Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Don’t expect many changes to the Indians in the last six games of 2012. That’s the message interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. conveyed Friday speaking to the media for the first time since being promoted.
“Six days, I just want the guys to play the game,” Alomar said. “We haven’t really put into a plan, ok we’re gonna play this guy today, this guy tomorrow. We’re pretty much gonna go with the same lineups that (former Indians manager) Manny (Acta) has been using.
“The guys have been playing good the past couple of days, and we’re gonna have the same situation as when Manny was here- give the guys a chance to go out and play.”
Alomar steps into a role that he’s been dreaming about for a long time, and one that could be considered his dream job based on the years that he spent in Cleveland as a player and now as a coach.
“If it happens, then yes, if the organization feels that it’s my time – then yes,” Alomar said. “If they feel that it’s not my time, then I can understand that, nobody owes me anything.”
The former Indians player and bench coach says that it was bittersweet on Thursday when word came down that Acta has been fired.
Acta is the manager that brought Alomar back to Cleveland from the Mets, and now with Acta out, the former Indians player says it’s not easy to just step in for the man who hired him as a coach.
“It was a real difficult time for us yesterday, for the staff, for myself,” Alomar said. “Manny played a role in bringing me back to Cleveland, and I have a great deal of respect for him. It’s not easy to replace a guy like him, especially the way he treated me in the past.”
Alomar won’t have much of a ‘tryout’ if you will with only six games left in the season, and all he can hope for is that he will get a great shot this offseason to win the managers role full-time.
“I’m just trying to stay focused these last six games, be relaxed, just take pride in the game,” Alomar said. “There isn’t going to be that much difference in the six days, just focus.”
Indians GM Chris Antonetti said that Almoar, along with current broadcaster and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, are the only two names that have been made public to be the next full-time Indians manager.
Alomar says trying to tell the future right now isn’t something he cares to do. It’s easier as he put it to simply stay in the moment, and try to finish what’s left of 2012 strong.
“I always focus on what I am doing now,” Alomar said. “The last couple of years I was focusing on being a first base coach, and then being the bench coach. Never look ahead, always stay in my path.”
The former catcher knows about Cleveland and the Indians all too well. He played 18 years in the Majors, 11 of those with the Indians when it was commonplace for the Tribe to make the playoffs and to sell out former Jacobs now Progressive Field.
He started to toy with the idea of becoming a manager a few years back, and last season spoke to Toronto, Boston and the Cubs about their manager openings.
“I felt like I did a pretty good job with those interviews, it helped me to experience how the whole process works and how to go about it,” Alomar said.
Now the time has come for him to get his shot, albeit a short shot to show the Indians what he can do from a leadership role as manager.
“The most important thing that I like to tell people is that I always try to put myself last, if you want to lead, you can’t put yourself first,” Alomar said. “I can’t look at what is going to happen six days from now, Chris (Antonetti) and myself will talk about that, right now I just want to focus and concentrate on these six games.”
It may not mean much, but it will be interesting to see how the players react to Alomar for the next six games, and if there’s any impression made on the front office by the former catcher.
It’s a shot he’s been waiting for, now it’s Alomar’s time to show what he might be able to do if he wants to stick as the possible long term solution to the Indians manager opening.