Former Indians power-hitter extraordinaire Albert “Don’t Call Me Joey” Belle made a surprise appearance at Cleveland’s Goodyear, AZ spring training camp earlier today, his first contact with the Tribe since leaving the club in 1996 for the White Sox. “I wanted to see the guys. I wanted to rehash some old memories,” Belle told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a crying shame Fernando Vina and Hannah Storm couldn’t have been on hand for the reunion.
“When I got hurt in 2000 and couldn’t play in 2001, I was devastated,” said Belle. “I didn’t watch. I didn’t watch any highlights of baseball until Game 7 when the D-Backs won the World Series. I keep up with it now and watch a few games.”
“I’m a stay-at-home Dad,” continued Belle. “I’m Mr. Mom and I golf a lot. I’ll tell you facing David Cone or Roger Clemens was easy compared to being a dad. It seems like all kids get tired and cranky at the same time.”
Not surprisingly, his daughters can swing the bat.
“My wife bought them a little t-ball set,” said Belle. “They love to go hit t-ball. I’d like them to play golf or tennis, but they’d rather hit the t-ball.”
Belle didn’t think there was a problem between the Indians and him.
“I thought the fences were already mended,” said Belle. “That was a long time ago. That’s the thing about free agency. It can create some bad feelings. I would have loved to play with these guys (Lofton, Baerga and Alomar) another five to 10 years. It didn’t work that way. But we’ve all gone on to have some success.”