Imagine being a beat writer for a team that was supposed to compete for American League playoff contention, but has failed miserably at almost every part of the game. You are heading to St. Louis to catch the All-Star festivities – you know, actual good baseball players – and your phone rings.
On the other end is former Tribe outfielder Albert Belle. And instead of berating you, he actually just wants to talk.
Per the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, that is exactly what happened on the day of the home run derby. The reason for the call? Belle wanted to vent about the awful display that his former team has provided fans thus far in the season.
While he discussed things like Manny Ramirez’s recent suspension (“Manny is going to hit no matter what. He’s a talented kid.”) and steroids in general (“Those 101 players who tested positive and haven’t been named yet? I say release all their names so we can get done beating this dead horse.”), I think the most telling quote was his answer regarding the future of the Indians coaching.
When asked if he would want to manage the Indians, “Unless they got me a lot of new players, I don’t need a headache like that.”
Amen, Albert. Seemingly choosing Team Wedge over Team Shapiro, even Belle – who has been away from the game for some time now – sees what the issue is with this current Indians team.
I give credit Hoynes for confronting Belle about steroids in regard to his playing days. We all know what would happen if a blogger would do such a thing. Belle’s response on the issue seemed up front and honest, though we could say the same about countless players before him. When Hoynes hinted that some of Belle’s tantrums may have been the result of “roid rage,” Belle countered with “No, I was just an angry black man.”
An angry black man that also hit over 375 home runs over 12 seasons; most of which won over the hearts of many Indians fans in the mid-90s. Who knows what could have happened had Belle’s career not been hampered by a hip injury and the occasional off-field issue. But while Belle, now 42-years old, watches the game from afar, even he realizes that something has to be done with this current Indians staff. And to me, it sounds like the big man also thinks that things need to be restructured from the top down.
Albert Belle makes a mid-summer phone call [Cleveland.com]