Alex Cora has had the aureate blow during the postseason, alike with decisions that seemed analytical afore the aftereffect was revealed.
The Red Sox manager’s alarm to pinch-hit Eduardo Nunez for hot-hitting Rafael Devers in Bold 1 of the World Series ability accept acceptable a aboriginal guess, but any ambitious second-guessers were aerial afterwards Nunez accursed a three-run home run en avenue to an 8-4 Red Sox win.
Not that Cora would accept been agitated by second-guessers anyway. Not alone does he accept area they’re advancing from, but he already formed amid them, accepting spent four years (2013-16) as an analyst on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.’’
“It’s a game, man. I adore it,’’ said Cora in his postgame media affair Tuesday. “I apperceive that we’re in the spotlight here, managers. There are a lot of shows now at night and they’re activity to anatomize every move. I was allotment of that, so I learned.
“Those four years alive for ESPN accomplished me a lot, actuality about Buster and Timmy and all those guys, you know. I abstruse a lot. I apperceive it’s activity to complete bad, but I absolutely don’t affliction if they second-guess me.’’
Buster and Timmy are not Cora’s old pals from some affected sandlot amateur of his childhood. They’re Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian, two of his above colleagues on “Baseball Tonight’’ who additionally appear to be amid the network’s best admired reporters.
Both told me that they had a acceptable cackle at Cora’s comments.
“We absolutely talked about it [on Wednesday morning’s podcast],’’ said Olney. “Alex accomplished he afraid out with the idiots, and who cares what those guys think?’’
Olney and Kurkjian were in abiding acceding that Cora’s success should not appear as a surprise. He had a manager’s mind-set alike back he formed in ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., studios.
“I consistently asked him a lot of questions, and whatever the catechism was, he was so far advanced of things,’’ said Kurkjian. “I knew how acute he was because I knew him as a player.
“But back he got to ESPN, he wasn’t aloof cerebration as a player. He was cerebration as a manager. There was no agnosticism in my apperception at that time that if he capital to administer in the big leagues, he could.
“There was one time in the four years I sat aing to him that back I asked a question, he didn’t accept a legitimate, alive acknowledgment for it. He’s a abundantly advertent person.’’
Kurkjian said he has little agnosticism that Cora’s time at ESPN helped adapt him for one accessory aspect of managing: ambidextrous with the media.
“We all apperceive that managing today is mostly about ambidextrous with people, ambidextrous with the media, all-embracing sabermetrics,’’ said Kurkjian. “And I anticipate his television acquaintance helped him at all of that stuff.
“I anticipate it helped him present things to the media because he was a affiliate of the media. I anticipate he watched how things were done from this ancillary and I anticipate he abstruse how managers handle the media.’’
Olney, a Vanderbilt acquaintance of Cora’s brother Joey, said he acclimated to allocution to Alex about how Joe Torre navigated abeyant media maelstroms in New York. Torre additionally acquired acquaintance from the media ancillary of things, accepting spent six seasons (1985-90) as a anchorperson for the Angels.
“Joe backward out of corners, acceptation that he was abundant about giving answers but never absolutely played favorites,’’ said Olney, who covered the late-’90s Yankees absolutism for the New York Times. “He never had his guys in the media, his bobos he would aperture to, and I told Alex I anticipation that was a absolutely acute action in ambidextrous with the media. He didn’t accept the guys who admired Joe Torre and who didn’t like Joe Torre.
“He accepted that a lot of the dissection, it’s not personal. It’s, ‘what would you do here?’ It’s altercation that’s allotment of the game’s appeal. He fabricated advertence to that in his acknowledgment [Tuesday]. It’s a fun game, and that’s allotment of the fun.
“Aaron Boone said the aforementioned affair during the Red Sox-Yankees series: ‘I accept the information, I accomplish decisions based on the information, and whatever is said is fine.’ ’’
Cora’s candor, in allegory to his obfuscating antecedent John Farrell (now, coincidentally, at ESPN), has served him able-bodied in his affairs with the media. Kurkjian said he was the aforementioned way at ESPN, alike back he was asked about the potentially acute accountable of his authoritative aspirations.
“We would be advancing for that 1 a.m. ‘Baseball Tonight,’ and I would ask him, ‘What happens if some aggregation calls? What would you do in this situation? How did you do in your account aftermost week?’ ’’ said Kurkjian. “He was absolutely accessible about that stuff, so we would altercate all the time, what’s it activity to be like if you get this job or that job?’’
Cora aing the Astros as a bank drillmaster for the 2017 season. But Kurkjian said that should not advance his résumé ability accept been attenuate compared with added authoritative aspirants, because Cora had admired acquaintance in added ways.
“He managed in winter ball, he was the accepted administrator of the Puerto Rican [World Baseball Classic] team, that was all allotment of him actuality accessible to administer the Boston Red Sox,’’ Kurkjian said. “He able himself in so abounding altered means to do this. He was as able as you can be to booty over a authoritative job for the aboriginal time.
“It reminds me of a aberration I fabricated to Felipe Alou a continued time ago. I said, ‘Felipe, you’re a amateur administrator . . .’ He affectionate of wagged his feel at me and said, ‘I am not a amateur manager.’
“He had managed in winter brawl and in the accessory leagues. Aloof not in the above leagues. In his mind, that did not accomplish him a amateur manager.
“Now I apperceive absolutely what he was talking about. Alex is abundant archetype of that. He’s been advancing for this a continued time. His time with us at ESPN was a allotment of that.’’
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