Omar Vizquel Will Help the Enemy in 2014
Say it ain’t so, Omar. Say it ain’t so.
In a strange plot twist, Omar Vizquel, the legendary former shortstop of the Cleveland Indians, will join the Detroit Tigers coaching staff for the 2014 season. With long -time manager Jim Leyland retiring following his team’s elimination from the postseason, the Tigers have begun assembling a new coaching staff with former Major League catcher Brad Ausmus front and center as the new manager. Now Omar Vizquel is in the mix along with Wally Joyner and Mick Billmeyer.
And just like that, every Indians fan died a little bit on the inside.
Vizquel’s defined role with the Tigers will take advantage of the things he did so well for so long throughout his career. Mainly, Vizquel will focus primarily on defense and baserunning with the Tigers. He will serve as the first base coach as well as the infield and base running coach for a team that is not known for either their base running of defensive prowess, especially in the infield. Having what should be a for sure hall of famer who made his living as one of the best defensive shortstops of all-time should help things tremendously.
However, fans of the Indians can’t help but feel a bit betrayed by this most recent development. Vizquel may very well enter the hall of fame one day and if he does it will most certainly be with an Indians cap on his plaque. He will forever be remembered as an Indian despite beginning his career with Seattle and then making stops in San Francisco, Texas, Chicago, and Toronto. Now, watching him don the uniform of the Indians chief rival in the American League Central may be too much for any Tribe fan to bear.
This won’t be Vizquel’s first coaching job, though. Last season, in his first full season as a retired player, Vizquel served as the roving infield instructor for the Angels minor league system. Apparently he did great, which should come as no surprise given his defensive prowess. Why else would the Tigers come calling for his service, other than to confuse and bewilder Indians fans?
In all seriousness, this is a huge step for Omar Vizquel and his aspirations for being a manager one day at the big league level. As a member of a big league staff, he will have the opportunity to see the game played everyday from a fresh and different perspective than he was used to as a player. This will also give him the chance to learn how to strategize and full understand all of the intricacies of running a major league club house that he may not have been aware of being on the player’s side of things for so many years. So while it will be a little weird watching Omar Vizquel be associated with the Detroit Tigers, it’s hard not to feel happy for him in the end.
Prior to his position with the Angels, Omar spent 24 years as a major league player. He was a three-time All-Star in 1998, 1999, and 2002 and was also the recipient of 11 Gold Glove Awards. Perhaps his most impressive accomplishment of all, he owns the highest all-time career fielding percentage among big league shortstops at .985.