Sox fan (except the bizarro me, somewhere in that alternate reality) would've hated the guy anyway. So, him winning would be okay, the guy deserves to get glory rained on him for a change. And I was never a fan of him per se, just kind of indifferent. So, I guess I'll be okay with either team winning this Blue Sox-Mets series.

So, did anyone see what Jeter did last night? (Besides going too far out of the on deck circle to the point where the ump yelled at him.) The Most Popular Player was on second when a ball was hit into the gap. He would score easily. Instead of doing the "classy" thing of simply rounding the bases, Derek decided to trot down the line toward home while clapping excitedly. Right past the opposing catcher, clapping in his face, during the play, on the basepaths. If I was that catcher I would've clotheslined that little jerk.

This is the fucking type of fucking thing that if any other fucking player had fucking done it, they would've cut to a shot of fucking Jeter in the dugout and talked about how a classy fucking player like Jeter would NEVER disrespect the game like that. You do your fucking job and fucking celebrate when it's done, they'd say. And if Manny Ramirez was "rubbing it in to the opponent" like that, the entire rest of the fucking series would be the a Slam Manny Fest. Jeter is and has always has been bush league, and I've watched a majority of his games. Fundamentally sound? Yes. Actually kidnaps babies that we know of? No. But bush league all the way. Other examples can be found throughout this blog. I liked how his 5 for 5 made A-Rod look bad, though. Nice job, Derek!

*80s baseball blooper fans should appreciate that nickname

Metsies just took a 6-4 lead, after Nomah had tied the game. I'm rooting for the Dodgers this fall mostly for Nomar's sake (and for DLowe as well), but very much in spite of Grady Gump. Grady was, and is, a lousy manager who had made tons of mistakes well before the playoffs. I was at game 7 of the '03 ALCS, sitting in the Babe Ruth box, and when Pedro came out for the 8th, I turned to the Sox fan next to me and told him I really didn't like that move. I agree that Posada's hit was a cheap little dink shot, but for me the most important things were that:
Pedro was beyond the 100 pitch mark where he had a clear pattern of losing effectiveness;
He clearly appeared to be tiring in the seventh; and
The Sox bullpen, which had been a weakness in the first half of the season, was vastly improved by October, both by the acquisition of Williamson, and by the phenomenal groove that Timlin was in by September of that year. I understand that this all seems so long ago given the way he pitched over the last two months, but Timlin was lights-out unhittable three years ago, and I have no doubt that he could and would have shut the door on the Yanks in the 8th...frankly I would have let him go for a 2-inning save to nail down the pennant. Relievers can go on hot streaks, and he really was that good at that point.

And to answer your question, I didn't see Jeter last night, because I have zero interest in watching the Yanks in a playoff game that doesn't involve the Sox. Don't know why you put yourself through that, Jere.
Well, we've been through all this before here. But I guess I'll just redo my argument. I know all about the bullpen, the 100 pitches, the first half w/closerbycommittee, all of it. But Costanza also had a plan with the answering machine thing. "Tippy Toe" or "Lemon Tree." But when the time came to make the call, he threw it all out the window. If we win that, Grady is called a great manager, making the right call, going with his gut. It was game 7, everything on the line. I said all that year and for several years before that I'd take a tired Pedro over a rested anyone else. Just how I felt about it, and I'm not gonna pretend now that I was against the move that everyone to a person seems to say they against. Seems impossible to me, actually. Maybe there are others in my camp, they're just so afraid of getting stoned if they say anything.

BSM says he's the worst manager of all time, and was horrible that year, whereas I feel mamagers don't make much of a difference, especially in the AL. I mean, look, Grady's in the playoffs right now.

I avoided the Yanks for the most part of September. Last night, I tuned in, and in the FIRST inning, I was ready to kill. It is unhealthy, you're right. But I have to support whoever plays them. Too bad it cost me the Geddy check.
BSM says he's the worst manager of all time, and was horrible that year, whereas I feel mamagers don't make much of a difference, especially in the AL. I mean, look, Grady's in the playoffs right now.

Grady Little was an awful manager. This can manifest itself in a number of ways- choking away the second half of a very promising start in 2002, finishing off the ruin laid on a young pitcher done by fellow Luddite Bob Brenly (Kim), and single-handedly losing one of the biggest games in franchise history.

Managers don't usually have a huge impact on the long-run success of a team- in other words, teams as talented as the 2002 and 2003 Red Sox and 2006 Dodgers will make the postseason most of the time. As a manager, there's not a lot of room to get in a great team's way. But instances like Game 7 in 2003- when he fucked up so many times on the same simple concept it was like he was throwing the game- it can really cost you.

He's a first class moron and I hope his teams lose into perpetuity when it counts. I can probably count with a few fingers to spare on one hand the guys in baseball I think of in that way.
Also- just so I'm clear- are you kidding around about that Jeter bit? I mean... you have to be, right?

You have to admit- he was pretty awesome last night. I laughed when he did the fist-pump though and it punched his hat off his head. That was fantastic.
LOVED the hat knock-off. Uh, but, no, not kidding. Have you ever seen a guy cheering ON the basepaths before with the ball in play? I think that, everything else aside, if that's Manny, they DO get on him for it, not as much as on watching HR. My main point is that Jeter never gets called out on anything he does that goes against everything they say about him, with the class and the whatnot.

Oh, so about '03. When we lost, I went to bed that last night just sad for the whole team, although happy knowing we'd EASILY win the division the following year. (We totally didn't, but....)

In '86, I DID just think about how much the manager fucked everything up.

BSM, you're gonna LOVE my next post, coming in minutes.
Have you ever seen a guy cheering ON the basepaths before with the ball in play?

Uh- yea. All the time. Are you saying you haven't? If you really are serious about this, it's the very definition of reaching, I gotta say.

In '86, I DID just think about how much the manager fucked everything up.

Really? Not Gedman? (cheap shot, sorry)

In all seriousness, Game 7 in 2003 was indisputably Grady's fault. There's a reason why nearly everyone that watched the game on both sides would unanimously agree with me on this.
Honestly Jere, even if leaving Pedro in had worked for Grady, I still would have considered it the wrong move, and I'd still consider Grady to be a lousy manager. And I would have taken a tired Pedro over anybody else back in '99-'00, but not by 2003...he just wasn't the same pitcher by then.

And I realize most of this has been hashed out ad infinitum for 3 years now, but I just want to point out for like the 1000th time just how well Timlin was pitching in Sept/Oct of '03. Relievers are notoriously streaky, and I honestly believe that for that brief period of time he was throwing better than any reliever in baseball; I doubt he's ever been better at any point in his career (certainly not this year). I remember noticing this during one of his September appearances; it seemed like all of a sudden he could hit any spot on corner of the plate that he wanted to, with great movement on his pitches. Remember how Kim and Embree combined to blow game one of the ALDS against Oakland that year? Well, Timlin had thrown a perfect eighth in that game, and I was really pissed at Grady at that time for not leaving him in for a 2-inning save (I realize that I was alone on that point, and probably still am for the most part).

Grady should have figured out what he had in the pen by game 7 of the ALCS; instead, he completely blew it.
I agree with everything you say about Timlin. And I was a very big fan of Williamson. I remember being psyched that the bullpen came around that year. But I can never fault a guy for going with Pedro, as long as he can get himself to the mound.

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