One of baseball’s most tempestuous players has thrown himself into the Cleveland Indians’ manager search. Paul Hoynes of the The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports former Indians slugger Albert Belle emailed a request for an interview to team president Mark Shapiro.
Belle is currently rehabbing his left hip after having “resurfacing” surgery on it about 10 weeks ago.
Most reports have the Indians offering the job to acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. or former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. The team is expected to interview Alomar Thursday and Francona Friday.
Belle, who left the Cleveland on bad terms — and continued to publicly deride the franchise — after the 1996 season to sign a free-agent deal with the Chicago White Sox, recently mended fences with the Indians.
Last winter, Bob DiBiasio, vice president of public relations, talked to Carlos Baerga and Kenny Lofton about making peace with Belle. DiBiasio has been trying to reconnect with players from the team’s past and Belle was the dominant personality on the team that re-ignited baseball fever in Cleveland in the 1990s. There was something else at work as well — old teammates reaching out to one of their own. In September, Belle’s twin brother, Terry, was killed in a car accident in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Will Belle’s rekindled relationship be enough to land an interview, much less manage the Indians? It won’t help that he’s been spending his time at home with his family rather than doing his time coaching in the minors.
“I’m a stay-at-home dad,” said Belle. “I’m Mr. Mom. My wife and I have four girls. I waited until I was done playing to get married and settle down and start a family.”
Belle, who ended his MLB career as an Oriole in 2000, leaves behind a legacy of power hitting and public relations errors.
He hit a taunting fan with ball during a game, turned Brewers second baseman Fernando Vina into road kill in a collision between first and second base and hit photographer Tony Tomsic with a ball because he had the nerve to take his picture.
Off the field, Belle was fined $50,000 for giving TV reporter Hannah Storm a hard time before a World Series game. In the Flats one night, he hit a guy in the nose with a Ping Pong paddle. He also chased a bunch of Trick or Treaters in his SUV after they egged his house and smashed the clubhouse thermostat to bits because it was too warm.
After that, his nickname was Mr. Freeze.