Nov. 05, 2018
Dear Alex Cora...
Dear Alex Cora,
Congratulations on a great first season with the Boston Red Sox, winning 108 games in the regular season which was a record for the Boston franchise. On top of that, you took the team to the postseason with the best record in Major League Baseball and won the 2018 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. There is no denying what you did in your first year as a manager was extraordinary and the list of the accomplishments your team achieved was endless. You have now joined Terry Francona and John Farrell as the only managers to win World Series titles in your first season with the Boston Red Sox franchise.
Now it is time to avoid the sophomore slump like your predecessors did. As you may know, Francona made it to the ALDS in 2005 before losing to Chicago White Sox in three games and Farrell's team missed the playoffs altogether in 2014. With that out of the way, it is time to get to the reason behind this message. It has to do with your comment during the World Series parade on Wednesday in which you said, “Think about it, the New York Yankees, yeah, the sky was falling we lost Game 2 and there was panicking here and it was like, ‘Whoa, it’s over.’ We scored 16 at Yankee Stadium. Suck on it.”
You clarified the comment on Thursday after many assumed it was directed towards the New York Yankees and everybody counting your team out of the series. In reality, you made us all aware today that it referred to the people who thought you guys were dead after Game 2 of the ALDS. However, it is still a statement that some people can take issue with considering the platform it was delivered on, in front of thousands of people at Fenway Park during a televised and live streamed parade for the championship. It is one thing to make this comment to your team in the clubhouse and another to say it in front of such a large audience. Allow me to explain why...
As a professional baseball manager, kids look up to you as well as your players. They admire what you all do on a daily basis, your actions, and listen to what you say because kids often emulate the actions of their role models. Since Jose Bautista did his famous bat flip against the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS, kids have mimicked him with their own versions of bat flips when they hit home runs. This leads me to the main point of this article regarding your comment at the parade. Whether directed at the Yankees or the people who counted your team out after Game 2, it could give the young fans that idolize you and your players the wrong message.
The message it could potentially send to the youngsters out there is that respecting the opinions of your opposition or showing sportsmanship to them is unnecessary. That when you prove them wrong make sure to rub it in their face and show off your success to them. Instead of using the phrase "Suck on it" to the Boston crowd, perhaps there was a more respectful way to make a statement to the people and fans who doubted your team. Perhaps something like, "We scored 16 at Yankee Stadium and proved ourselves as the best team in baseball" could have been a better phrase to use.
Obviously in the heat of the moment, the excitement of the parade, and everything going on with the celebration can cause us to say the first things that come to our minds without giving it much thought. If it was a press conference asking you about what you thought about fans counting your team out after Game 2, you likely would not have responded in the same way and I get that. There was clearly no intent on your part to send that message to the young fans that look up to you and your team. But those words could certainly enable those who idolize you and your squad to imitate that behavior on the baseball field when faced with adversity.
Imagine a Little League team is trailing by seven runs in the final inning of a championship game and everybody is counting them out. There is no way they will make a comeback to win this game and the other team is already mildly celebrating that they are three outs away from winning the championship. That team scores eight in the final inning to win the game and begin emulating what they saw their favorite team do. They decide to tell the other team to "Suck on it" while shaking hands with them following the game-winning hit. Now is this obviously a long shot? Yes. Completely out of the realm of possibility? No.
Right now, your team is on top of the world and everybody else is dying to take a shot at them next season. Even though you may be on top, it is still important to handle your business with class in every statement you make. What you said on Wednesday afternoon that was thought to be targeting the Yankees will likely still be used by New York to fuel the fire and retool for next season against your team. Now there was obviously no ill intent in your comment as I have already stated, but I am simply playing devil's advocate in this article to give another perspective on how the comment could be interpreted by a minority of people.
In the world of athletics, we use sports as a time to get away from the stresses in life, enjoy time with friends and family watching the games, razzing each other a bit when our favorite team beats our friend's favorite team, and take some time to relax. For you guys, this is your livelihood and profession on a day-to-day basis and you have a reputation to uphold for the people that idolize coaches and players. That requires a lot of professionalism on a nearly 24/7 basis that sometimes is probably forgotten about and mistakes are made. But it is important to always consider the message that could potentially be sent to the hundreds of thousands watching what you all do in your sport.
As a Yankees fan and a fan of the game, I will admit I counted out your team after Game 2 because of the great success New York had at home in the 2017 postseason. It seemed like it was all set and done considering the success they had in Yankee Stadium in front of their rambunctious fans and how poorly the Sox were performing in the playoffs since their 2013 World Series title. But your team proved me and my predictions entirely wrong, I can respect the amazing season your team had, congratulate you once again on the World Series title, and look forward to the continuation of a great Yankees-Red Sox rivalry for years to come.
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