After being within three games of first place at the beginning of the season, to falling to the bottom of the division last week, Manny Acta took the ax on Thursday, as bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. takes over the helm. But how effective can Alomar be as he navigates through the last six games of the season, and if he is being considered as a permanent replacement, is he just being set up for failure?
Alomar was a fan favorite during the Indian’s hay-day in the late 90’s, but even then, when his heart was totally in the game as one of the most prolific catchers of all time, his capability as a manager was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Not only was Alomar wonderful to watch as a catcher, he was just as powerful in the batting line-up, with his perfect position between Kenny Lofton and Manny Ramirez. This is when the Indians shined from almost every aspects on the diamond, with all eyes on Alomar every time he was on the field. However, as good of a player as Alomar was, and as knowledgeable about the game as he is, Alomar may be out of his league when it comes to overall team management.
Over the years many famous standouts have come back to the Indians club as consultants, and position coaches, but few have proven effective. It’s as if they just want to keep their toes in the game, and serve as a marketing tool to boost ticket sales. They act more as “big brothers” to the young players than effective coaches. Managers “must” lead and inspire the entire team to win, while under continuous of scrutiny of a general manager and team owners.
Not to mention the fact that Cleveland fans are fickle! Yep, sorry I said it, but when the going gets tough in Cleveland the fans all but disappear, and the seats go empty. They jeer sports standouts like Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez when they leave the city for more money, but if they are invited back when the Indians are on top, all is forgotten. Even basketball legend LeBron James can’t show his face in Cleveland anymore, unless he’s invited back to a winning team, and mark my words, LeBron James will play basketball again in Cleveland.
It was expected that some heads would roll, after the Indians performance this season, because this is what the Indians organization does, they cut and gut. The players appeared to have lost all direction and motivation to win, but why remove Acta at this point in the season, and put Sandy Alomar in the cross-hairs of a totally frustrated fan base and a knife wielding management structure? It’s a lose-lose situation for Alomar.