Alou enjoying role as Escogido GM
Former big leaguer has team in position to win Series
MARGARITA ISLAND, Venezuela -- Former Major League All-Star Moises Alou says one of the most difficult parts of being general manager for the Dominican Republic's Leones del Escogido is sitting still during the games.
After almost 24 years in the game, he has the baseball side covered.
"It's crazy because I didn't know that being in the stands would be such a big adjustment," Alou, 43, said. "Sometimes you are sitting there watching a game and there's a lefty on the mound throwing weak stuff, and you want to get a bat in your hands. Sometimes, you see a guy just throwing fastballs down the middle against your team, and you just want to yell, 'Swing the bat!'"
The first-year general manager says he's come to grips with the fact that he can't control what happens on the field. He does believe he can control how his players approach the game.
"I wanted them to play the game the way I played the game, hard and responsible," he said. "In Winter League, guys show up one day and the other day, they don't. I don't put up with that stuff. I put up rules and they've followed them. You add a little discipline and it makes a difference."
The Alou approach has worked. During the regular season, the Leones finished the 2010 campaign with a record of 30-19 and topped the Gigantes del Cibao in the league finals in nine games. After a 7-2 win over Mexico on Saturday afternoon, Escogido leads the pack after five Caribbean Series games with a 4-1 record and is in the driver's seat heading into the final day of play Sunday.
A Caribbean Series title for Escogido would be the team's first since 1990, when Alou played in the outfield and his father, Felipe Alou, managed the team.
"I always felt this team was too good not to make it to the playoffs," Moises Alou said. "I wanted to help this team win and I'm fortunate I got the opportunity. Ownership has been great and everything I have asked for, they have given to me."
Overall, Escogido has won 13 national titles and two Caribbean Series championships. Felipe Alou, the first Major League manager from the Dominican Republic, managed the Leones to league championships in 1981, '82, '90 and '92. Phil Regan led Escogido to its first Caribbean title in '88.
"Moises is the right person now because he's the type of guy that takes the job very seriously, like he did when he was a player," said D-backs director of Latin American operations Junior Noboa, who also serves as Escogido's vice president of baseball operations. "It's been a great experience personally. We've been friends since we were kids, and to see how he's grown into a figure in the Dominican Republic is something we are all proud of."
As a player, Alou hit .303 with 332 home runs and 1,287 RBIs in 17 seasons with Pittsburgh, Montreal, Florida, Houston, the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco and the New York Mets starting in 1990, but he was slowed by injuries during the final years of his career. The six-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner was picked second overall by the Pirates in the 1986 First-Year Player Draft.
He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997 and hit .276 in 34 postseason games during his career.
Alou went 0-for-2 for the Dominican Republic team in last year's World Baseball Classic, but said he originally signed on to serve as the team's assistant general manager. Felipe Alou was the country's manager during the tournament so the younger Alou viewed the Classic as an opportunity to spend some time with his dad.
"I had offers to play after, but they weren't right for me so I hung it up," he said. "Later on, Escogido asks me to be part of new ownership and I didn't want to do that. They still wanted me involved, so I told them I wanted to be the GM. They said, 'Yes,' and here we are."
In addition to his GM duties, Alou said he's also part-time hitting coach, part-time fielding coach and part-time personal advisor to his players. Aside from the nerves that come with watching the game from the stands and the occasional run-in with agents, Alou said the transition from the field has been a smooth one.
He'd like to work in the front office in the Major Leagues in the future.
"I'm not trying to be cocky, but sometimes the agents for my players forget who they are talking to," Alou said. "They ask a lot for guys that aren't very good and ask me if I'm going to take care of their players. I played this game. I know how it works in baseball. I know how to treat people. You play this game with respect and show up, you won't have any problems with me."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.