There’s no baseball, and likely will not be any for some time, which means that we all have ample time to sit around our homes, rewatch old sports games, overeat, and… speculate wildly about what a certain disgraced former manager’s tweets might mean.
I, of course, am talking about Alex Cora.
After laying relatively low on Baseball Twitter the last few months since he and the Red Sox “mutually agreed to part ways,” tonight Cora replied to the official Red Sox Twitter account, not once, but twice. Up until now, he’s mainly stuck to music and philanthropic efforts for his beloved birthplace, Puerto Rico. But tonight, he engaged. First, with a photo of pitcher Nathan Eovaldi mid-clap, and then with a gif of himself, emphatically clapping during a game, probably because Rafael Devers had done something to earn himself some ice cream.
I’m still not quite sure how to feel about the man many Sox fans still call “Our Manager.” He was so instantly beloved by fans, myself included. But he admitted to cheating with the Astros. The findings of the investigation into him and the 2018 Red Sox have still not been released for the public’s consumption, which has been a fun additional bout of torture for Red Sox Nation. Cora’s actions and subsequent departure from the Red Sox shocked and devastated fans, who have had to suffer through a laundry list of goodbyes beyond their control this offseason. Cora was supposed to be the captain of the ship, guiding them through losing Porcello, Price, Brock, and Mookie, and instead, he was out the door with them. You can, of course, feel conflicted about losing someone. You can be mad at someone, and still be sad that they’re gone, and you can wish and hope they come back.
None of us have any clue when baseball will be back, or if it could come back. During the offseason, which feels like a lifetime ago, media members speculated that Cora would likely get a year-long suspension from the game, same as former Astros manager and GM AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. And Commissioner Manfred has stated that those punishments remain tied to this year, whether or not baseball is played in 2020. So if their suspensions are virtually meaningless and Hinch and Luhnow will still be allowed to return in 2021 (if any team is actually desperate enough to take them on), Cora should be, too. There’s no statute of limitations to run out, or precedent for this sort of situation, because even World War II couldn’t shut baseball down. But the delay of his punishment is due to a global pandemic, something beyond Cora, Manfred, or any man’s control; it shouldn’t add to his time in baseball purgatory.
Maybe it’s just life without sports that has me romanticizing a potential Cora return, or the fact that it was easy for the Astros to turn their former bench coach into a scapegoat to lessen their own punishments. Or maybe it’s that he was so beloved by his players and fans, and that he was supposed to be our manager for years to come and build us a true dynasty. And maybe Cora and the Red Sox secretly agreed that eventually, he’d be welcomed back with fanfare, to open arms, damned what the haters say. Maybe living in a global pandemic, isolated from one another, without sports for almost a month, with many more months still to come, has minimized the drama of the offseason by comparison. It’s likely a combination of all of the above.
Or maybe Cora, like many of us, has simply reached the point in self-quarantine at which he’s bored enough to reach out to an ex.