The Boston Red Sox are in spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, two seasons removed from winning the World Series.
Spearheading that is manager Alex Cora. After a season away from Boston — fired as manager in January 2020 amid Major League Baseball’s investigation into illegal sign-stealing with his former organization, the Houston Astros — the Red Sox rehired him last November after his season-long suspension expired.
“I don’t have to explain to you guys how I feel about this game. I don’t have to tell people I love the game and I’m very passionate about it. You guys know that. So I don’t have to explain that,” Cora, 45, told reporters recently. “But at the same time, coming here, and it’s not about me — it’s about seeing guys and working with guys and going to the field, and when the game is over or the practice is over, to sit at your desk and be like, ‘Oof, I gave everything today.'”
After finishing the abbreviated 2020 season with a 24-36 record under manager Ron Roenicke, the Red Sox seem to be happy to have Cora back, too.
“(Cora) has just a charisma about him where people feel lifted up by being around him, and that’s a great thing in somebody who you have leading your group, where he can bring the best out of people,” said Chaim Bloom, the team’s chief baseball officer, on Sunday. “That’s what we’re looking for in a manager, and he connects as well as anybody that I’ve seen.
“Already, I’ve been struck by players that are new to camp, that we try to have some conversations with for the first time, he’s gotten all of them already, he’s talked with everybody. He just has a good way over the course of the day of circulating, making sure he touches every player, that he gets to know everybody. He’s fun to be around, and he brings a lot of energy and a lot of optimism to the group.”
Cora led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2018 in his first season as manager. A season later, they finished 84-78 and in third place in the American League East.
“You know everything we went through, winning the World Series in 2018, I just feel happy that he’s back,” pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez said. “He’s like a father, like a brother. Sometimes I feel like a teammate when I talk to him, and that’s part of the relationship that we have together and we can make it better. We will make it better.”
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)