Little might end up in Baltimore:
Mazzilli interviews for Orioles' job; Little next
By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
October 30, 2003
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Lee Mazzilli interviewed Thursday to be manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and Grady Little is up next.
Mazzilli, the New York Yankees' first base coach, became the seventh person to interview for the post that opened when the Orioles fired manager Mike Hargrove on Sept. 29.
``This is something I've wanted for a very long time,'' Mazzilli said. ``You put your apprenticeship in, you pay your dues. Now is the time to do it.''
Little, dismissed as manager of the Boston Red Sox this week, is to meet with Orioles vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan on Friday.
Mazzilli has never managed a big league team; Little won more than 90 games in each of his two seasons with Boston. They do, however, have this much in common: They would love the chance to beat the Yankees as manager of the Orioles.
``I built a bond with the players,'' Mazzilli said. ``But when you're leaving a team and exploring a goal that you've always wanted to do, that doesn't play into it. You're out to win.''
Even at the expense of the man who hired him, New York manager Joe Torre.
``Joe has been a big influence on my life, on and off the field. He's really taught me a lot about the game and managing,'' Mazzilli said. ``I love him, but if I had to play him in a game, all bets are off.''
Little had the opportunity to eliminate New York from the playoffs earlier this month, but the Red Sox lost Game 7 of the AL championship series when ace Pedro Martinez let a late lead slip away.
Little was severely criticized for not going to his bullpen sooner, a decision that probably cost him the job.
The Yankees ended up losing to the Florida Marlins in the World Series, and to this point Mazzilli doesn't know if he will be invited back to coach in a fifth season with New York.
All things considered, he'd prefer to be manager of the Orioles.
``It's a very good ballclub. It's a fun challenge,'' he said. ``Rather than being just competitive, you're challenging these players to win. Not just win 80 games; you're looking at them to win a pennant.''
That's a tall order for a team mired in a franchise-record run of six straight losing seasons.
``They're going into the free-agent market and making a commitment to improve the ballclub,'' Mazzilli said. ``But the bottom line for us, er, for the Orioles, is that you have to go through the Yankees to win. That's the road that has to be taken.''
Mazzilli, 48, managed for three years in the Yankees' farm system after a 14-year career in which he played for five teams, including the Yankees and New York Mets. He also spent time with Toronto, where he became friends with Flanagan.
He interviewed for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' managerial opening last year, but Lou Piniella got the job. Mazzilli figures that whoever manages the Orioles -- even if it's Eddie Murray or Little or Sam Perlozzo -- will have plenty to work with.
``I'm happy coming here knowing the direction this club is going,'' he said. ``If I was not the manager here, I think the people of Baltimore will be pleased with the product that's going to be out there on the field next year.''
Updated on Thursday, Oct 30, 2003 3:52 pm EST
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Yes doctor, there will be a war.
Yes doctor, there will be blood.....