Game 7 decision haunts Little in interview

PHILADELPHIA -- Grady Little wanted to talk about the
Philadelphia Phillies' vacant managerial position. Instead, he
spent lots of time reliving the move that cost him his job with the
Boston Red Sox.

Little stuck too long with a tiring Pedro Martinez in the
seventh game of last year's AL championship series. The Red Sox
lost the game and series to the archrival New York Yankees, and
Little was gone soon after.

"It's a shame, but that's life," Little said Thursday. "That
comes with the territory when you're on center stage like that.
It's one of the many decisions that I had to make throughout my
tenure as manager for the Boston Red Sox. One of those decisions
got bad results in the seventh game and it's a shame people tend to
judge me on that."

Little went 188-136 in two years with Boston, but that move
dwarfed all others. Martinez gave up a tying, eighth-inning double,
and the Yankees won on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning homer.

"I have people ask me all the time would I have done anything
differently and the truth is, if I knew what the result was going
to be I probably would," Little said.

Little spent this season as an adviser with the Chicago Cubs. He
tried to change the subject in Philadelphia after repeated
questions about the Red Sox.

"I came here not to talk about the 2003 Boston Red Sox or the
2004 Philadelphia Phillies, I came here to talk about what I might
be able to do to make a difference in the 2005 Philadelphia
Phillies," Little said.

Little was the third candidate in three days to interview for
the job, less than two weeks after Larry Bowa was fired.
Philadelphia general manager Ed Wade said the Martinez move came up
in "general terms," and that "people in baseball recognize what
he's really about."

Both Boston and Philadelphia are championship-starved cities
with tough fans and media, and expectations are always high. The
Red Sox are familiar with being in the playoffs but the Phillies
haven't been in the postseason since winning the 1993 NL pennant.

They went 86-76 this year under Bowa and finished 10 games out
of first place.

"I think next year at this time you'll be watching them on
television in the playoffs no matter who is the manager," Little
said. "They're right on the verge."

Little managed 16 seasons in the minors from 1980-95 and was San
Diego's bullpen coach in 1996. He spent the next three seasons as
Jimy Williams' bench coach in Boston then had the same job the next
two seasons with Charlie Manuel in Cleveland.

He became the Red Sox manager in spring training of 2002 after
former Phillies pitching coach Joe Kerrigan was fired.

"I know what I did there, I know what the players did while I
was there," Little said. "I know the way it was when I went to
Boston and the way it was when I left Boston and it was a better
situation when I left."

The Phillies interviewed former Cubs manager Don Baylor on
Tuesday, and Manuel on Wednesday. They'll interview former Rockies
and Tigers manager Buddy Bell, the father of Philadelphia third
baseman David Bell, on Oct. 25th and former Phillies manager Jim
Fregosi on Oct. 26th.

Wade also plans to talk to Braves hitting coach Terry Pendleton
on Oct. 28th.