Little Big Choice

Grady Little was a good solid choice as the new Dodgers manager. He had the winningest big league record of any of those considered either by Paul DePodesta or his successor Ned Depodesta. Little was the field manager of the Red Sox who took his team to the post season.

He's an experienced baseball guy with a very credible record in the minors and majors, as manager and as instructor. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, then a Red Sox fan, remembered Little's work in Beantown.

The Dodgers job, Little said, was "my second chance at the opportunity of a lifetime."

Little, as Peter Gammons noted, is also a very solid development guy, key to the Dodgers and their almost ready set of minor league prospects.

Little managed Manny Ramirez, not the most easy player to manage. He managed Pedro Martinez in his Cy Young Boston year. He managed Derek Lowe who he'll have on the Dodgers staff. He was the manager who gave David Ortiz his Red Sox start after coming over from the Twins.

A former catcher, he helped Jason Varitek mature into the Red Sox leadership role.

Little held his own with the often hostile Boston media (if the LA press has gotten tough, they are pussycats compared to Boston).

Little has spent the last two years in the National League and is familiar with the different style of play than he was used to in the American League.

Little was second guessed all over the place by sticking with his ace Pedro Martinez in the 7th game of the 2003 ALCS, a choice he wouldn't have had to make had he had an Eric Gagne in the bullpen.

Like Colletti, Little has been around the baseball wars for a very long time. Seasoned and mature, they will be on the same page -- something that didn't happen last year.

Paul DePodesta and Jim Tracy weren't even in the same library, much less book, much less page. Last season, it was a plague on both their houses.

This season promises better. Little is certainly qualified under the Lasorda dictum of having done it before -- his big league winning percentage is also better than Tommy's.

There isn't any maybe about Little, he is a big league manager who has won before.

With Little, the Dodgers have turned another page toward restoring respectability. First Ned Colletti, then Rafael Furcal, now Grady Little -- all new Dodgers.

If there was any criticism of the pre Fox and pre McCourt Dodgers, it was the almost incestuous parade of the same faces year after year after year. The on and off field staff could count on longevity and actually was a little stodgy.

There probably will be those who preferred Jim Fregosi, and privately they may have included Tommy Lasorda, but Grady Little is a good manager who can handle himself well.

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