Alex Cora cheated when he was a coach for the Astros, and likely cheated again manager of the Red Sox. Then he and the Sox issued a statement about “mutually parting ways.”
These are facts:
- In 2017, the Astros’ players participated in a scheme that involved viewing the video feed from the center field camera, figuring out what signs the pitcher was showing (and therefore, what pitch was coming), and then banging on a trash can in the dugout to alert the batter.
- Knowing what pitch is coming gives the batter a huge edge. Using electronic means to steal signs is against MLB rules.
- Alex Cora, bench coach on the Astros, was involved with the scheme. He is the only member of the coaching staff for which there is evidence of involvement.
- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suspended the manager and general manager of the Astros and fined the team $5 million. The Astros then fired the pair.
- The Athletic reports that the Red Sox implemented a similar scheme when Cora was their manager.
- The Astros won the World Series in 2017, and the Red Sox won in 2018 — in the years during which Cora is accused of cheating.
It didn’t take a Ph.D. in logic to figure out what was going to happen next. Cora was toast. And sure enough, Cora is no longer manager of the Boston Red Sox.
So why issue a statement that insults our intelligence?
Here’s what the Red Sox and Alex Cora said in a joint statement issued by the team:
Statements from the Boston Red Sox and Alex Cora
January 14, 2020
BOSTON, MA – The Red Sox today issued the following statement on behalf of Principal Owner John Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy, and Alex Cora:
“Today we met to discuss the Commissioner’s report related to the Houston Astros investigation. Given the findings and the Commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways.”
Henry, Werner, and Kennedy added:
“This is a sad day for us. Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox. We are grateful for his impact on our franchise. We will miss his passion, his energy and his significant contributions to the communities of New England and Puerto Rico.”
“I want to thank John, Tom, Sam, the players, our coaching staff and the entire Red Sox organization. I especially want to thank my family for their love and support.
“We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization. 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.”
Why bother with a bullshit statement like that? “Mutually parted ways”? The dude was fired, obviously. “[I]t would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club”? Well sure, since MLB is going to be investigating him for months and likely suspending him. “I do not want to be a distraction”? If you were not guilty, you’d fight it — it’s not about the distraction.
Here are some one-sentence statements that could have done the job with various degrees of honesty. Which would you have preferred?
- The short version of the statement above: “We love Alex, Alex loves us, it’s a mutual lovefest, except it’s time to leave now.”
- Pretending to have integrity: “Alex Cora cheated, so we fired him.”
- The truth: “Alex Cora got caught, so we dumped him to get ahead of the backlash.”
It makes me sad
I loved the way Cora managed those teams. He appeared to have integrity in one of the most pressure-filled spots in sports. I’m going to miss him.
But I like my baseball without cheating. What the Sox and the Astros did removes the deception from pitching, which is a big part of the game. So as much as I liked Cora, he has to go.
Give the catcher a smart watch or similar device and the pitcher an earbud. (Yeah, I said it, go ahead and roast me.) Because the current system of visible signs is going to get hacked again, Manfred is going to have to fire other people, and it’s going to get very ugly.