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.