In his first extended interview since he was suspended from baseball for a year, former Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he was willing to take some of the responsibility for the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scheme, but added that he feels he wasn’t the only one at fault.
Speaking with ESPN, Cora said he deserved the one-year ban, but he roundly rejected the idea that he and Carlos Beltran — who also was implicated, and lost the Mets’ managerial job as a result — were the only ones who deserve the blame in Houston.
“There has been a narrative out there of what happened," said Cora. "Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not.
"Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.
“If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all did it. And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.”
The Red Sox and Cora parted ways in January after the report from MLB on the Astros was released. He was not implicated in MLB’s investigation into sign-stealing by the Red Sox in 2018.
Cora said he was reticent to grant interviews because “talking about it wouldn’t change anything.”
“Out of respect for the investigation, I decided to stay out of the spotlight,” Cora said. “I deserve my suspension and I’m paying the price for my actions. And I am not proud of what happened.
"We made a mistake as a group, the entire [Astros] team. What happened was something that, if you ask anyone involved, no one is proud of it. We’re all at fault. Everybody. We’re all responsible. Everyone who was part of the team from around mid-May until the end of the season, we are all responsible.”
He said that he has interest in returning to the game, but is currently focused “on much more important things," particularly family.
“Right now, all I care about is my personal life and my family," he said. "This has not been an easy time for us, and it’s my fault.
"Do I want to return to the game? Absolutely. That’s why I worked so hard for so many years before being named Red Sox manager. But right now, all of that is secondary. My focus is on much more important things.”
Christopher Price can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.