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Out With the Old, In With the New: Cora new Sox manager

By Robert Banks

Section: Sports

November 10, 2017

In 2007, former Red Sox utility man Alex Cora was part of the World Series championship team alongside staple players like Dustin Pedroia. Ten years later, Cora hopes to achieve the same goal—as Pedroia’s manager.

On Nov. 6, Dave Dombrowski, Red Sox president of baseball operations, made the news official. With a firm handshake between the established executive and new manager, the reigns to the Red Sox were passed on to Cora, representing the start of a new chapter in Boston baseball history.

Coming off a solid year in which “they won 93 games and their second straight division title,” the Sox far from underperformed last season under former manager John Farrell (weei.com). After being ousted from the postseason by the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Series (ALDS), however, Farrell’s second consecutive loss in the ALDS evidently overshadowed his 2013 World Series triumph. This inability to perform to the organization’s lofty standards in the past few years, combined with Farrell’s ineffectiveness in engaging the veteran core of the team (as was the case with All-Star starting pitcher David Price, regarded by weei.com’s John Tomase as “the unhappiest $217 million man on the planet” while playing under Farrell) led to the manager’s demise. As Tomase bluntly puts it, faced with the decision whether to keep their star pitcher or manager around, “the Red Sox chose David Price over John Farrell” (weei.com).

In Cora, the Red Sox have found a highly capable manager with an impressive baseball I.Q. and the ability to relate to his players. Serving as the Houston Astros’ bench coach this past season, Cora is “not long removed from being on the other side of the white lines,” in more respects than one (nesn.com). Playing his last game in the MLB as recently as 2011, Cora provides the perfect foil to former manager Farrell’s strict, no-nonsense managerial policy. With the ability to bring an entirely “different voice and… different approach from John Farrell,” Cora’s addition to the Sox clubhouse represents “a change that was needed” in the Sox pursuit of multiple World Series titles in the near future (nesn.com).

In line with his plan is to “enjoy the moment…to win a big league ballgame is hard enough,” Cora is regarded as “a player’s guy” by current Astros center fielder and former player under Cora’s coaching George Springer (nesn.com). This positive approach to the game and clubhouse is likely what attracted the Boston front office to their new skipper. With 13 years of MLB experience under his belt and a well-trained, tested baseball mind above it, Cora has the ability to cultivate greatness within Astros youngsters Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman by teaching from his own experiences as a small fish in the large Big League pond. This ability serves to promote the notion that Cora will be able to do the same within Boston’s young core. The Red Sox front office will be hopeful that Cora can help the Red Sox young talents (outfielders Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., along with infielder Xander Bogaerts) ascend to stardom.

Despite Cora having never served as a Major League manager before (he was the Astros’ bench coach, not the manager), Dombrowski was impressed with his new leader’s baseball intelligence, stating, “It was apparent with [Cora’s] intellect and feel for the game that managing at the Major League level was not a major obstacle” (mlb.com).

Legendary two-time World Series champion and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who led the Sox during Cora’s entire tenure as a player on the squad, is said to have known “more than a decade ago… [that] Alex Cora would one day occupy a Major League Baseball manager’s office” (nesn.com). The Red Sox front office is optimistic that Cora will reproduce his former manager Francona’s genuine care for his players, with Cora openly admitting that “having that good relationship with players is not bad [because this allows you to] get the best out of them.” The office is justifiably confident that Cora will be able to use his experience as a player to relate to his new team and ultimately lead the Sox to glory in the near future.

Excited to embrace the city of Boston once again, new hire Alex Cora is ready to embark on his new journey as manager of the Red Sox. From his days as a player, Cora knows how special the city of Boston is, recounting, “There’s something about this place that pushes you. If you need something to push you… you look around and the fans are going to be here… [to] push you to be your best” (bostonherald.com). Just as the Red Sox faithful will support their new manager to the ends of the Earth, granted he brings the required results, Cora must be able to support his players with unconditional genuineness in a manner former manager Farrell failed to. Holding firmly to his special ability to relate to his players and understanding of baseball, Cora is set to achieve his ultimate goal of bringing more World Series championships to Boston in the near future.

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