Opinion: Red Sox had no choice but to fire Alex Cora
The Boston Red Sox may have loved the man and believed in everything he stood for, but they simply had no choice.
Alex Cora had to go.
Officially, they "parted ways," but make no mistake about it – the Red Sox fired him. Even before his expected suspension gets handed down.
It would have been silly waiting until commissioner Rob Manfred’s announcement. It’s clear that Cora will get a longer suspension than Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch by participating in cheating schemes with the Astros in 2017 as their bench coach and perhaps with the Red Sox in 2018 as their manager.
Besides, if Astros owner Jim Crane was firing his manager and general manager, the Red Sox had no choice but to fire Cora.
Heck, they might have fired GM Dave Dombrowski too – but they already did that in September.
Who could have imagined that just 15 months after winning the World Series, both would be gone?
The Red Sox, just like the Astros, will now have their latest World Series flag hit with an unofficial asterisk.
How do you feel if you’re the Los Angeles Dodgers?
They might have back-to-back World Series titles, but instead lost to the Astros in 2017 and the Red Sox in 2018.
The Dodgers say they have been instructed by the commissioner’s office not to publicly talk about it, but just wait until spring training, and you’ll hear the grumbling.
“As everything’s been coming out, and the more facts that we get,’’ former Yankees starter CC Sabathia said on Tuesday’s edition of Showtime’s Inside the NFL, “it’s getting frustrating... to sit here and know that late in my career I could’ve had a title, maybe (in 2017) or maybe ’18. But we got cheated out (by) a team kind of doing something that’s not within the rules of the game.”
The Red Sox, of course, won’t go unscathed by simply firing Cora. The MLB investigation is expected to be completed within two weeks, and the Red Sox also could be facing a heavy fine and the loss of draft picks.
Who knows who’s next?
Where does this leave the New York Mets and new manager Carlos Beltran?
MLB is not disciplining any players who were involved in the cheating schemes and Beltran was still a player on that 2017 Astros team. Yet, Beltran was the only player directly implicated in Manfred’s report.
It’s up to the Mets now if they still want him to keep him as their manager.
Certainly, spring training will be an absolute circus around baseball.
“We agreed that parting ways was the best thing for the organization,’’ Cora said in a statement. “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward. My two years as manager were the best years of my life. It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston. I will forever be indebted to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico.
“This is a special place. There is nothing like it in all of baseball, and I will miss it dearly.”
And now he may be gone forever from baseball too, with Manfred’s report saying that Cora was an “active participant in the scheme” in Houston and that he “implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”
Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, after being fired Monday, also blasted Cora in his fiery statement.
“The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management,’’ Luhnow said. “The trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach (Cora).
“I am deeply upset that I wasn’t informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it.’’
Now, MLB and the Red Sox have stopped Cora.
It’s a shame. Cora was beloved in Boston. He was popular among his players, the fanbase and the media. Who knows, over time, he had a chance to be one of the greatest managers in Red Sox history.
Now, his managerial career may be over and at best, forever tainted, as if he were a player caught using steroids.
We may never know how good of a manager Cora could have been without cheating.
He cheated in Houston, which helped the Astros win the World Series, which helped Cora get his dream managerial job with the Red Sox.
So, tell us, was it worth it?