Sandy Alomar Returns: Manny Acta and the Tribe Throw Fans a Bone

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer INovember 23, 2009

3 May 1999:  Sandy Alomar #15 of the Cleveland Indians swings at the ball during the game against the Texas Rangers at The Ball Park in Arlington, Texas. The Indians defeated the Rangers 10-4. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Conducting his second television interview in as many days, Manny Acta sat on the set of All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan knowing full well he was about to drop a bombshell.

The idea was brought up in the past few weeks and was even denied by Mets general anager Omar Minaya. However, when push came to shove, the idea was about to become a reality much to the delight of the entire city of Cleveland.

To anyone who loved the Indians of the 1990s, which is just about everyone in Cleveland that remembers those glory days, an idea like this one makes you pleasantly giddy.

Even fans that love to think with their head more than their heart like myself can't help but get excited about this thought.

Drennan introduced Acta and immediately prompted Acta for the news he was about to break. One could tell the host of the popular call-in show on SportsTimeOhio had no clue what was about to happen, but he did know Acta was about to say something of note.

Why else would Manny Acta make an announcement about his coaching staff on live television? Do you really think the announcement that Jon Nunnally would be the next hitting coach of the Cleveland Indians is something that is worthy of breaking on the Indians own television network?

So it makes perfect sense that when prompted, Manny Acta uttered the following announcement: "We're pleased to announce that we've hired Sandy Alomar, Jr. to be the first base coach of the Cleveland Indians."

Even Drennan himself squealed with joy and raised his arms up into the air as Acta pleased thousands of Tribe fans, especially the ones watching live like myself.

Sandy Alomar Jr. is coming home, back to the city that adores him.

Back to the team that he went to the World Series with two times. Back to the ballpark that he was the MVP for the 1997 All-Star Game. Back to the club that he made the All-Star team with six times. Back to the organization that brought in him from San Diego and gave him the start to his career.

Alomar has spent the past few seasons coaching in New York, the place he ended his career with just a few years ago.

As Alomar got older, the list of his former teams grew and the Mets were his final stop. He then made the transition to coach, and why wouldn't he?

Catchers are almost born to be managers and with his own father on the Mets staff, he was aligned to be in this position.

And he must have taken quite well to it as Omar Minaya adamantly stated that Alomar would be going nowhere this offseason. It sounded as if Alomar was a diamond in the rough, and the Mets would do anything they could to prevent the Cleveland Indians from talking to him.

Or perhaps they knew the moment they let that happen, Sandy Alomar, Jr. would be re-donning the cap that sports the Chief Wahoo. Sandy sure did as he told reporters on a conference call this past week.

"I talked to Omar [Minaya] relentlessly. At first he was skeptical, but I was persistent. When he gave me the opportunity to talk to the Indians, he knew I wasn't coming back."

There is a genuine love that Alomar holds for the city of Cleveland, the organization and its passionate fans, and you can plainly see it in that statement. Knowing full well this was the place he wanted to be, and he could make it happen if he just has the opportunity.

Mark Shapiro is not one for making the fans feel good. He's ripped their hearts out on more than one occasion, including his two most recent moves in which he shipped off this decade's Sandy Alomar, Jr., Victor Martinez. However, although they won't admit it, the Alomar hiring was one to make the fans happy.

That wasn't the main reason though.

No, that reason was just a bonus.

In the grand scheme of things, you are trying to accomplish two things as a Major League Baseball franchise: Win and make money. Sometimes you can't do one without the other. A lot of the times they go together but other times, they do not.

Fundamentally, Sandy Alomar, Jr. is a great hire. If we got the same coach, yet his name was Steve Smith, the Indians would not only have two coaches named Steve Smith, they would have made a great hire.

This is no publicity stunt or move designed especially to get the fans all happy once again. Sandy Alomar Jr. isn't going to prevent the Indians from losing money next year, because they will unless ticket sales go up, which doesn't happen unless they win.

And even then, selling tickets is a bit of struggle.

Early indications are that Alomar has put together quite the plan for the Tribe's catchers. This is a top of the class instructor when it comes to the catchers, and one day he may be a class manager.

Manny Acta has hired a coach for every position on the diamond, and catcher was the one position he had not covered prior to Alomar's hiring.

It made perfect sense in the perfect world. The idea of filling every coaching spot with a specific position is all inclusive of Manny's idea for a baseball team. The term I'm calling it is "Actavision."

Actavision is precise.

This offseason, Acta has spun his words to get someone like myself all riled up. He's doing everything you want him to do, or at least he's saying so. And so far, Actavision is holding true by delivering on the idea of filling a coaching staff that, as he terms it, covers all the bases.

Steve Smith is coaching the infielders.

Tim Tolman and Acta himself will handle outfielders during the regular season.

Scott Radinsky, a former relief pitcher himself, will be the bullpen coach, and Tim Belcher is overseeing the starting rotation.

And now Sandy Alomar will guide the catching core, and eventually, the Indians' young prized prospect by the name of Carlos Santana, one of the top players in all of the minor leagues.

On the surface it will make fans happy that they brought back someone from the glory days, but this is all a part of Actavision and its goals. The fan appeal is just a bonus in the grand scheme of things and might I add a welcome bonus.

For once it is good to see the fan base back something the organization does 100 percent. There is not a fan in the world that I've seen bash this move. No one can because to the rational fan, it is a strong baseball move. To the passionate casual fan that longs for the glory days, they couldn't be more excited.

Now all they have to do is sign Omar Vizquel to be their utility player. Now there's someone that can get you out of the red.


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