Alex Cora’s desire to stay a step ahead of the competition is, to a degree, the reason he had to hold another introductory press conference Tuesday.
The Boston Red Sox manager is a remarkably creative baseball mind, but that got him in hot water when he took it too far with the 2017 Houston Astros, which resulted in his mutual parting of ways with the Red Sox earlier this year and resulting one-year suspension by Major League Baseball.
But still, baseball is a game of creativity. And Cora, now back with Boston, can’t just stop trying to find ways to get an edge — he just has to be abundantly cautious and keep things within the rules.
So while he’s not going to outright stop trying to get his players to find those advantages, he knows what’s at stake.
“That was part of the conversation with Chaim (Bloom), and I think that was part of the decision-making, what I’m going to do to be a good manager and not cross a line,” Cora said Tuesday over Zoom in his introductory press conference. “And you’ve still got to find ways to take advantage of the situation. I think as an industry, just watching from afar, MLB has done an outstanding job cleaning up a few things that teams did or were doing.
“It’s a no, it’s a no for me to cross that line. If I fail at this, I’m out of the game. So this is a personal note,” Cora continued. “As a manager I’m still going to push them to do everything possible to read the scoreboard, read the pitchers, read the catchers, do all that stuff. That’s part of baseball and I’m going to keep pushing for that.”
The reality is Cora didn’t bring the tactics the 2017 Houston Astros used to the Red Sox. And it seems apparent he intends to keep it that way — especially while standing on thin ice.