My ingredient into the Chowdah not too long ago was a call for Alex Cora to be the next manager of the Boston Red Sox. Turns out, Dave Dombrowski and the organization took my advice (not really, but makes me look good, doesn’t it?!)
Cora was introduced to the media last Monday and I had a rare opportunity to spend a few minutes with the new Sox skipper one-on-one. I waited in a line of other media outlets wanting to talk with Cora, and lucky for me, I was able to score one of his first interviews wearing his new/old uniform.
What struck me during the interview, and throughout the introduction, was Cora’s demeanor. This man seemed poised and at ease in his new role. My first question to Cora was, “You’re the new manager of the Boston Red Sox, and yet, that doesn’t seem to faze you. Why is that?” Cora responded, “I’m comfortable here.”
I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised. Cora was a quality utility infielder from 2005-2008 and won a world championship in 2007 with this organization. That’s a big reason why I believed he was a good fit for the job: he knows what it takes to win in Boston.
Cora continued to say all the right things in our conversation. I asked him about managing personalities, specifically learning from his experience as a teammate of Manny Ramirez. Cora responded, “We worked hard to keep Manny in a good place…and a good place is winning baseball.”
We talked some analytics and blending both the numbers & the eyes to what you’re seeing on the field. He mentioned his time in Houston a lot during the day and why not? He was coming off a weekend celebration of a World Series title as Astros bench coach.
Cora’s approach coming out of Houston seems to a “buddy-buddy” philosophy. That means he believes it’s okay for the manager to be friends with the players he’s managing. That could be a good thing…or it could be a bad thing. It’s certainly a different style from the previous man to hold the job, John Farrell. Will players respond when Cora needs to be stern or harsh? How will a sensitive personality like David Price take to his new leader? We’ll find out those answers quickly.
Personally, I think the Sox need to be a little looser and a little more fun, and this style may help to do that. I mean, think about it…besides the outfield dance after victories, what made this squad stand out last season? I can’t think of anything. Fans need something to draw them in. A clubhouse run by Cora could aid that.
The inexperience is an obvious question mark with the new skipper. He’s never managed in the big leagues before. Cora, from Puerto Rico, saying in his press conference, “Boston for a lot of people is a challenge, but for me, it’s not. This is a city that lives baseball 24/7. I come from a country that lives baseball 24/7.”
The confidence is there for the new leader of the Red Sox and I like it. We’ll see what happens when his team experiences its first losing streak…maybe his tune changes, maybe not. But Cora’s not going into this job afraid at all of what’s to come and is embracing what lies ahead. That’s a positive sign.
Alex Cora is the 47th manager of the Red Sox, and he returns calm, cool & collected in his attempt to bring Boston back to World Series glory.