BALTIMORE -- Grady Little is ready to become a major league
manager again, in spite of his experience with the Boston Red Sox.
Four days after being let go by the Red Sox, Little interviewed
Friday to become manager of the Baltimore Orioles. He met for
several hours with Orioles vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike
Flanagan, who hope to reach a decision by late next week.
Earlier this week, Little was home playing with his
grandchildren, considering the possibility of taking a lengthy
break from baseball.
"I did think about that, but I've got a lot of confidence in
what I can do," Little said. "I feel like I've got a lot left to
offer on the baseball field. It's going to be somewhere."
Little won more than 90 games in each of his two season with
Boston, but was dismissed soon after the Red Sox lost to the New
York Yankees in the AL championship series.
The series turned in Game 7, when Little stuck with ace Pedro
Martinez during a three-run eighth inning that enabled the Yankees
to pull into a 5-5 tie. New York won it in the 11th.
"We had a great season in Boston. It didn't turn out well in
the end," he said. "I made a decision to leave a pitcher in the
game, and that decision got bad results. And so, there you go."
Little figured his time in Boston was probably up anyway.
"When nothing was done about my contract coming out of spring
training, you don't know what's going on," he said. "This is a
new ownership group in Boston, and they've got some ideas to go in
a different direction. I think those ideas started long before the
seventh game in Boston."
Little was the eighth person to interview for the job that
became vacant when Baltimore fired Mike Hargrove was fired Sept.
29. Little is one of only two applicants -- along with Terry
Francona -- with major league managerial experience.
Eddie Murray, Sam Perlozzo, Rich Dauer, Rick Dempsey, Tom Foley
and Lee Mazzilli also have interviewed.
Little interviewed in 1999 for the same job, but the Orioles
chose Hargrove, who had just been fired by Cleveland after the
Indians made an earlier-than-expected exit from the playoffs.
Now, Little is in the same position that Hargrove was: looking
for work after leading his team into the playoffs.
Little believes he's far more qualified for the Orioles' job
than he was four years ago.
"I felt like my second year in Boston I was better than the
first," he said. "I feel the same away about the opportunity to
manage again. I feel like I'll be a better manager the second time
Little would love the opportunity to work with the rebuilding
Orioles, who went 9-10 against Boston this season. Baltimore is on
a franchise-record run of six straight losing seasons, but has a
strong nucleus of young players and intends to be active in the
free-agent market this winter.
"This ballclub is headed in the right direction," he said.
Little's incentive to return has nothing to do with proving the
Red Sox wrong.
"That doesn't enter into my thinking at all," he said. "I
know I did the best I could up there, and they decided to go in a
different direction that didn't involve Grady Little."
Working with the Orioles would involve less media scrutiny than
he received in Boston, but he won't have near the amount of talent
he had with the Red Sox.
So be it.
"I feel like I'm a guy that can take whatever player that is
allotted him and make then the best he can be," Little said.
"What I've done in Boston shows that."