Alex Cora Reveals What He Learned During Suspension, Time Away From Red Sox

Boston's manager is ready to move forward


November 10, 2020

Alex Cora’s time away from the Boston Red Sox spanned just 60 regular-season games — less than 10 calendar months — yet he returned to Fenway Park on Tuesday with a refreshed outlook.

Cora, who parted ways with the Red Sox back in January, was rehired as Boston’s manager last week after missing the pandemic-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball campaign while serving a suspension related to his role in the Houston Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal.

And he’s not taking the second chance for granted, explaining during a news conference that he’s eager to turn the page and draw upon the lessons he learned while sidelined from the sport he loves.

“I knew I was going to miss the game, as you know. It’s my passion. I’ve been around the game since I was four years old, and I missed the game,” Cora told reporters Tuesday. “At the same time, I made some bad decisions and you’ve got to take ownership. Just being able to be a dad — obviously, the kids, they’re still three (years old), they don’t understand what was going on right now. But some deep conversations with my daughter, (my fiancée) Angelica, with my mom, talking to (my brother) Joey throughout the year, how wrong I was. The only thing I can do now is get better. And I will be better. I’m surrounded by a team that they’re gonna help me out and we’re gonna keep moving forward.”

Cora was Houston’s bench coach in 2017. He apologized Tuesday for his role in the Astros controversy, even admitting he “deserved” to be suspended.

Cora, who managed the Red Sox in 2018 and 2019, was cleared in April of any wrongdoing related to MLB’s investigation into whether Boston illegally stole signs in 2018. His season-long suspension stemmed only from his involvement in the Astros scandal.

It seemed like just a matter of time before Cora would return to baseball in some capacity. The Red Sox’s managerial gig opened when the club chose not to retain Ron Roenicke, who served as Cora’s bench coach in 2018 and 2019 before taking over as Boston’s skipper for its underwhelming 2020 season.

“I knew I wanted to come back to the game, but I didn’t know how fast,” Cora said Tuesday. “There was a lot of talk within the family, and you put them first. Like I’ve always said, this is not an easy place here in Boston. There are some other places, too, that it was going to be quote-unquote tough. But talking to them, we were very open-minded. Little by little, they understood that probably not this year but in two years or three years, something was gonna open up and there was a chance to get back to the game. Honestly, like I said before, so soon, I never saw it.

“But I think it started with the family. They understand where we’re at now and what we want to accomplish, not only in the professional life but as a person. There’s a lot of things that we’re very excited might happen in the next few months as far as the family and I think this is part of it. That’s the reason when (chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom) and (general manager Brian O’Halloran) texted me and called me, I was like, ‘You know what, let’s talk and see where it takes us.’ And here we are, at Fenway Park.”

Cora, of course, led the Red Sox a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins en route to a World Series title in 2018.

It might be difficult for Boston to retool overnight — on the heels of a 24-36 record in 2020 — but Cora’s return certainly has infused some energy into the franchise.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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