Red Sox: Concerns About Alex Cora’s Confrontation Are Overblown
It is said that the manager of a baseball team should have the most even demeanor in the room. But does Red Sox manager Alex Cora possess the right temperament?
NBC Sports’ Even Drellich reported yesterday that Red Sox manager Alex Cora had a verbal altercation with Houston Astros broadcaster Geoff Blum and later with manager AJ Hinch.
The report states that on August 31st of last season, Cora was seen by many players and coaches on the team bus cursing out Blum after being asked to turn the music down. Later when manager AJ Hinch tried to calm down his bench coach, Cora lashed out at his superior as well.
The report also stated that Cora had been drinking, but there is no rule barring the consumption of alcohol on travel days and no previous evidence to suggest that Cora has ever had an issue with alcohol.
These reports surfaced almost a month after Cora’s official hiring, and Boston was unaware of the altercation at the time of hire.
These actions, however you view them to be, are unacceptable. However, I will give Cora the benefit of the doubt. It was almost September, the Houston hadn’t been playing well, finishing August with an 11-17 record.
It is easy to understand why emotions were running high on this day. The team was just returning from their relocated games in Florida following the physical and emotional damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
For Cora especially, emotions were through the roof. He was able to see first hand the damage Hurricane Harvey had done to his home away from home. But his true home is his native Puerto Rico, an island that is still home to most of Cora’s family.
Thoughts of tragedy were racing through Cora’s mind regarding the well-being of his loved ones. Those thoughts coupled with alcohol and Houston’s poor play made for an unfortunate decision for Cora.
Regardless, lack of respect for authority and poor judgement displayed by Cora on this day did damage to his reputation as a coach and communicator. The judgement shown is equal to that of Red Sox pitcher David Price, who so notably got into an altercation on a team charter with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.
Drellich made a good point in stating that Cora did not deflect the question to Houston’s World Series victory. He took ownership for his decision and there are no hard feelings between he and Hinch or any of the players.
They were all able to move past the heat-of-the-moment encounter and learn from it. Cora taking responsibility for his actions and facing them head-on is an honorable trait you’d crave in any managerial candidate.
Cora was brought here to keep order in the clubhouse and for a change of pace. He is worshiped for his skills as a communicator, particularly with younger players.
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Showing a lack of respect for authority in perhaps a time of weakness should not define Alex Cora given his reputation. Despite this incident Cora is still going to be a very good manager for the Boston Red Sox.