Alex Cora figured to have a bright future as a major league manager. There’s a reason the Boston Red Sox hired him at the ripe age of 42, after all.
But few expected him to have this much success this fast — even those in his new organization.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, who now serves as Red Sox vice president and special assistant to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, revealed what impressed him the most about Cora during the manager’s first few months with Boston.
“I give him an ‘A’ for everything, especially the part I would have reasoned would have been the hardest thing to do,” La Russa told Rosenthal.
“I thought with all that newness, it would probably be sometime into the season, hopefully sooner than later, that (Cora and his coaches) would create those relationships with players, where they established their respect and trust.
“I’m amazed — I’m not exaggerating — I’m amazed they got that done before long into camp. I would say when they got to the last half of the (spring-training) games, you could see the connection between all the players, all the coaches and Alex.”
Cora’s seemingly seamless integration with his coaching staff was especially impressive to La Russa considering they were all new, as well; pitching coach Dana LeVangie and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister were the only two holdovers from the 2017 staff.
Cora credits his tenure as the Houston Astros’ bench coach last season for helping him develop perhaps the most important managerial skill.
“I learned a lot,” Cora told Rosenthal. “It was more than just the baseball side of it. It was the communication with baseball operations, with the front office, the medical staff, the analytics staff, how to deal with players, how to deal with coaches.
“It was one year, but it felt like I’d been coaching for 10 instead of one.”
Cora’s level of comfort appears to be on full display in Boston. Of course, it helps when your team has the best record in baseball and is on pace for the most wins in franchise history.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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