Time to Move On: Why the Cleveland Indians Need Terry Francona to Be Manager

Chris BurnhamContributor IOctober 2, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28:  Manager Terry Francona #47 of the Boston Red Sox watches batting practice before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Let me preface this immediately: I love Santos Alomar Velazquez, Jr. I love what he stands for as a baseball player, a clubhouse leader and as an Indians icon. And what Indians fan doesn't love him for his heroics in the magical year of 1997? Indians fans will love him forever.

A small sample of the kind of stuff we've heard or read recently: Robbie Alomar as a bench coach! Lofton and Vizquel as first and third base coaches! Thome as the hitting coach! Nagy as the pitching coach! Let's find something for Belle and Baerga! Radio! Championship!

(I was kidding about pairing Belle and Baerga. Albert might say ten words the entire game. Brian Anderson?)

And it's because of all of this that the Indians cannot allow Terry Francona to leave his interview on Friday without agreeing to lead the Indians.

The Indians spend time waxing nostalgic because that's the only link left in a strained relationship between the organization and a dwindling fanbase that is borderline catatonic in caring. The front office needs, for the lack of a better term, a home run, in order to get the turnstiles moving again.

While Alomar might sate the memory banks, when you have a two-time World Series-winning skipper who appears to have genuine interest in your team and what you are about (despite all of the uncertainly of a likely roster turnover concerning trades of Shin-Soo Choo and Chris Perez), it is a no-brainer.

 

There is mutual interest between Francona and Indians. They'll all know better after weekend. Peace, love and understanding may be >$

— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) September 28, 2012

 

I believe that Sandy will lead a team someday soon (and knowing my luck in prognosticating these things, Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti could very well render me a fool by pulling the interim tag off of Alomar). But I feel that everyone involved is looking for the kind of name that could really bring the spotlight and a breath of fresh air; even if comes with the aroma of some fried chicken and beer.

The Indians aren't known for big splashes under the Dolan regime. But the time is now to try to win back the trust. Albeit in a way that truly has the present and future in mind, which is the way that, as much as it hurts to let the Glory Days go, should have been the direction all along.