Crazy High Standards
Thursday, the Phillies continued the marathon of manager interviews by bringing in Grady Little for a little chat. And I phrase it that way - "for a little chat" -because it is informal, laid back, and folksy, just as Grady Little's personality has been described. I even typed it with a drawl. By all accounts, Little used his folksy charm to endear the Phillies, the media, and the phans by making self-deprecating jokes about his home-life and talking about the often forgotten humanity of professional baseball players. That Grady, ain't he a good fella?
I'm sure Grady Little is a good man, a good person. And as anyone who has read this weblog (both of you) before knows that I think creating an atmosphere that allows the players to relax is important. And I also agree with those that say, including Little himself, that a manager shouldn't be judged by a single decision he made in one single game. But Little's series of gaffes in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS wasn't what got him into trouble with Theo Epstein and the rest of the Red Sox management. What got him into trouble was the lack of preparation he displayed all season long. The gaffes of Game 7 were merely a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. An anonymous reader of Balls, Stick, & Stuff sent an article from the Eagle-Tribune (a smalltown paper in Massachusetts) by John Tomase from October 28, 2003, detailing the behind the scenes rationale for the Little firing. Anyone who thinks Grady Little makes an excellent candidate for Manager of the 2005 Phillies should read it.
I might be a tad crazy, but I believe a good manager should be able to both create an atmosphere conducive to winning and prepare before a game for the decisions he will be faced with as the game progresses. I know, I know, that's crazy talk.