Becky Yells About Sports: Alex Cora

To whom it may concern,

This is my letter about former Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who I believe was unjustly and unfairly fired on Tuesday, January 14, 2020.

He and the Red Sox mutually parted ways after Major League Baseball released its punishments for the Houston Astros who were involvement in a cheating scandal in 2017 that involved trash can banging in the dugout, among other things. The general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and the manager, A.J. Hinch, were both suspended for one year, the team would be fined $5 million, and the team would lose its top two draft picks in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts. An hour later, Astros owner Jim Crane fired Luhnow and Hinch.

The Red Sox are currently under investigation by MLB for its involvement in sign stealing during the 2018 season (thankfully there was no trash can banging in the dugout), and as of this moment, MLB has not released its findings and punishments but plans to before spring training begins. (PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT FEBRUARY 11 AND EVERYONE ELSE ROLLS IN FEBRUARY 16.)

Alex Cora was fired based solely on the findings from the Astros investigation. During the press conference featuring Red Sox executives that was streamed on Twitter via Periscope—yes, that still exists, folks—they were not sure at the time of their timeline for hiring a new manager. Because at that moment, baseball activities in spring training were set to take place in a month. And why not have a team go into its pre-season without a skipper?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a report about the Astros and the sign stealing scandal, in which it explains:

On Sept. 22, 2016, an intern in the Houston Astros organization showed general manager Jeff Luhnow a PowerPoint presentation that featured the latest creation by the team’s high-tech front office: an Excel-based application programmed with an algorithm that could decode the opposing catchers’ signs. It was called “Codebreaker.”

This was the beginning of what has turned into one of the biggest scandals in Major League Baseball history. Throughout the 2017 season and for part of 2018, Astros baseball operations employees and video room staffers used Codebreaker to illegally steal signs, which were then relayed to batters in real time. Another Astros employee referred to the system as the “dark arts.”

Wall Street Journal, via Barstool Sports because I don’t have a WSJ account nor am I going to sign up for one. So deal with it.

In past interviews, individuals from the Astros camp have thrown Cora under the bus, backed the bus up, and then drove over him a few times. Luhnow has said that “the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach.” (Barstool Sports)

Folks, anyone with a calendar and common sense knowledge of how to use Google would realize that ALEX CORA WAS NOT WITH THE ASTROS ORGANIZATION IN 2016. HE WAS WORKING WITH ESPN AT THE TIME. HE BECAME THE ASTROS BENCH COACH AFTER THE 2016 SEASON WAS OVER. So he definitely didn’t start it. I’m not here to say he’s completely innocent, as he was part of the club during its 2017 World Series season, BUT STILL.

JUST BECAUSE HE WAS NO LONGER WITH THE TEAM WHEN ALL OF THIS CAME OUT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN BLAME HIM. HE’S NOT THE SCAPE GOAT FOR YOUR INABILITY TO CONCEAL YOUR BANGING SCHEME IN THE DUGOUT. THAT’S NOT BEING A GOOD TEAMMATE.

AND LUHNOW APPARENTLY CONSIDERS THE FRONT OFFICE “LOWER-LEVEL EMPLOYEES” OR MAYBE HE’S JUST LYING?!

ALSO, PEOPLE ALWAYS MAKE FUN OF INTERNS BUT IT SEEMS LIKE THE ENTIRE ASTROS ORGANIZATIONS LISTENED TO THIS ONE INTERN* WITH A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION?!?! Like if this intern was doing the internship for credit, what did they write in the paper about their internship experience?

Among my responsibilities as an intern with the Houston Astros organization, I got coffee for the entire front office, counted baseballs, AND PRESENTED THE GENERAL MANAGER WITH A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION THAT DETAILED AN EXCEL-BASED APPLICATION PROGRAMMED WITH AN ALGORITHM THAT COULD DECODE THE OPPOSING CATCHERS’ SIGNS. WE CALLED IT “CODEBREAKER”. IT’S THE REASON WHY ALEX CORA CURRENTLY DOESN’T HAVE A JOB.

Yeah, don’t think that would go over well with the faculty sponsor of the internship who reviews and grades the paper.

*Although it does appear that the front office created the application but made the intern do the dirty work of presenting the presentation.

I’m currently mad at two groups right now:

  1. The Astros for blaming Cora for everything.
  2. The Red Sox firing Cora based solely on an investigation of another team. The least they could have done was wait until MLB comes out with its finding of the Red Sox investigation. Sure, depending upon the results, the team may have had to fire Cora anyway, but at least that makes a little bit more sense.

Do you ever think that back in 2011 and 2012 when the Astros lost over 100 games in both seasons that we’d be in this situation almost 10 years later? And that a manager from another team would be fired based on another team’s investigation when his own team is under investigation? (I understand that Carlos Beltrán was fired from his job as the New York Mets manager even before he was able to manage a game—such a Mets thing—however he was a player with the Astros and the Mets weren’t also under investigation.)

So in conclusion, I’m just really sad that Cora isn’t the Red Sox manager anymore and MORE UPSET THAT HE WAS FIRED BECAUSE OF AN INVESTIGATION OF ANOTHER TEAM WHO THREW THE ONE GUY WHO WASN’T WITH THE ORGANIZATION ANYMORE UNDER THE BUS.

Thank you,

Becky

4 comments

  1. This was really good. I could tell you were biting your tongue a bit and presenting all the facts (in lowercase), before unleashing your anger (fury?) with the all caps. It was well executed. Years from now we’re probably going to get all the details from Astros players about what really went down. That’ll be a lot of fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Upon review of my letter, I did notice that the beginning was pretty calm and then yes I unleashed all of my fury via the caps lock button. It felt good to get everything off my chest, though. But also felt like I was just yelling into the clouds 😂

      Like

  2. I’m sorry Becky. It sucks for everyone involved. However, I disagree with you. I think Cora was rightly fired. I think all of the guys involved made a massive mistake. There’s always been cheating in baseball, especially with stealing signs. The difference here is using technology to steal the signs and cheat, which is strictly forbidden. Even if Cora didn’t invent the system, he was the bench coach who put it into use during the 2017 season, right? So I think he’s definitely guilty. Then he brought it to Boston and supposedly they used it during 2018. I think he should be fired, along with the Astros guys Hinch and Luhnow as well as Beltran. They’re all guilty. I wish the players that were involved could be given consequences too.

    Liked by 1 person

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