The Problem With Cora

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By Joshua Nord-@nordjoshua

I know, I know, “What the hell could you possibly complain about!? He’s leading an 86 win team! You’re an idiot!” You say.

You might be right on the last part, hear me out though.

We all agree Alex Cora is doing better than former manager John Farrell with the Sox. Hell, this time last year the old skipper seemed absolutely clueless with a club who was headed for another ALDS exit. In fact there’s no shortage of clueless old guys who’ve lost complete control of the clubhouse. You’d only have to look at the New York Yankees as proof of that.

So what’s the issue then? Well as good as this team has been, the fact of it is that Alex Cora is a first time manager. First time managers are prone to making mistakes. We’ve even seen it from him this season. Keeping David Price in too long against the Yankees, or forgetting to make a defensive switch in that statement comeback against the Rays in April. These mistakes are often ignored because this team is so talented they win in spite of it. It only takes a massive fool like Farrell to make a dent in this good a team as we saw last year.

This is not to say I’m against Cora. He was my pick as manager, he’s young, a Spanish speaker, an ex player from the organization itself, bench coach to a world series winning team. He’s everything I felt the Red Sox needed. But how much of the team’s success is based on the managers performance? And not just being an incredibly talented team that’s finally hit their stride?

Alex Cora has benefited from it regardless being able to realize his “Get rested for the playoffs” philosophy to its fullest. We’ve seen it all season, but we only pay attention to it as fans when the team loses. Most notably the no-hitter by Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea.

Think I’m wrong? How loud would the outcry be if the Yankees won game one of this past series when probable starter Chris Sale was put on a precautionary ten day disabled list stint, and Brian Johnson took his place on the mound? Or if as mentioned above if the Yankees did more damage to an outstretched David Price?

The Red Sox win, but look at how the fans respond to Aaron Boone after the Yankees fell behind their rivals in the standings. Everything he does, did, and will do is put under a microscope. Fans are already hoping that his tenure will end as soon as the season does. Think it’s a ridiculous comparison? The New York Yankees have the second best record in baseball. If a second best record and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs can’t save you from the fans ire if you make mistakes, imagine what would happen if Cora’s Red Sox go down a game in the playoffs and the media, fans, and the team itself all put on this “here we go again” look?

Because that right there, is going to be the real test for this first time manager.



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One thought on “The Problem With Cora

  1. Oh no. I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Nord’s previous articles but I think he may have bitten off more than he can chew with this one. First, putting Aaron Boone under the microscope as a “clueless old guy” is unjust. As stated, this year’s Yankees team has the second-best record in baseball with a .626 winning percentage despite being 10 games behind the historic pace the Red Sox are setting. In the wild card era, there is no shame in second place (just ask the 2004 Red Sox…among others). I can’t believe I’m defending the Yankees butt making arguments on hypotheticals is baseless…”What if…”.

    Further, being a first year ANYTHING isn’t a disqualifier. Our own Fred Lynn won the AL MVP award in 1975 as a rookie. Wes Unseld won the NBA MVP as a rookie in 1969 (as a 6’ 8” center, by the way). Ken Dryden of the Montreal Canadiens won the Conn Smythe Trophy in the NHL for playoff MVP in 1971 and then won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year the following year, 1972. Look at the success our own Bruins had last season, in large part, by playing their young players. I’m sure there are other examples but I’m going from memory. My point is that sometimes first year players/mangers are as good as anybody and they shouldn’t be discounted for being in the first year of their respective roles. Instead, we should embrace them and welcome change and a fresh perspective.

    I don’t want this to be a rebuttal of every point made in this article. I really don’t think that first year managers are more prone to mistakes than other mangers. It’s a tough position to prove or disprove…but to pick on Alex Cora when he’s leading his team to a historic record might be an uphill battle. He clearly knows the sport of baseball or he wouldn’t have been given the reigns to one of the largest sport market teams in the US. Oh yeah, by the way, the players love him and are playing their hearts out for him. We can argue hypotheticals all day…but just take a look at where the Sox are in the standings and place your vote early for Alex Core for Manager of the Year.
    Mr. Nord has a real gift for expressing himself through the written word. His previous articles have been very thoughtful and well-presented and he’s well positioned in his arguments. However, I just think he needs to pick his fights more carefully than he did with this article. Keep writing Mr. Nord…just tread carefully on all things Boston sports. It’s tough to take a stand against success. Simply put, throwing stones at winners is a losing proposition.


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