Red Sox: Alex Cora prepared to wear the Scarlet Letter for 2017 scandal
New Red Sox manager Alex Cora knows his mistakes and owns up to them
Just three days after the Red Sox announced that Alex Cora would once again be manning the helm of the franchise, Boston’s new manager spoke to the media. The second-time skipper took part in a media day alongside CBO Chaim Bloom and General Manager Brian O’Halloran where they fielded a variety of questions. Obviously, the biggest elephant in the room was Cora’s recent suspension for his involvement in Houston’s 2017 sign-stealing scandal and his punishment.
AC has never been shy about his regret for being involved in what the Astros were going and for the part of the plan that he was responsible for. Granted, as I will always remind folks, Houston was being incredibly shady well before Cora got to town, he merely added some more ingredients to the recipe. Now that his one-year suspension has concluded and he’s back in the game he wanted to make it clear that he’s remorseful while also taking on the weight of what he did.
"“I know there are a lot of people that I disappointed, and for that, I’m sorry. And also, I’m telling those people that, ‘Hey, I’m still Alex. I made a mistake. I still love the game. I love what I do.’ I promise you that from now on, I’m going to use this experience the right way. I’m not proud of it. I’m not happy about it. But we have to move on.”"
When the news broke on Friday I knew it was a matter of time before Red Sox Nation began making their voices heard. I’ll say this, for the most part, I’m seeing a decent amount of excitement for Cora to make his return, while there is that vocal minority. Between Friday afternoon’s edition of WEEI’s “OMF,” and the always lovely comment section on any site with an article relating to Cora, there are those out there that can’t move past what happened in Houston.
Again, he wasn’t some evil mastermind ala James Bond, but he had his hand in the cookie jar. Despite that, he’s seemingly learned from his mistakes, understands his current situation, and realizes that he’s on thin ice and can’t step out of line. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be some tamed version of himself, it just means he will make sure the team stays in the good graces of MLB.
"“I think as a leader, as a person that enjoys the game and loves to manage, I put this organization in a tough spot, and for that, I’m sorry,” Cora said. “I was humbled by this whole situation. I learned a lot throughout the year.”"
As the media session went on it also became clear that Alex won’t stray away from his aggressive style of management. When he was asked about some issues that he saw from the 2020 season he pointed out things that the team was missing on, namely strong at-bats and smart base running. Those may seem like obvious answers but they’re also things that the roster did extremely well under him that they were miserable at executing during this past campaign.
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I have no doubts that with him back in the manager’s chair that we will see a lot more of 2018 than 2020 in the upcoming season. Having Cora back in the clubhouse will give this team the jolt of electricity that they desperately needed last year. Not that Ron Roenicke isn’t a competent manager but he just doesn’t offer that energy that AC brings to the table.
Time will tell in regards to the success or failure of this team. For all we know, this lineup may look very different come spring training. I’m sure Bloom will be incredibly busy this offseason trying to find those missing puzzle pieces to get this squad back to its winning ways. As his deal stands now, he’s got two years to show that he wasn’t just a flash in the pan back in 2018. And if all goes well, the Red Sox can pick up options for 2023 as well as 2024. But as we all know, if Boston puts up another abysmal season in 2021, that thin ice he’s on may begin to crack.
When all is said and done I truly feel that the best option for the Red Sox going forward was to bring back Alex Cora. The way that he relates to the players is something that we don’t see every day from a coach or manager. He’s respected as a leader in this organization but still carries the air of being “one of the boys,” in the clubhouse. For Cora, this season is about more than just wins and losses. It’s about showing his growth as a manager, a mentor, and as a man.