Cowley: Sandy Alomar Jr. stacks up well as candidate for Cubs’ managerial job
JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org November 10, 2011 9:12PM
Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., speaks during a baseball news conference after interviewing for the vacant Boston Red Sox manager position at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011.(AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye)
Updated: December 13, 2011 9:00AM
The interview process is extensive.
That’s how the Cubs’ new Brat Pack wants it.
Questions, game scenarios, interviews with the media, computer knowledge … heck, might as well throw in an interrogation lamp and then a rescue mission behind enemy lines just to weed out the truly weak candidates.
Next man up to run through the North Side managerial boot camp? Santos Alomar Jr. — who just might be the best candidate.
Alomar has been interviewing most of his life. As a Little Leaguer, as a minor-leaguer, as a big-leaguer for 20 years, and now as a coach.
He was interviewing back in his days with the Cleveland Indians when he got into a heated exchange with then third baseman Jim Thome. Now, no one gets into anything heated with “Gentle Jim,’’ but not everyone is as competitive as Junior.
Alomar knew the Mariners were going to try and pull of a double steal, and wanted Thome to be close to the third base bag. The dugout missed Seattle’s signals for nabbing two and wanted Thome to stay off of it. Thome listened to the coaches and wasn’t there when Alomar was cocked and loaded out of his catcher’s squat.
Alomar vs. Alomar
The two went at it in the dugout, and were laughing about it the next day.
Then there was the “interview’’ he had with brother, Robbie, in an interleague game with Cincinnati. This was post-spitting Robbie Alomar, and when the Reds hit him with a pitch, the Hall of Fame second baseman took it personally and wanted his pitchers to administer some baseball justice.
Problem was it was a one-run lead, and Sandy didn’t want Cincinnati to have a baserunner on with the game on the line. Alomar-on-Alomar crime ensued, with Sandy finally getting his brother to realize the “W” carried more weight than the payback.
“All the baseball guys in the game knew once Sandy was done playing he would be a manager in the big leagues, and quick,’’ Marlins bench coach Joey Cora said.
Cora would know.
He has known the Alomars since they played Little League in Puerto Rico. Cora and Alomar Jr., were teammates in San Diego and then again with the Indians. When Alomar Jr., joined the Sox in both stints, Cora was on the Sox coaching staff.
At the same time, Cora is in the same spot as Alomar — a coach hoping to manage someday. That didn’t stop Cora for speaking the truth about Alomar’s makeup to manage a big-league team.
“He has that personality that you need, the smarts, the baseball acumen,’’ Cora said. “He has every attribute you need, no doubt. Whether he gets a job this year, it will be soon. And he will be very good at it. Everything Sandy has done he’s been successful at.’’
The White Sox swung at and missed that fact, not even contacting the former catcher for an interview. That mistake could come back to haunt them if Robin Ventura doesn’t pan out to be the manager they’re gambling on.
All the bases covered
Hopefully, the Cubs won’t make the same mistake.
“That guy has more experience than probably at least three-quarters of the managers in the big leagues,’’ Cora continued. “Sandy has been in the game so long, he’s evolved with the game. He’s got the old school with his dad [Sandy Alomar Sr.], and the computer stuff, that’s all nice, but at the end of the day a good manager will make the decision with his gut, not just on numbers.
“Sandy knows the old school way, new way, middle way, all the ways. Whoever hires him as a manager, whenever that happens, will be extremely happy with him.’’
The talk is that pitching coach Mike Maddux hit his Wednesday interview out of the park. Maybe he did. Maybe he’s the best guy for what the Cubs’ “Generation Hex’’ want from their manager.
I want a guy that knows every aspect of the game — on and off the field. I want a guy who knows Chicago, but also knows the culture on the North Side has to change.
I want a guy that is willing to fight for every “W.”
Even if it’s against Jim Thome or his own brother.