Plenty of people are excited about Alex Cora taking over as the Boston Red Sox’s new manager. But there’s an obvious question to ask a 42-year-old with zero big-league managing experience while he’s being introduced as the first Hispanic manager in the Red Sox’s 107-year history:
Does he know what he’s getting into?
We’re referring, of course, to the immense pressure that comes with managing in Boston, a city that demands success and runs out of town those who don’t succeed. But a confident Cora appeared ready to embrace that pressure Monday during his introductory press conference at Fenway Park.
“Boston, for a lot of people, is a challenge, but for me, it’s not,” Cora told a crowded room of reporters. “This is a city that — I understand they live baseball 24/7. But you know what? I come from a country (Puerto Rico) that — we live baseball 24/7. In my family, for breakfast we talk baseball. For lunch we talk baseball and for dinner, too.”
Besides being a baseball junkie, Cora also knows the Boston sports landscape firsthand. The utility infielder spent four seasons with the Red Sox from 2005 to 2008, helping the club win a World Series title in 2007. Obviously, playing half of a team’s games is quite different than managing an entire roster, but Cora believes his time as a player in Boston can help him determine how to set the tone as a manager.
“I think it’s very important that I already lived the ‘Red Sox Nation’ experience,” Cora said. “I understand that people want to talk about this team and I’m going to be able to talk about this team. That is an obstacle, there is pressure? I don’t see it that way. I just see it as an opportunity.
“This team is good. That’s the first thing: We’re going to be all right. So, as a manager, I’m going to be genuine with people, and we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do on the field. We’re going to have fun doing it, too.”
Cora certainly will have the support of Red Sox Nation if his club can pile up the wins. He already has the support of team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who believes Cora’s love of baseball makes him a great fit in the City of Champions.
“Well, you can see: He loves Boston. He embraces being in Boston,” Dombrowski said Monday. “And as he talks about talking baseball all the time, being in a position where that’s not overwhelming. I think people can be overwhelmed by it — I mean, look (around) — the attention that you get. But he’s a person that has experienced it (and) will experience it in a different fashion being the manager, but I think it’ll be a situation that he thrives on.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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