Cora Lives in Infamy; Sox Rebuilding
Column by Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
In late 2017, the Houston Astros won their first World Series title ever, led by manager A.J. Hinch. Following that title, their bench coach, Alex Cora, took a job as manager of the Red Sox for 2018.
That year, the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games on their way to their ninth World Series title.
That team and the ‘17 Astros, despite talent and natural ability, may forever live in shame.
Fast forward to the present day and neither Hinch nor Cora has a job. Rather, the latter is now and possibly will forever be known as one of baseball’s greatest cheaters.
For what, you ask? Steroids? Fixing games? Nope, sign stealing.
I know what you are thinking: sign stealing has been an element of the game since its creation, but it was not that they stole signs; it was the manner in which they stole them signs.
Back-track to 2017: the Astros rig a center field camera to be broadcast in their home dugout where Astros’ personnel would examine what the catcher was signaling for, what sign meant what pitch and ultimately Cora, the “Beautiful Mind” behind this mess, would bang on garbage cans in the dugout to signal to his batters what pitch was coming. Unsportsmanlike at best.
In 2018, Cora did the same thing, only without Hinch. He installed special camera footage into the video room at Fenway Park to once again steal signs from the opposing catcher-pitcher duo.
Remember that Mookie Betts hit .264 in 2017 before Cora. In 2018 and his sign stealing, Betts hit .346 to lead the league en route to an MVP award.
Sign stealing is a part of baseball in a way, yes. But Installing a special, unapproved video monitor in your clubhouse which the opposition does not have is, indeed, cheating.
Cora has been disgraced. Betts seems to be on his way out. And the best memory Sox fans have of their team has been tainted. The scandal could be the breaking point for the current Boston Red Sox.
No manager, star player traded, and yet ticket prices remain that of a team that wins 108 games.
But it could be worse: at least they are not the Mets.