“This is where I wanted to be. This is where I am, ”Cora said last week. “I love every second and I’m not going to take it for granted.
Cora has become one of Boston’s most popular sports figures after leading the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2018, her first season at the director’s seat at Fenway Park. When Boston sacked Cora after the Astros’ trash strike plan was dismantled, many Red Sox players expressed disappointment that Cora was no longer their manager.
“He’s someone we all loved playing for, and I just loved sitting down and having a good conversation with him, baseball-wise,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said in January. “He will be someone who will be sorely missed, especially me. ”
If there was any doubt the Red Sox club would kiss Cora after the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal, those questions were quickly answered as spring training began.
“You know everything we’ve been through, winning the World Series in 2018, I’m just happy he’s back,” said pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. “He’s like a father, like a brother. Sometimes I feel like a teammate when I talk to him, and that’s part of the relationship we have together and we can make it better. We will improve it. ”
Even when Cora was not managing the Red Sox, Chris Sale said he maintains regular communication with the skipper, especially as he begins his rehabilitation after Tommy John’s surgery.
When asked to describe the impact of Cora’s return to the team, Sale invoked the words camaraderie, confidence and passion. Around the Red Sox clubhouse, Sale is known as a leadership figure who brings an old-school approach to the game (regularly seen wearing an “All me, PED free” t-shirt) and doesn’t speak clichés.
“He wants to win, he’s doing everything to improve himself, the coaching staff, the team, the organization,” Sale said. “Being able to have this confidence in the captain, he’s the one who runs the series, he’s the one who puts the alignments in place, he makes the pitch changes and has this confidence knowing that he supports you until the end. . ”
This year, Cora brings a season of pent-up enthusiasm and excitement for baseball that he couldn’t channel by watching games from his couch instead of the dugout, which he hopes can help Boston avoid. a repeat of the last place of 2020. finish in the American League East.
“I’m going to do it the same way I did in ’18 and ’19,” Cora said. “Confident, with conviction, and trying to put these guys in situations to be successful. This is how I know how to do it. That’s what I’m doing, and let’s see where it takes us. ”