The Boston Red Sox are celebrating Puerto Rican Heritage Night at Fenway Park on Tuesday as they host the Toronto Blue Jays for the second of a four-game set.
It’s especially exciting for Alex Cora, a native who in 2018 became the first-ever Puerto Rican manager to win a World Series.
“It’s a great, great culture that that enjoys the game,” Cora told reporters pregame over Zoom. “I think there’s a lot of impactful players right now that I keep the interest of the game back home. Carlos (Correa), Javy (Baez), Francisco (Lindor), Enriqué Hernández, too. They love it, you know? Boxing, baseball and politics. That’s the passion down there.”
In addition to representing his homeland in Major League Baseball, he’s passionate about making sure he helps other Puerto Ricans not only follow him to the league, but use the sport to get a quality education.
“We’re still playing at a high level, you’re still playing as soon as you’re five years old, but there’s some adjustments that we have to make,” Cora explained.
“That was something I always talked about when I was just working at ESPN, that we needed to make adjustments somehow, someway, preparing these guys not to be big leaguers but actually to go through the whole process of getting recruited, have your SAT, have your GPA, and have a letter of intent for Division I school. We’re not there yet. There’s a lot of good programs out there, one sponsored by MLB, the other one funded by Carlos Beltran. But as a country, baseball wise, to get to where we want to get and to where we were not too long ago we had to make adjustments in that aspect.”
Cora’s influence helps in reaching that goal more than he probably thinks back home in Puerto Rico. Especially if the skipper leads the Red Sox to another World Series with a Manager of the Year award along the way.