John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, stood inside the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium late Tuesday night, answering questions from a group of reporters as the victory celebration blared in the background.
A year ago, Henry and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made the decision to fire a successful manager, John Farrell, who still had a year remaining on his contract. Farrell had won a World Series in 2013 and back-to-back division titles in 2016 and 2017, but after consecutive defeats in the division series, Henry and Dombrowski looked outside the organization for a new manager.nike jerseys nfl cheap
They settled on Alex Cora, a former ESPN analyst who had spent 2017 as A.J. Hinch’s bench coach for the World Series champion Houston Astros. He would be good with the media, would more easily identify with Boston’s young players as he had played in the majors as recently as 2011 and would bring some of the Astros’ analytic bent to the Red Sox’s game preparation.
After the Red Sox eliminated the New York Yankees in four games, the soft-spoken Henry assessed Cora’s performance thusly: “He was a magician.”
“We’re very fortunate to have in A.C. [someone] who is not very far removed from playing the game, which definitely helps,” he said. “It seemed like every button he’s pushing is the right one. I think he’s got a great feel for the game. He understands the game. He does a great job of managing and communicating with everybody on what’s going on, and I think it showed in this series.”
Sale even told the story that when he walked into the clubhouse before Game 4, he told Cora he wanted the ball at some point in the game.
“I told him and walked away and he started laughing, so I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing, but it worked out,” Sale said.
Cora also influenced the team’s off-field groundwork in three significant ways. He brought the advanced scouting department completely in-house, relying on video scouts and analysts. He shifted responsibility for defensive alignments from the coaching staff to the analytics department. He emphasized keeping players fresh — not just down the stretch after the Red Sox had built a big lead in the AL East, but even going back to the first road trip of the season.