A long time ago, when the New York Yankees were a competitive baseball team, Grady Little got himself fired as the manager of the Boston Red Sox when, with his team on the cusp of defeating their aforementioned historic archnemeses in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series, he opted not to remove his clearly-out-of-gas starting pitcher Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning with the Red Sox leading 5-3. The Yankees went on to tie the game in that very inning and win it in the eleventh, thus bringing the total number of consecutive years that the Red Sox had gone without winning a World Series to 86. While the Yankees went on to lose in the World Series to Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and the rest of the Florida Marlins, Grady Little was run out of Boston on a rail.
During the four years since, the dynamic between the Red Sox and the Yankees has, to put it mildly, changed. The Red Sox have won two World Series titles while the Yankees haven't even appeared in one championship contest. The Sox' most recent playoff success was due in large part to the effectiveness of their ace, Josh Beckett, and RBI machine Mike Lowell, who was crowned the 2007 World Series MVP. Meanwhile, the Yankees barely even made the 2007 playoffs (as the Wild Card), in the first round of which they were soundly trounced by the Cleveland Indians 3 games to 1. The responsibility for this unequivocal failure was placed squarely on the shoulders of longtime Yankees manager Joe Torre; as a result (and taking into account the fact that, during his tenure, the Yankees hadn't won a World Series title since the previous century), Torre was essentially fired by means of a deliberately insulting contract renewal offer. (Adding insult to injury for Yankee fans, on the very night that the Boston Red Sox closed out their second world championship in 4 years, the Yankees' star player, Alex Rodriguez, opted out of his contract extension, unceremoniously severing his relationship with the organization.) Given the history between the Red Sox and the Yankees, it can reasonably be inferred that Joe Torre didn't lose his job just because the Yankees had failed to live up to expectations for so many years...but also because the Red Sox--during the same years--had so roundly exceeded their own.
Yesterday it was reported that Joe Torre--the man who lost his job in large part as a result of the success of the Boston Red Sox--is going to be hired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And who will he be replacing?
Grady Little. The man whose career is destined to be defined by the failure of the Boston Red Sox under his watch...the man who is now out of a job once again as a result of that very team's performance.
Does all of this amount to a fair shake for Grady Little? I cannot objectively answer that question, for I am a Red Sox fan. As far as I'm concerned, I'd be happy to see Grady Little punished for leaving Pedro in back in 2003 every day for the rest of his life. Two World Series titles since or no two World Series titles since, it doesn't change the fact that that was a completely dumbass decision.
Au revoir once again, Grady. Apparently, you shall never be forgiven.