In case you missed it, Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Mike Hargrove, and Kenny Lofton had an impromptu reunion at the Indians’ Spring Training facility. Here are our guys:
I hate to be the one to say it because I adored him back in the day, but Albert Belle hasn’t aged well. On the plus side, he looks friendlier and perhaps more at peace, so that seems like a fair trade for some gray hair and jowls. Kenny Lofton, on the other hand, looks as fresh as a proverbial daisy. He’s working with the Indians as a guest instructor. I like the idea of him working on baserunning with young guys like Michael Brantley and Ezequiel Carrera, both of whom have great wheels.
About Albert: I was a huge Albert Belle fan. Really, a fan in the unhealthy battered woman he’s-just-misunderstood realm of fandom reserved for athletes, relatives, and others whom we love but know deep in our hearts are deeply troubled. And when he left Cleveland for the White Sox, it was like having the love of your high school life jilt you for the skankiest girl in school. Watching Belle come to bat was kind of like watching someone go to speed psychotherapy–he’d step in the box/lie down on the couch, face off with the pitcher/therapist, and unload his inner demons/unload his inner demons. With the substitution of a Trek bicycle for a baseball bat, I could relate to this. Perhaps we all can.
I’m glad Albert Belle went to Spring Training to see his old friends. And I’m glad to see him looking happy. An article on Cleveland.com notes that he’s married and has four young daughters. To have the universe send four daughters to a guy who had problems with anger and women in the past (yes, I’m understating–old habits die hard) is proof that God has a sense of humor and that there’s always the possibility of reform and redemption. Good for him.