The Boston Red Sox will eventually be faced with firing manager Alex Cora since that is the way of baseball. Maybe history will change and Cora will be “Manager for Life.”
What audacity or plain foolishness to even contemplate such nonsense as firing Red Sox Manager Alex Cora. Cora’s magnificent managerial escapades where tantamount to a player being a combination of Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays.
Cora may not have received the coveted Manager of the Year Award, but sometimes the best of Broadway don’t get a Tony Award or a splendid film is tossed an Academy Award Best Film shutout. Cora did it all. A steady clubhouse, fantastic roster manipulation, and dashing through the playoffs without even a speed bump – but he will be fired.
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Terry Francona was raised to local sainthood status after the 2004 season. That status was further cemented with another precious flag flying above Fenway Park after the 2007 season. Manager for life. Jocular, hard-working to a fault, and eventually fired. Yes, I know, a technicality since he was not “fired,” but there was a parting of the ways. Like saying a junker used car is pre-owned.
Teams make managerial errors and the Red Sox made a brutal one in putting Bobby Valentine in charge. The top of the food chain players such as Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz just simmered as Valentine eventually fell victim to a palace revolt. No need for any “Beer and chicken” with Bobby as the team underperformed or in the vernacular of the locals – “We sucked!”
A savior was needed to help resurrect a baseball Titanic and that was John Farrell. Farrell was somewhat of a protegé of Francona, but his managerial approach was more hands on. And that could mean ‘Hands on.” Clay Buchholz was terrified by Farrell, but the results were obvious. The inmates no longer controlled the asylum – a new sheriff or warden was in town. And a new flag was raised. Another manager for life?
Farrell is now a historical footnote for the Red Sox, but despite being canned has a distinction that Joe Cronin, Joe McCarthy, and Lou Boudreau do not – he won in Boston and the other three despite incredible roster talent and Tom Yawkey money, did not. It is tough to win in Boston, and tougher to survive – just ask Francona and Farrell who are now part of the “What have you done for me lately?” school of managers.
Cora starts the season with a bag full of chits. After 2018 it will take some real internal and external issues to pry Cora out of the seat. But in Boston, things deteriorate rapidly. Unlike the illustrious Connie Mack who was a manager for life – Mack owned the team – Cora is vulnerable to the whims of management who – no surprise – seem to place much face value on the ramblings of the media and fans.
So the Red Sox eventually will do the managerial inevitable and fire Cora. Not in the near future, but it will happen. And Cora knows it will happen. Francona, Valentine, and Farrell all were fired here and with Francona and Valentine, it was also elsewhere. It is often called a managerial-go-around for a reason. Maybe Cora will be the exception, but the Vegas odds would be staggering. Meantime Cora can win another title – he has the horses, the experience, and the respect to do it. But, for now, Cora is “Manager for Life.”