Alomar Is Ready For The Dugout
Craig Gifford | On 04, Nov 2011
When baseball fans think about Sandy Alomar, Jr. the first thing that a person will usually associate with the former catcher, now coach, is the Cleveland Indians. Soon, Alomar may get an association with a new team. After 11 playing seasons with the Tribe and another two coaching, Alomar seems certain to get a call from several teams to handle the managerial duties.
On Thursday, the Cleveland bench coach was given permission to speak with the Boston Red Sox about their opening at manager. Last year, he was a finalist for the available Toronto Blue Jays job. It’s probably only a matter of time before Alomar becomes the head guy on a baseball bench and could very well become the face of another franchise.
Whether it’s this year or in the next couple years, Alomar should be a Major League Baseball manager. He could be a very successful one, at that.
There are numerous reasons one can see a budding managerial star in Alomar. The first is his background as a catcher. Alomar spent 18 seasons catching at the Major League level. To little shock, catchers have historically gone on to manage more than any other position player. That’s because, during their playing days, catchers act almost as managers on the field. It is the catcher’s duty to help set the defense. The catcher has to know how to handle a pitching staff and get the most out of the guy on the hill. A catcher spends many hours coaching up a pitching staff, in game.
Take a look at some of today’s top managers. Joe Maddon, Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland, Joe Girardi and Eric Wedge were all former catchers who have had success. Recently retired Joe Torre, he of four World Series rings, also was a catcher in his playing days. Alomar’s pedigree as a catcher and game-caller would suit him well in a manager’s role.
Another aspect Alomar has had experience dealing with is egos and eccentric personalities. When the Indians were mashing their way to five straight division titles in the late 1990s, Alomar was around some of the game’s odder and egotistical characters. Albert Belle was known for his temper, Manny Ramirez was known for some of the strange (to put it kindly) things he did, Omar Vizquel was anything but media shy and then there were a host of so many other surly players on the team that made life interesting for Tribe fans at the time.
The experience of being in a clubhouse such as that could be huge for Alomar, especially in this day and age. These days, baseball teams are full of egos and weirdness. In some cases, it is the manager who can manage the personalities who gets the most from his team. The manager who can figure out a way for the many vast personalities to gel will be a step ahead. During the Tribe’s run of success, Alomar was some of the glue that held the team together. He was one of the non eccentric, who led by example and worked hard.
Alomar also has invaluable postseason experience. He went to the playoffs five times with the Tribe, including two World Series trips and three appearances in the ALCS. He is no stranger to postseason pressure, something some young managers are not used to. If he went to a city like Boston, where the playoffs are an expectation rather than a desire, he knows what that feels like. The postseason became an expectation during his time with Cleveland. Anything less than a World Series ring, in that era, was looked at as failure. That would seem to have him ready to go to another team with lofty goals and fit right in. He can handle the pressure, from the fans, media and what comes from simply being in the postseason.
Is Alomar ready to be a manager? It would appear he is.
Is Alomar the right man for the Boston Red Sox? He would seem a decent fit. Boston needs a manager who can handle its many superstar players. The Red Sox need a guy who is a winner. That team needs a manager who will not be afraid to answer to the media and make tough decisions in key moments. Boston needs someone who truly can manage a game. Alomar seems to fit the qualifications and could be just the perfect fit for that job.
If Alomar leaves the Indians for a managerial job in the near future, he would certainly be missed, but would certainly be wished well by a city that has always cheered him on.
Photo: Chuck Crow/Cleveland Plain Dealer