The Red Sox Finally (Re)Introduce Alex Cora

The presser kept getting pushed back due to Houston’s advancement in the postseason, but after their World Series win last Wednesday and subsequent celebrations, there was no more postponing. The World Series hadn’t even begun two weeks ago when they initially announced his appointment. And today, Alex Cora was finally introduced to the media as the newest manager of the Red Sox.

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Key moments and quotes you might have missed:

Baseball is about analytics now more than ever

  • Dombrowski said that Cora being, “present in analytics… very contemporary in that regard” was a key reason for his hiring. The Sox are going modern, y’all!
  • “This is an organization that’s gonna work hand in hand with the analytic department.”

It’s not a popularity contest, but Cora would win.

  • “Leadership… communication… respect… quality baseball man” – how Dombrowski described Alex Cora
  • Teams don’t hire managers based on likeability, but apparently “everyone… front office… clubhouse… from a player perspective, young players, veteran players, alumni… ideal type of leader for the Boston Red Sox organization”
  • Cora sounded both excited and a little apprehensive (understandable), saying, “It’s a perfect situation. I never thought it was gonna happen this quick, honestly.”

On his coaching staff:

  • “they relate to me, they’re gonna be an extension of me… we’re gonna connect with players, be genuine and be accessible, that’s the most important thing.”
  • “You have to delegate. You have to trust your coaches… I’m gonna delegate because I can’t do it all. Like I said before, this is a gonna be a team effort.”
  • “I’m going to encourage my coaching staff to get close to players.”

On how he’ll work with his team:

  • “My goal is for this team to pay attention to details. Show up every day and try to take advantage of certain situations during the game, either base running, defensively, offensive, or pitching.”
  • “Having a good relationship with players is not bad. And doing that, you’re going to get the best out of them. People might think that crossing that line is not helpful, but I see it the other way around, and I lived it… I want players to respond to me, respond to the city, and if we do that, we’re gonna be in good shape.”
  • “Too close to players, that doesn’t exist… Carlos Beltran, I played with [him], against [him]… we became good friends. I have a great relationship with Carlos off the field… although Carlos was huge for the Houston Astros, as far as like, the performance wasn’t what we wanted, and I had to be honest with him, and we’d talk and we’re still close… the whole thing about drawing the line, they understand that, but at the same time, they’re human beings.”
  • “When Dustin Pedroia is healthy, he can help any baseball team… I’m happy he’s on my team.”

On Boston:

  • “[This team] won back to back division titles, but at the end of the day, in this city, everybody wants to win a World Series championship.” Dude’s been here, played here, he knows how Boston works. Not sugarcoating or skirting the topic from the get-go is a sign of a good, honest leader.
  • “For a lot of people, it’s a challenge, but for me, it’s not. This is a city that, you know, I understand, they live baseball 24/7… I come from a country that, we live baseball 24/7.”

On being the first “minority manager”:

  • He spoke in Spanish during the presser when he talked about his family and Puerto Rico, which was both beautiful and definitely a first for a Red Sox manager
  • “I always said, the last few years, I’m a capable manager. It was gonna come down to somebody giving me that opportunity… I’m proud to be Puerto Rican… you guys will see it, you know… but I see it that I’m a capable guy… throughout the game, there’s not too many Latino managers, there’s not too many minority managers, but there’s 30 capable managers, and I’m one of them.”

On his lack of managerial experience:

  • “I understand experience is important… I was a utility guy, and I was managed by a lot of good ones… I’m surrounded by people from top to bottom that have experience… It’s not about just me, it’s about the staff that is around me… I’m going to be fine; I’m gonna have a blast doing it too.”

On being a former Red Sock:

  • “I think it’s very important that I already lived the Red Sox Nation experience. To come back, it’s amazing… People, they live baseball here 24/7, and I understand that… they want to talk about this team, and I’m going be able to talk about this team. That is an obstacle, that’s pressure? I don’t see it that way, I just see it as an opportunity.”

On managing the Red Sox instead of the other open managerial positions: 

  • “They move fast!… All the teams that call, great teams, great situations, but this, you know, I played here. This feels like, this is home for me… to come here and win a championship, being part of this atmosphere was amazing… [there’s] something about this place that pushes you, there’s no off-days here at Fenway Park… the fans will be here, and they gonna push you to be the best…”

Did anyone else feel confident and pumped up as hell after that presser? Alex Cora is awesome. Open, honest, genuine, and young, in the best way. His modus operandi of being close with players while dishing out the tough love is exactly what this young team needs. He handled the media well, though the calm waters of an introductory presser are usually smooth sailing. Cora took and answered questions in both Spanish and English, which I’m sure will further endear him to his new players, many of whom do not speak English as their first language. Someone get Dombrowski a Rosetta Stone.

I have to wonder how Cora feels. On the one hand, he’s leaving an incredible team that many are saying could win it all again next year. In my opinion, it’s way too early to speculate on the next postseason, though obviously, GO RED SOX. On the other hand, Cora is returning to a team with whom he won the 2007 World Series, one of the oldest, most storied, incredible franchises in the entire league. I’m sure he must feel conflicted, but I just hope he’s as excited as we are to start this new chapter! I have a good feeling about this guy…

Welcome home, Mr. Manager!

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