Alex Cora isn’t big on team meetings, but when the Boston Red Sox lost the longest game in World Series history in crushing fashion, the manager knew he had to do something.
Shortly after the Max Muncy’s walk-off home run landed beyond the left-field fence at Dodger Stadium, ending an 18-inning game that lasted more than seven hours, Cora called his team together in the clubhouse for a brief pow-wow.
In a cover story for Sports Illustrated this week, longtime baseball scribe Tom Verducci detailed that meeting, a summit that ultimately culminated with an outpouring of love for Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched six-plus innings of relief.
“Listen up!” he said. Players were still mostly in their soiled, heavy uniforms. Some peeled off sweatshirts or tape from their wrists. Some sat at their lockers.
“We just played one of the greatest games in World Series history. Red Sox … Dodgers … Dodger Stadium … World Series … And the way you competed is something all of us should be very proud of. This is a great team. This was a great game. And you guys proved it tonight. And Nathan …”
Cora then singled out Eovaldi, praising him for his effort and unselfishness. When Cora was done, the room burst into a standing ovation.
“There were tears,” Holt says. Porcello was one of those crying.
And then one by one, every player, coach and staff member lined up to take turns hugging Eovaldi—and not one of those quick, “Good game, bro” hugs.
“I’m talking like a minute hug each,” Porcello says. “What Nathan did was the epitome of what our team is about. Every player does whatever he can to try to help the team win. This is what sports should be about. It’s about everybody pulling together.
“We just lost a World Series game in 18 innings. But after that [meeting], it didn’t feel like we lost. It felt like we won.”
(Seriously, if you’re a Red Sox fan and you haven’t yet read Verducci’s story, go read it now. You’ll thank us later.)
We all know what happened after that meeting. The Red Sox got (some) sleep and came back to work the next day and staged an epic comeback late in Game 4 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Then, on Sunday night, they finished the job, breezing to a 5-1 win over the Dodgers to capture their fourth World Series title in the last 14 years.