In a nice bit of scheduling, Omar Vizquel will have an opportunity to return to Cleveland in what's probably his last season in baseball. Though Omar wonders what kind of reaction he'll get, there's a 100% chance Indians fans will give him a standing ovation or three. In Cleveland, how you leave is the big deal: both Thome and Manny left in the midst of their primes for huge contracts, while Omar left on good terms with the team and the fans. There were no contentious contract negotiations, as the Indians had already decided to go with Jhonny Peralta at shortstop.
Bill Livingston offers a colorful anecdote:
He got off the "4 train," the subway to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium, in the playoffs one year and was heckled by strap-hangers who recognized him. "It's (flipping) Omar!" yelled one. "I oughta break your (flipping) arm!"
"Yeah, it's (flipping) Omar!" Vizquel shouted back. "What are you going to do about it, (flipping-flippers)?"
Eric Wedge lauded Vizquel's attitude during his first season as manager:
"You hear me talk about having fun and enjoying the game and loving to come to the ballpark," Wedge said. "I don't know if you could think of somebody who did it better than him.
"I just remember watching Omar play. It was like he was playing Little League. He was so relaxed and enjoyed it so much. And I don't think that was just baseball, I think he generally enjoys life."
There was also this, which I don't think has been mentioned before:
Wedge remembered calling Vizquel into his office one day. Vizquel, as he sometimes did, didn't run out a ground ball. At the time, Wedge had gone head-to-head with outfielder Milton Bradley over the same issue.
"I have nothing but respect for Omar," Wedge said. "What I said is, How can I get these guys to run if you don't run?' He looked at me and said, I understand.' After that he was great.