A recent development in Major League Baseball has seen former players take the reigns as a manager or coach with their former team.
The White Sox once employed their former shortstop, Ozzie Guillen, in the managing capacity. Now the team has its one-time third baseman in Robin Ventura in that seat. Joe Girardi, a former Yankees backstop, currently manages the Bronx Bombers. More recently, the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus, who used to be a catcher in Detroit, to replace the retired Jim Leyland as their bench boss.
In Cleveland, the Indians have a pair of their ex-players calling the shots. Terry Francona, who spent a season a Tribe player, is of course the manager of the team. The Indians also have Sandy Alomar, Jr., a key component of those successful 1990s squads, as its first base coach.
It’s Thanksgiving – a day to be grateful and overindulge in the mounds of food placed before you. A day of cornucopias and parades and pilgrims and Indians. Cleveland Indians? Yes, Thanksgiving is a day of football, but, if we’re giving thanks, it’s also a time to be thankful for Cleveland’s favorite team: the Cleveland Indians.
It may seem trivial to give thanks to a sports’ team on a day that’s dedicated to family and friends and the amenities granted to you. But, without the Indians, the story of Thanksgiving wouldn’t have much substance now, would it?
Alright, so the Cleveland Indians and the Indians that are part of the story every child hears in elementary school about the first Thanksgiving are not one in the same. But still, the Cleveland Indians have given Cleveland a lot for which to be thankful. While those pilgrims walked away from that first Thanksgiving with the ability to harvest corn and, supposedly, an understanding and appreciation for the people who’s land they now inhabited, Clevelanders walk away from a baseball season with the ability to see the good through the bad, to roll with the punches, and to retain an undying optimism for next season.
Thank God that’s over.
Barring a meeting in the 2013 postseason, the Cleveland Indians are finally done with facing Yankee closer Mariano Rivera. The Indians are done facing the Yankees this season and the 19 year-long battle with one of baseball’s best is over. Rivera is unquestionably the greatest closer in baseball history, topping the all-time save list and becoming one of October’s all-time outstanding performers.
By Craig Gifford
What has happened to the Cleveland Indians since the end of July – a month-and-a-half stretch that has seen the club go from contenders to worst team in the American League – can not all be blamed on Manager Manny Acta. However, someone will have to be held accountable for one of the worst stretches of futility in the history of a team that has seen its fair share of futile play.
The easiest fall guy is always the manager. In this case, the owner and general manager should take the blame for assembling a team with so many flaws. However, you can not get rid of an owner and General Manager Chris Antonetti is only in his second year on the job. He could get a pass, in that regard, for another season.
By Craig Gifford
When Omar Vizquel was essentially let go from the Cleveland Indians following the 2004 season, the thought many fans had was that the great shortstop would be back in a matter of two or three years – serving in a management role following retirement as an active ball player. No one could have imagined Vizquel, then 37 would play into his mid-40s and still be playing against the Tribe seven years later.
It was a difficult decision for then Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, but he ended up letting the popular Vizquel walk away as a free agent in the winter of 2004. The Tribe was in the middle of a rebuilding period, following great success through the late 1990s. Cleveland also had a young, up-an-coming shortstop prospect in Jhonny Peralta who was ready to break out as one of the top hitters at his position. Although Vizquel wanted to stay and the fans wanted him to play out his career in the Wahoo red, white and blue, the Tribe cut ties with Little O and went for the youth movement.