Friday, October 17, 2003

They did it to us again.

I can't believe they've taken us to the edge one more time and smashed our hopes to the ground. This was not quite as bad as the '86 World Series, but it was damn close. As the events of the 8th inning unfolded, I felt sick to my stomach. And I put the blame wholly on Grady Little's shoulders.

I was surprised that Pedro came back out for the 8th inning. He struggled a bit in the 7th and gave up his second home run to Jason Giambi, but got out of the inning without any further damage. He did his little pointing to the sky thing, hugged his teammates and, I thought, had completed a very successful start. I figured we'd see Timlin and/or Embree in the 8th and Williamson in the 9th.

When he came out to start the inning I, along with practically every other baseball fan on the planet, assumed that Pedro would be on a short leash in the 8th. He already had about 100 pitches and was starting to labor in the 7th. So after he got Nick Johnson to pop out, Jeter and Bernie Williams followed with hits and Jeter scored. Grady came out of the dugout and I assumed he was coming out to get Pedro and have Embree face the lefthander Matsui.

But, no! Pedro says he can get Matsui, so Grady leaves him out there. At this point it's obvious Pedro has nothing left. He's not going to tell Grady he wants to come out, though. It's Grady's job to make that decision.

So, for some bizarre reason Grady couldn't see what everyone else saw - that Pedro was toast. Pedro gave up a hit to Matsui, moving Bernie to second. Still Grady doesn't move! He keeps Pedro out there to face Posada. At this point I'm screaming at the TV for Grady to get him out of there. Posada, of course, hits a little flare to center field and both runs come home to tie the score. Finally Grady comes out and gets Pedro.

Of course you know what happened next. Mariano Rivera pitches three scoreless innings and Aaron Boone hits a leadoff home run off off Tim Wakefield in the bottom of the 11th to win the AL pennant for the Yankees. A pennant that could have belonged to the Red Sox if Grady Little wasn't a moron.

I'm very angry about this. If Grady had brought in Timlin to start the 8th, or had even brought in Embree to face Matsui and they had failed, I would have been disappointed, but not angry. Pitchers have bad outings. It happens. But I can't excuse Grady Little for not making an obvious move to satisfy Pedro's ego or for whatever other reason he might have. He lost the Red Sox a chance to go to the World Series.


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