fb-pixel Skip to main content

Alex Cora’s reintroduction press conference will focus heavily on his past rather than the future

Three years ago, when Cora was first hired by the Red Sox, the questions centered around his managerial inexperience.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

As he prepares for his reintroduction as Red Sox manager on Tuesday, Alex Cora stands three years, four days, and 180 degrees removed from the position he occupied on Nov. 6, 2017.

Then, the Red Sox introduced Cora as their new manager at a Fenway Park press conference. Questions that day revolved around the degree to which his managerial inexperience represented an impediment to his otherwise glowing candidacy.

“I don’t think experience is going to be an obstacle for me,” Cora said.

On Tuesday, questions about experience and obstacles will assume a very different form. Cora is now a known in Boston and throughout the Red Sox organization. His 2018 title offers evidence of his capacity for excellence in a demanding job.


A lack of familiarity with his job description isn’t an issue. To the contrary, experience and history were the traits that separated the 45-year-old from every other candidate whom the Red Sox considered in their managerial search.

His previous time as a manager — and more specifically, as the Red Sox manager — proved too compelling for the team not to rehire him. Yet it is also his past experiences for which Cora must now answer at the press conference on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

While the enthusiasm for his return throughout the organization and a large — but not universal — portion of the fan base is considerable, Cora’s public reappearance will focus heavily on his past rather than the future. The press conference will mark Cora’s first broad availability to discuss the 2017 Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that prompted him to vacate his role as Red Sox manager in January and eventually led Major League Baseball to suspend him for the entirety of the 2020 season.

And while MLB, in a subsequent investigation, determined that Cora did not know about the Red Sox’ use of in-game video to decipher opposing teams’ sign sequences, the former and new Red Sox manager will nonetheless have to discuss what transpired — and why he should not be accountable for something that MLB viewed as a punishable offense that occurred on his team.


In many ways, Tuesday will be less about Cora’s selection as Red Sox manager as it will be for the opportunity to address questions that were left both unasked and unanswered when he left the team in January. The session will be less about Cora’s substantial qualifications for the job and more focused on why his past misdeeds were not disqualifying.

The event will be as much — perhaps more — an opportunity for public contrition than a coronation, a striking contrast to the event at which Cora was introduced three years ago.

THEN: What did Cora learn on the way to winning the World Series as bench coach of the 2017 Astros?

NOW: As bench coach of the 2017 Astros, how involved was Cora in the scheme to steal signs and communicate them from behind the dugout by banging on a trash can?

THEN: How much did Cora grow from spending a year in a dugout in 2017?

NOW: How did Cora change from spending a season away from the game in 2020?

THEN: What did Cora think the Red Sox needed to step forward as a championship contender in 2018?

NOW: How much did the 2018 Red Sox rely on illegal practices en route to a title, and how much did Cora know about them?


THEN: What convinced president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski that Cora was the right person for the job?

NOW: Was Cora truly the choice of Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom?

THEN: What message does it send for the organization — dogged by a racist history, and convulsed in the middle of the 2017 season by racist acts that occurred in the stands — to hire its first minority manager?

NOW: What message does it send for the organization to hire someone so prominently associated with the 2017 Astros cheating scandal?

Inevitably, the press conference will present uncomfortable moments for Cora, Bloom, and the Red Sox. The unavoidable format will make the tenor even more awkward thanks to the emotional distance that arises from communicating through screens on a Zoom conference rather than in person.

In many ways, Tuesday will represent the continuation of a year in which so much has been backward-looking as a result of the departures of Cora and Mookie Betts. Yet for all of that potential awkwardness, perhaps more than any introduction, the event represents the necessary point of departure for Cora’s second stint as a Red Sox manager and a significant opportunity to shape the start of his next run.

If he and the Red Sox appear thoughtful, genuine, and contrite about the past, then Tuesday may truly serve as the beginning of Cora’s second chance and an opportunity for the team to begin looking forward toward its future.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.