Here's why Grady F. Little is a lousy manager 

I hadn't heard some of the quotes in this item from the former Red Sox skipper, but they say a lot about the man:

Grady Little. That's what we'll remember from 2003.

I don't even have to explain to you what I mean, do I? You know exactly what I'm talking about. Grady Little is not a person's name anymore. It's a phrase -- Gradeelittle. Someday in the future, it'll be a bona fide word in a bona fide dictionary: "Gradeelittle [vb]: To overuse a good thing, despite ample, or even excessive, evidence that this good thing has been entirely used-up, while other good things remain on the shelf, unused. As in: 'Sheesh, that was a great Porsche I used to own, but I drove it to death. I wish I'd taken my BMW out for a spin every now and then, just to give that Porsche a rest. Instead, I just GRADEELITTLED that Porsche to death.' "

Grady Little put himself in the history books -- and the dictionary -- in one night.
What was the most memorable thing about Grady's boneheaded eighth inning? Was it the confusion in living rooms all across New England, when an obviously spent Pedro came to the hill? Was it the consternation that followed, when the Yankees started smacking him around and, still, no change was made? Or was it the utter horror that shook Red Sox fans everywhere when, finally, Grady came chugging out of the dugout -- not to remove Pedro as it turned out, but, apparently, to ask him if he'd like a mint?

Nope, none of the above. The most memorable part came when the catastrophe was over. Sure, he'd made a stupid mistake, but who hasn't? We elderly fans could still recall the deciding game of the 1985 National League series, when Tommy Lasorda inexplicably ordered reliever Tom Niedenfuer to pitch to the Cardinals' Jack Clark, instead of walking him in favor of Andy Van Slyke, whose playoff average was .091. Clark hit a gopher ball clear to Uranus. Afterward, Lasorda sat his team down and wept, admitting his mistake and accepting complete responsibility. "I feel like jumping off the nearest bridge. ... Even my wife knows I should've walked him." As Tom Boswell put it, "in the worst moment of his career, Lasorda took the blame and acted like a leader."

Not Grady. What had he learned from his mistake? "I learned that you need to have a closer," he growled, blaming a bullpen that had, in fact, pitched marvelously for him throughout the postseason. Later he added, "If Grady Little is not back with the Red Sox, he'll be somewhere. I'll be another ghost, fully capable of haunting."

America had much empathy for Grady Little. But, alas, he opened his mouth and gradeelittled it away.

That was the most memorable sports moment of 2003.

Talk about going down in flames.


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