Lowell manager beginning a new chapter in his career
Catching up with Luis Alicea
LOWELL, Mass. Among his peers, he is one of the most respected baseball players in the game.
Luis Alicea played 13 years in the Major Leagues, including one season (1995) with the Boston Red Sox.
Alicea certainly made the most out of his stint in Boston. The Red Sox won the American League East title in 1995. It was Aliceas first trip to the post-season of his career.
In Game 1 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, Alicea came through in the clutch. Down by one run in the eighth inning, Alicea hit a home run to tie the game sending Boston and Cleveland into extra innings.
The Red Sox lost the game and eventually the series, but Alicea did everything he could. He was the Red Sox best hitter in the post-season, batting .600 with two doubles and the crucial Game 1 home run.
We got beat in the playoffs by Cleveland 3-0, but it was the most fun Ive ever had as a player and team, said Alicea. It was a great group of guys and we jelled together really well. It was a fun experience and the city was incredible.
Alicea has returned to the Red Sox organization as the manager of the Lowell Spinners, the Class A Affiliate. Its the first time he has ever managed.
With this being my first time my main goal is to teach, said Alicea. I want to give the guys a good foundation that they can carry on for the rest of their careers. I think getting them to have a good start and teaching the right work ethics to become a Major League player is a main goal. If I can teach the guys to work hard I think it will carry a long way.
"At the end of the season, I would like to see every one of these players improve in their fundamentals and also how they play the game, whether it's fielding, pitching, or better base-running. I would like to see every one of them improve in at least two areas of the game that they had difficulty before.
Surprsingly, the biggest challenge Alicea has faced being a first-time manager is not managing the game.
"Throwing batting practice. That's been the most difficult thing, said Alicea. I've probably hit five or six players throwing BP. I'm getting better at it though."
Alicea took the job after deciding what direction he wanted to take in his post-playing days. There were many options, but Alicea decided managing in the Red Sox organization was the right fit.
I wanted to make sure if I wanted to get back into baseball it was going to be something that I enjoy, said Alicea. There were many different opportunities and I decided I liked managing. I like being in control and making the calls. What better way to start than with a good organization in a great city (Lowell). They have a great stadium and a lot of fans. Theres no better way to start.
In the off-season Alicea resides in West Palm Beach, Florida with his wife Robin. They have a son Ryan, 11 and a daughter Alana, 9.
As far as the Red Sox, Alicea will never forget his experience playing in Boston.
The experience I had in Boston was great, said Alicea. We won a lot of games. We were not picked to win, but we came out of the gate winning.
During his 13-years in the Majors, Alicea also played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1988, 91-94, 96), Anaheim Angels (97), Texas Rangers (98-00), and the Kansas City Royals (01-02).
Now that Alicea has turned his attention from playing to managing, Lowell is lucky to have him. For Alicea this could be just the first stop. Ultimately his goal as a manager is the same goal he had as a player to make it to the Major Leagues.
Im very excited and its a new chapter in my career, said Alicea. I want to see if I enjoy it as much as I did playing and I think I will. I would like to hopefully one day be able to make it as a Major League manager. That's my ultimate goal, now. As a player I made it. Now I'd like to make it as a manager."
(Jon Shestakofsky contributed to this story)