The Grady Little era officially came to an end yesterday afternoon with Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino sent out to face the ravenous wolves who comprised the writers in attendance. To their credit, they, especially Theo, handled themselves quite well. Dan Shaughnessy was among them, and his article today has him all mixed up. He insists:

but no matter what they say, this goes down as the first instance of a Red Sox manager getting the ax for a single decision in a single game.

So he says it’s all because of game seven, and there is no other reason that management declined to bring him back. But just a couple paragraphs later he gives an example from the during the season that he says shows that Grady didn’t have the backing of ownership, and later still in the article he notes another thing said by Grady and says:

It was a telling remark, proof that in the end, the job overwhelmed the nice guy/cotton farmer from North Carolina.

So the manager was clearly overwhelmed in the job, but they all want him back. Makes sense. If Grady didn’t have the backing of ownership earlier in the season, then how was the decision to not bring him back stem from one game? The rest of the article is comprised of lying out the impossible standards that the Red Sox have set in what they’re looking for in the manager. Howard Bryant has a pay column showing how game seven really had nothing to do with yesterday. Grady wasn’t coming back, and John W. Henry was certain of that months ago. Michael Holley comes to pretty much the same conclusion. Gerry Callahan says that all that game seven did was to make things a whole lot easier for the Red Sox to part ways with Grady. He says:

The Sox expect to be in the playoffs again next year and the year after that. Grady says he'll be there to haunt them, but the Sox' owners can live with that. They saw him manage in a big game in October. Nothing can be as frightening as that.

Michael Silverman says it was philosophical differences that led to Grady’s downfall within the organization. Sean McAdam looks at the whole situation and provides likely the best top to bottom account of the situation. Jeff Jacobs feels the Red Sox were being disingenuous during this process, and particularly Theo for saying even Grady won game seven he wouldn’t have likely been brought back. Jacobs calls that remark “baloney”. Tony Massarotti says that there is a split in the Red Sox organization and that the two guys who faced the music yesterday were actually Grady’s biggest boosters in the Red Sox offices. Lenny Megliola says that John W. Henry was never in Grady’s corner. Steven Krasner notes a few of Grady’s decisions that led to his downfall. The Herald looks at the reaction to Grady’s unemployment among the players and the league. Trot Nixon was among those speaking out. Alex Speier examines Grady’s dismissal and tenure here. Paul Doyle affirms that Henry had doubts about Little for quite some time. Krasner notes that some of Grady’s best work was done off of the diamond. Bill Reynolds says Grady was just a scapegoat for everyone else’s failures. David Heuschkel looks at the praise being thrown at Grady while the team declined to bring him back. Jim Donaldson continues his relentless quest to outdo Buddy Thomas. He says:

...the Boston Stat Geeks, a.k.a. the Bambino-cursed Red Sox, announced yesterday they were dumping their Old Salty Dog Baseball Traditionalist of a manager, Grady Little.

It just goes downhill from there. Perhaps someone should remind him that the “Old Salty Dog” way of doing things around here hasn’t worked. That being said, Steve Buckley’s column in the Herald was pretty actually pretty enjoyable. Or was it just because it immediately followed that bit by Donaldson? Buckley looks at the dignified, classy way Theo handled things yesterday, even if the decision wasn’t his to let Grady go.

Jeff Horrigan looks at the qualities the Sox will be looking for in the next manager, and some of the candidates. Gordon Edes says the search could take some time. Weeks, if not months. Tony Massarotti says that Grady won’t be out of work very long. Sean McAdam examines the field of candidates. Nick Cafardo has Tommy Lasorda weigh in on who should be the next manager. John Wallach looks at the work Theo has ahead of him. Hohler’s notebook looks at some personnel related business the Sox will need to take care of fairly soon.

Pretty much solid “B’s” with a couple “C’s” is what Kevin Mannix comes up with for the Patriots report card this week. Michael Smith says this Patriots defense is moving up among the best in the league. Mike Reiss says Romeo Crennel is getting attention for what his defense is doing. Tom Curran looks at the Patriots success in close games. Christopher Price looks at the productivity of Kevin Faulk. Rich Thompson looks at Faulk as a major component of the running game. Christopher Young looks at the NFL at the halfway point. Karen Guregian wonders who the Patriot MVP at the midway point is. Michael Parente looks at an up-and-down October for the Pats. Up with a 4-0 record, but paying a price with all the injuries. Alan Greenberg looks at the formula the Patriots have used for success this year. The Herald notebook looks at Kenyatta Jones, movin’ on. Smith’s notebook looks at the Pats ability to win close games. Curran’s notebook looks at the tough choices the Patriots will have to make as players return from injury. Reiss’ notebook looks at the flexibility that Eugene Wilson at safety affords the Patriots.

Starting tomorrow, the Celtics portion of the links will be hosted over at the Fox Sports New England webpage. They bring you the games, and now they will bring you the Celtics links each morning. I’ll be putting them together for the page. All other links (Red Sox, Patriots, etc) will remain on this page. More details to follow. Hope to see you over there. Jackie MacMullan looks at Danny Ainge’s rise as a player, coach and now director of basketball operations for the Celtics. Throughout his life, he’s always been one who is not afraid to speak up, and be a straight shooter. Steve Bulpett looks at the questions that face the Celtics as the season begins. Shira Springer gives us her Celtics preview. Bill Griffith looks at the NBA TV and Radio crews gearing up for another season. Peter May says the Lakers could be in for a long season. Jerry Trecker looks at the NBA getting a much needed boost this season. Springer also looks at the Celtics depth chart. Springer’s notebook looks at the overhaul done to the starting five of the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook also looks at the starting lineup.