Cora Re-Introduced to the Boston Media
“A huge welcome home to Alex [Cora] and his family. We are ecstatic to have you back at Fenway where you belong. It’s a great day for the franchise,” said Boston Red Sox Team President and CEO Sam Kennedy as the team welcomed back manager Alex Cora at his re-introductory press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The Red Sox, represented by Kennedy, Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom and General Manager Brian O’Halloran, re-introduced Cora to the Boston media following his season-long suspension for his involvement in the 2017 Houston Astros sign-stealing investigation. Cora’s opening statement immediately addressed his regret for his actions as well as putting the organization in a tough spot back in January.
“I was humbled by the situation. I learned a lot throughout the year,” Cora noted. “[Spending time with my family] was great for them, it was great for me, but I was there for all the wrong reasons; I’m not proud of that… Thank you for trusting me and let’s get back to work.”
Cora Faces the Music
Alex Cora was asked early on if he ever imagined this day could come where he’d find himself managing the Red Sox again.
“When the suspension happened this was the last thing on my mind,” said Cora. “I never thought it was going to happen.”
The new hire was coy in referencing his operation in Houston. He couldn’t beat around the bush completely, however, as he was peppered with questions about his tactics in 2017. While he wouldn’t cite specifics, he did comment on the way he coached the Astros. Cora noted that good leaders put their guys in positions to be successful, but the way he went about this in Houston as the bench coach was not the right way; once again apologizing for his actions.
Cora was later asked what kept him from bringing his scheme to Boston when he took the job as manager ahead of 2018. He went into detail about how ownership made it abundantly clear in Spring Training how there wasn’t going to be any tolerance for anything of the sort as they found themselves in hot water in 2017 as well. The team was busted for attempting to steal signs via an Apple Watch under John Farrell’s watch the season before Cora arrived.
Cora began his response by saying he didn’t feel he needed to bring the same tactics to this team. He finally landed on the final answer that “it wasn’t worth it.”
Bloom’s Hiring Process
The questions eventually shifted focus to Bloom on the hiring process and what led to Cora’s return. He laid out exactly what he was thinking before meeting with Cora for the first time since his suspension was lifted.
“You need to make sure you get every question answered that’s on your mind, and that you ask everything you need to ask,” Bloom explained. “Not just for determining his fit as a manager but because this is a big deal what happened.”
It was evident that Bloom wasn’t sold on the 2018 World Series Champion right away. Bloom also made it clear that this was his decision to make, not ownership.
“I’m not sure anybody is going to believe me but I’ll tell you the truth anyway,” he joked. “It was necessary to know how [ownership] felt but they also made sure that I knew that if baseball operations felt differently then that was okay too… they were going to fully back whatever decision [baseball operations] came to.”
Bloom also noted that the hiring of A.J. Hinch to the Detroit Tigers was not a factor in the decision to bring back Cora.
Eyes on 2021
Moving ahead to the 2021 season, Alex Cora was asked about what needs to change from the 2020 Red Sox. He said bluntly that “as a fan, it was tough to watch” the Red Sox this season.
One of his more criticized methods as a manager was the way Cora managed the 2019 Spring Training. Hot off a World Series win he took a very slow approach going into the next season. He didn’t throw his starters much and was slowly ramping up his stars. Consequently, the team came out flat and never really recovered. Cora has had a complete 180 on his mindset. He insinuated that his team will need to be much more prepared for Opening Day. He cited teams like the San Diego Padres and the Tampa Bay Rays. Cora made note of how fast those teams play and they’ll need to be up to that level.
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