Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of spring training, however, has been how well everything seems to be meshing thus far.
“I don’t like sharing too much about what’s going on, but I can tell you I had a conversation with a very important person in my life, and I told her, I’m like, ‘There’s a good vibe here. There’s something cool going on here,'” Cora said Tuesday during a video conference. “From the drills, from what they’re doing in the cages, to the drills that we’re doing, it’s been good so far. It’s been good.”
The Red Sox struggled throughout Major League Baseball’s condensed 2020 season, finishing in last place in the American League East with a 24-36 record. Any outside skepticism ahead of the 2021 campaign is understandable, especially with Boston also putting together a mediocre 2019 after winning the World Series in 2018.
But Cora, rehired in November after serving a one-year suspension for his involvement in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, has helped liven up the energy emanating from JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., and his hope is the work put in now will yield improved results once Opening Day rolls around April 1.
“We didn’t play clean baseball in ’19 in spring training. And it felt like the second part of games was awful, to say the least, and we’re not doing that now,” Cora said. “We’re doing a good job from the first inning all the way to the last out — whatever it is, 21 or 27 — which is a good sign. Very accountable group. A group that they makes mistakes and their baseball talk is loud and clear, and I love that. So leave it at that. It’s been really good so far.”
A positive atmosphere hardly guarantees success at the professional level. Cora and Co. can’t expect the kumbaya nature of spring training automatically will translate to regular-season wins.
It’s certainly a step in the right direction after a disappointing 2020, though, and the good vibes happen to coincide with an influx of talent.
There’s reason to be optimistic about the Red Sox right now.