Midweek With Murr: Red Sox Hire Alex Cora

The Boston Red Sox have hired former manager Alex Cora to manage the team going forward; there is a lot to unpack with that statement. Let’s start with the positives. Alex Cora was hired by the Boston Red Sox before the 2018 season and found immediate success. The Red Sox finished with an MLB best 108–54 record and ended up securing a World Series title. This alone solidified Cora’s place in Red Sox history.

After a mediocre 2018, Cora was not ripe for criticism; however, the Astros sign-stealing scandal from 2017 was linked to Cora, and all of a sudden he was a disgrace to the Boston community. A rising star in the managerial world was struck down abruptly and irrationally.

Then, the Red Sox completely bombed the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season. The idea of a return to greatness for a franchise that has been eternally cursed seemed to forgive all doubts for Cora and name him the manager of the Red Sox for the foreseeable future. Is that a good move?

Yes, in this low clouted columnist’s opinion it is. As a competitive baseball player throughout the almost varsity collegiate level, a sign-stealing scandal is sincerely on the tame level of atrocities seen on the Amateur Athletic Union Baseball circuit.; however, the use of electronic devices to further the sign-stealing did cross a line.

When thinking about the AAU Baseball days or the mid-2010-era, sign stealing was apparent and encouraged, and this is a good attribute. If in high levels of competition a coach was calling balls and strikes, a baserunner and also those who are on the bench ought to steal the signs of their opponents. This is part of the game; coaches who are afraid of signs being stolen elevate the complexity of the signs being signaled to the opposing team must raise the complexity of their signs; however, what happens in a professional setting with the use of cameras and technology is on a different level, and Cora took the brunt of the blame for the Astros.

A scandal that could have been the end of two managers’ careers turns out to be a one-year hiatus, and besides losing some draft picks, all those involved in the Astros sign-stealing scandal come out relatively unscathed from the laws of the MLB; but, escaping further punishment from the league is only one less thing to worry about. Cora will face chastising from opposing fans when they travel to away games, and will likely have a short leash. If he fails with the Red Sox, he will have a tough time finding a new managerial job as his overall reputation is still tarnished. This is an especially scary thought when considering the lack of talent, especially on the mound, for the Red Sox.

Despite this uncertainty, I believe he is the right man for the job. The clubhouse respects him, the fan base loves him, and he is an exceptional manager. If he finds success in this era of Red Sox baseball, he will rise to the level of Terry Francona in the minds of Boston fans. If he doesn’t, he will still be associated with the 2018 team, so it can’t be too bad.