Red Sox hold introductory press conference for new manager Alex Cora

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 20: Alex Cora /

The Boston Red Sox held a press conference at Fenway Park at noon on Monday to introduce Alex Cora as the team’s new manager.

The Boston Red Sox have officially announced Alex Cora as the 47th manager in franchise history.

While the news that Cora had been selected to replace John Farrell as manager of the Red Sox broke weeks ago, the introduction was put on hold until after the World Series. Cora served as bench coach for the champion Houston Astros, so the Red Sox rightfully delayed their announcement out of respect for the Astros organization to avoid being a distraction during the biggest moment in their franchise’s history.

A press conference was held to introduce Cora at Fenway Park this afternoon, which was broadcast on Cora sat beside president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to field questions from a room full of reporters about his return to Boston and the baseball experiences throughout his career that will aid his transition to his new role.

The big topic on everyone’s mind was Cora’s lack of experience. While he’s spent the majority of his life around baseball, this will be his first opportunity as a major league manager. Cora understands that experience is important but he doesn’t see his lack of experience as a flaw that will hold him back.

He cited his role as a utility player as a benefit that helped prepare him for a future as a manager. As a utility player, he had to always pay attention to the game and understand it from the perspective of a variety of different positions. That helped him develop a knowledge of the game that people around him praised as a trait that would lead to him being a manager long before he was ready to hang up his spikes.

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Cora may not have managerial experience himself, but he’ll be surrounded by experienced people to guide him. He pointed to his new bench coach Ron Roenicke, who managed Cora in the minor leagues, as a trustworthy option to lean on. Cora mentioned that former Red Sox manger Terry Francona taught him that the most important thing about being a manager is learning how to delegate. He knows he can’t do this job on his own, it has to be a team effort. From the front office down to the coaching staff, there are plenty of experienced voices surrounding Cora to ensure his success.

Dombrowski admitted that he was told by some potential candidates that they had no interest in managing in Boston, a city with a demanding fan base and intense media coverage that will put anyone under a microscope. That pressure doesn’t concern Cora, who played four seasons with the Red Sox and won a World Series here in 2007.

"“Boston, for a lot of people, is a challenge. For me, it’s not,” said Cora. “It’s a city that lives baseball 24/7. I come from a country that lives baseball 24/7.”"

Cora seems genuinely excited to return to Boston, a city he referred to as home. Dombrowski revealed that part of what drew him to Cora as a candidate was how much he embraces this city. While some would back away from the challenge of managing in Boston, Cora relishes the pressure and will thrive in it.

"“There’s something about this place that pushes you,” said Cora. “There’s no off-days at Fenway Park. If you need something to push you that day…look around.”"

One of the traits that Cora is best known for is his ability to relate to players. Communication is a key part of the manager role and reaching the younger core of this roster is something that Farrell struggled with.

"““Having good relationships with players is the way to go, I want players to respond to me and the city, said Cora.”"

Cora stressed the importance of everyone getting along the clubhouse. The players can’t only care about baseball, they have to care about each other. That bond between teammates creates a positive culture that teams can thrive in. Boston is an organization with a history of clubhouse issues, dating back to the days of 25 cabs for 25 guys.

Last season the team struggled to find a leader in the wake of David Ortiz‘ retirement. Players were accused of not having each other’s backs and got into embarrassing public squabbles with the media. These are not the type of scenarios that breed positive clubhouse chemistry and Cora can change that. While Farrell lost control, allowing the inmates to run the asylum, one of Cora’s most difficult tasks will be to get everyone back on the same page.

If anyone can do that, it’s Cora, who believes there is no such thing as being too close with his players. He has a way of connecting with people that can be encouraging while still commanding respect. He pointed to his close relationship with Carlos Beltran, who joined the Astros this year while Cora was serving as the team’s bench coach. While they retained their friendship, that didn’t stop Cora from showing Beltran some tough love when necessary.

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We can expect that Cora will be a very different manager than Farrell was – which is a good thing. Farrell won a World Series in Boston and captured division titles in each of the last two seasons, but a change was clearly needed. The team is pivoting in a different direction with Cora, who has the potential to bring out the best in the young core the Red Sox aim to build around.