Alomar interviewed with the Indians on Thursday, and was upbeat after coming out of it:
"It was a fun interview process," Alomar said. "We talked a lot of strategy. I talked with Paul Dolan, [General Manager] Chris Antonetti, [team President] Mark Shapiro, Steve Lubratich [director of player personnel] and everybody in the scouting department.
If Alomar was up against the candidates brought in last time (Manny Acta, Bobby Valentine(!)), he'd be a lock to hired. There's still a chance he gets the job, but I think at this point Francona's the heavy favorite. If the Indians don't hire him, he's going to get interviews at other places, and it's just going to be a matter of time before he lands a manager's job.
Francona did do a pre-recorded interview with Bart Swain, though, part of a full day at Progressive Field. It still hasn't totally sunk in that Francona actually wants this job; if he waits just a couple weeks perhaps there might be several more jobs open to him, opening for teams that aren't far away from contention. Heck, given the Rangers' collapse, perhaps Texas will be looking for a new manager.
But it seems that the personal relationships with the Indians' front office is making what once was more of a fantasy into a reality.
Francona said the Indians and Cleveland feel like family to him. He played here in 1988. His father, Tito, played for the Indians from 1959 to 1964. And then there is his relationship with Antonetti and Shapiro.
"It's a good story," said Francona. "I don't think you can take a job because of that, but it still means a lot to me."
Also, if you think about it, what better way to follow up bringing Boston a long-awaited World Series than bringing another city a long-awaited championship?
MLB News (Wild Card Edition)
That's an understatement. The Braves played the game under protest, which was rather quickly denied by MLB. With the one-and-done format, a blown call (which the infield fly call was) becomes that much more important, and it might have the cost the Braves a berth in the NLDS. But ultimately, the Braves have no one to blame but themselves, as the Cardinals scored three unearned run and won by three runs.
The other game had no umpiring controversy, but was culmination of a collapse almost as devastating as the ones by Boston and Atlanta the season before. The Rangers did make the playoffs, yes, but fell into the Wild Card game after giving back a 5 game division lead with 9 games to play.
For those who don't know, the A's have placed a tarp over the upper deck seating at the Oakland Coliseum since those seats are very rarely used for baseball games. That tarp will stay put for the ALDS, even though there's a very good chance all those seats could be sold. Given how the Athletics have captured the fanbase, I don't get this at all - why would you not want more people in the ballpark for Games 1 and 2?