Here’s a postmortem: 1. The game last night was painful in a very different way for me than Buckner, Dent, et al. In last night’s case, the players did everything right (beyond not getting that fifth run in in the fourth), from Pedro’s effort through 7 (all he should have been asked for last night) to the clutch insurance ding by Ortiz, to the nice plays by Walker. For once, the players executed, the players didn’t brainfart, the players succeeded. Grady Little failed, and failed beyond all expectations. For this reason, the sting is different – it didn’t feel like the dreaded “curse”, it wasn’t the same kind of train wreck as in the past, because when Little left Pedro out there you KNEW he was going to get hit – he had nothing in the tank, and it wasn’t, for me, an anticipation of a botched double play, or some bizarre passed ball or failed squeeze, it was actually a kind of knowledge that the Yankees would (and should) knock hits around, they HAD too – they are too professional, too good, not to be able to tee off on a guy they have seen several times this year who had nothing left. Any good team would have done the same to a similar opponent – the Red Sox did it with Roger earlier (and Torre wisely yanked him), the Yankees with Pedro. 2. Grady has no excuse – the whole “Pedro said he was ok” is a line EVERY pitcher gives to his manager, if he’s a gamer. My guess is Jeff Weaver doesn’t think he’s got problems sometimes, and it is the manager’s job to recognize that gap in recognition. Little, for some reason, didn’t execute, and he took his players out of a winning situation and put them in a spot they didn’t deserve to be in, one of chasing down fungoes, of playing against the house. 3. My hope, my guess, is that Grady won’t be re-upped for next year. He did a fine job, he’s clearly a capable manager, but he did something last night that is not forgivable. The Sox this year will not be forgotten for the great things they did accompish and the even better things they should have accomplished. But Little, and not the players, will be remembered for his McNamara-esque failing, his breakdown at the worst possible moment. Some context from last night, which I think is important because we ALL, at some point, think we can do a better job than the professional skippers (which isn’t true, of course). In Oakland, at the airport, in a crowd of about 75 people watching, some Sox, some Yankees fans, almost everyone, was screaming “take him out!!!”. This was not a confusing decision, in any way. I don’t need to rehash who was rested and ready in the pen, and Little had to know this, his coaches had to know this, and why he didn’t act is beyond comprehension, beyond defense. So, way to go Yankees. They took advantage of possibly the worst managerial non-move in baseball history. For that, I guess, they deserve some credit. This has been a fun blog, but I am checking out until hot stove time. I don’t have any strength left or interest in watching the Yankees/Marlins series, one that I expect to be the worst World Series since Yankees/Padres. Best of luck, and we’ll blog come sometime soon.