Alex Cora thought one day he might come back to baseball – maybe in two or three years. But not as fast as the manager of the Boston Red Sox, the team he sent to the 2018 World Cup.
Cora and the Red Sox broke up in January after it was discovered that Cora had played an important role in developing ways to use the Houston Astros’ reading room for illegal signage when he coached the team on the bench in 2017. In the nine-page report of commissioner Rob Manfred, Cora’s name was mentioned eleven times. In April, MLB officially suspended Cora from the World Series.
When the suspension took place, the last thing Cora said at a press conference in Fenway Park on Tuesday was that he was reinstated as manager of the Red Sox. I had a lot of personal things to take care of, taking care of my family, and baseball was far from my bed.
Cora apologized for her role in the astrosign theft scandal and said it had been a difficult year.
I spent time in my house for the wrong reasons, he said. I deserve what happened this year. I’m not proud of it. … In the end, I got my sentence and I served it.
After the end of the World Series, there was much speculation that the Red Sox would reinstate Cora as interim manager of Ron Roynke, but both Cora and Red Sox baseball boss Chaim Bloom said it was unlikely that Cora would get the job. The Boston front office interviewed several candidates, but the key to his return was of course Cora’s success and popularity with players and fans.
In Cora’s first year, 2018, the Red Sox broke the club record of 108 players, defeated two teams of 100 players, the Yankees and Astros, and made the jump to the World Series, eventually beating the Dodgers in five games. In 2019, the Red Sox dropped to 84-78, but Cora’s 192 victories are still the fourth most important of the manager’s first two seasons.
However, Cora had to react and explain its role in the events of 2017. When Bloom met Cora, he said that you have to make sure you get an answer to every question you have in mind, that you ask everything you need to ask. Not only to determine his suitability as a manager, but also because it was an important event that affected all of us.
Cora described the interview process as intensive. It really was. It was hard. He said there were some difficult questions. Then he had to wait. Gradually I started to feel a little excited because they were going through this process. I didn’t have a job. If that doesn’t happen, you’ll be fine. You’ll spend time with your family. … But I wasn’t 100% sure that would happen.
When asked if he knew then that what the Astros were doing was wrong, Cora answered that she didn’t want to go into the details of 2017, but said that the way we did it with the group there was wrong. He said the cheating scandal would be part of what he would be for the rest of his life. I don’t want people to see this as a great comeback story, he said.
Cora, 45, said he saw a lot of baseball during his suspension, including many Red Sox games. In 2020, the team surpassed the level of 24-36, which is the worst indicator of franchise profit since 1965. The team swapped Mookie Betts and David Price for a few younger players to create more financial flexibility for the future, and then saw rookies Chris Salé and Eduardo Rodriguez miss the entire season.
As a fan, because that’s how I became the summer, it was hard to watch, says Cora. I care a lot about this organization, and it was hard to see them fight the way they do.
This recovery process is expected to continue during the off-season. Cora stressed that the team had to improve its depth and athletics in order to compete with World Series teams such as the Dodgers and Flight. J.D. Martinez (MPC 213) and Andrew Benintindi (MPC 103), who became World Series champions in 2018, were also affected by the pitiful cuts of the season.