Red Sox Manager Alex Cora “The Making Of A Champion”

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora holds the World Series trophy during the 2018 World Series victory parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora holds the World Series trophy during the 2018 World Series victory parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

MLB Network did a documentary on Alex Cora’s remarkable first season as a manager when he led the Boston Red Sox to a World Series title.

When Alex Cora was hired to be the manager of the Boston Red Sox it was adding that young new voice to the clubhouse. He didn’t care about winning divisions or having 100+ wins, all that mattered was a World Series Championship.

Tuesday night, MLB Network airedAlex Cora The Making Of A Champion.” It gave a summary of Cora’s life in Caguas, Puerto Rico growing up. He’s the first Puerto Rican born manager to win a World Series. The beginning of the documentary talked about Cora’s time as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and winning the World Series with the Red Sox in 2007. It also talked about how he was a bit of a mentor for up-and-coming second baseman Dustin Pedroia in 2007.

Cora interviewed for the Detroit Tigers managerial job before he interviewed with the Red Sox. After his interview with the Tigers, Cora called his brother Joey to tell him he bombed the interview. But his brother told him to treat it like batting practice and that isn’t the job he wanted anyway. Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports had this quote from Joey Cora:

"“I remember that. I wasn’t worried about that one. That wasn’t going to happen. Don’t worry about it. This is just like batting practice. You got your feet wet this year. You took your swings. Now something else is going to come up,” Joey Cora said."

All along Cora wanted the Red Sox managerial job. He interviewed for the Red Sox opening after the 2017 ALDS when the Sox fired John Farrell. Owner John Henry thought Cora was too confident during the interview.

After Cora was hired he met with all of the players. At the beginning of January, Cora met with Mookie Betts to let him know he would be leading off all season. He also told Betts to be more aggressive at the plate and not to be afraid to swing at the first pitch. In the 2017 ALDS, Cora saw the Sox were taking too many pitches and the Astros used that to their advantage. But in 2018, Cora took that information and brought it to the Red Sox. Betts had a great season in 2018 and won the AL MVP Award.

Cora talked about the release of Hanley Ramirez, a move made to open a roster spot for Dustin Pedroia. Ramirez is only good for his at-bats and he’s no good on the bench so Cora released him. This was after the Red Sox had made their mark with a strong 17-2  record to begin the season.

The Red Sox were the first to 100 wins and won 108 games on the season. But all that mattered was what they did when the playoffs started.

It started with the Yankees in the ALDS. The Sox really beat them well all season and that carried over in October. They won that series and were about to play the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Every decision Cora made in the postseason worked to their advantage. From putting starting pitchers into relief roles in the late innings to pinch-hitting players at the right time. The Sox won the ALCS and were on to play the Dodgers in the World Series.

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In Game One of the series, Cora pinch-hit for Rafael Devers. The Dodgers made a pitching change and sent out Alex Wood to the mound. Cora sent Eduardo Nunez to the plate instead and he hit a three-run home run. Cora told Nunez before the game to be ready to go in, depending on who was coming to the mound that night to pitch.

The Sox would go up 2-0 heading to Los Angeles for Game Three. The 18-inning Game Three Dodger win seemed like a Red Sox win for the guys in the clubhouse. Nathan Eovaldi was supposed to start Game Four but he had to come into relief and pitched the game of his life. After the Game Three loss, Cora told him that people aren’t going to remember who won this game but they’ll remember Nathan Eovaldi. Cora felt after that Game Three loss they would win the World Series.

The Sox won the World Series and the completed the great 2018 season. Cora had a picture for every win in his office, the last of which was the group picture on the field after winning the World Series.

As he and the team turn the page to 2019, Cora did say he would reach out to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for advice for entering a season after winning a championship. Cora said they’ll do things differently from the 2018 season and there won’t be pictures of every win on his wall but he’ll think of something else.

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Expect Cora to bring that same energy to the 2019 season. In order for the Sox to repeat as World Series Champions, they need to turn the page on 2018 and look ahead to the upcoming season. They’ll make changes and have a good run in 2019 but it will be a test for Cora and the Sox to see how they come out this season after winning it all last year.