It looks like the end of this season will also be the end of the road for one of the best defensive players in major-league history. Unless Omar Vizquel can pull off a miraculous second-half revival, it would be in both his and the Giants' best interest if he hung up the spikes for good. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Vizquel fan, and I always have been.
I grew up rooting for the Giants and Indians, and I loved how the Giants have had a relationship with Cleveland through their players. Guys like Ellis Burks, Orel Hershiser, Kenny Lofton, and Vizquel have all made impacts on both franchises.
I've heard the comparison a couple times now: If Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel were dancers, Ozzie would be Gene Kelly, acrobatic, springy, and all over. Omar is the baseball equivalent of Fred Astaire, gliding across the infield and making every little thing look graceful and easy.
His fielding percentage and number of Gold Gloves make him almost a lock for the Hall of Fame, and even though people say that his offensive numbers don't warrant a call from Cooperstown, he still has more home runs and a higher career batting average than Ozzie.
So what's next for Vizquel? Why not a short trip down the bench to the coach's box? Rarely does a player come along that everyone knows has managerial potential. But Omar is one of those people. He looks like a wise man, talks like a baseball guru, and just exudes a personality that was born to teach.
It doesn't have to be immediately, as the Giants' front office really likes Bruce Bochy, but next year should prove to be the year that Omar would make the switch.
The best-case scenario would be that he does not pick up his option to play next year, and then comes back as an instructor in Spring Training, much like J.T. Snow. The Giants have always made it a point to keep former players around, and Omar would fit right in with Robby Thompson, Shawon Dunston, and Mark Gardner.
Besides, who better to groom the next Giants shortstop, be it Manny Burriss or Ivan Ochoa, than the current Gold Glove shortstop?
His experience, and ability to teach, is a beacon for this young crop of infielders.
In summary, Omar, I think we all know that your time as a player is coming to a close. It saddens all of us fans to finally see a favorite player retire, but you have to realize that it is time to move on.
Share your gift! Become an instructor to these kids. San Francisco digs Omar just as much as he digs the city. Stay around, get into coaching, and continue your legacy.
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