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Alex Cora believes managers and players can be BFFs
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Amid all the pleasantries and platitudes that tend to be standard fare at introductory news conferences, one line from Alex Cora’s first media availability as manager of the Boston Red Sox stood out for its apparent naiveté.“[Being] too close to players,” Cora said nearly three months ago in Fenway Park, “that doesn’t exist.” Cue the eye-rolls and the shaking of heads. To the most cynical in a press corps and fan base teeming with cynics, Cora sounded like a rookie manager who did not yet grasp the reality of his new job. Even the most player-friendly manager can’t really be friends with his players. Not when he has the final say over who gets the at-bats and pitches the most important innings and occupies the 25 spots on the roster. There’s a good reason the manager’s office in every big league clubhouse comes with a door. Difficult conversations tend to take place behind it. But Cora, bless his heart, believes he can thread that needle. And what if he really can? It is, after all, part of the reason the Red Sox hired him after only http://www.officialauthenticlions.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_JALEN_REEVESMAYBIN_JERSEY.htmlone season as the Houston Astros' bench coach. Cora, 42, lasted 14 years in the big leagues as a backup infielder because he was regarded as a team leader and expert communicator -- in two languages, no less. He related as easily to young Dustin Pedroia as he did to eccentric star Manny Ramirez. Upon observing Cora’s interactions with teammates, then-Red Sox skipper Terry Francona once told him, “Alex, you’re going to be a big league manager.” Now that he is, Cora plans to lean on http://www.falconsfootballofficialonline.com/Ricardo-Allen-Jersey.html those interpersonal skills more than ever. His philosophy: Get to know the players as well as possible and earn their trust. The closer he can get to them, the easier it will be to stick together when times get tough.“[Player-manager] relationships, they can’t be only baseball relationships,” Cora said. “The whole thing about drawing a line, [players] understand that. But you’ve got to care about each other. That’s the most important thing. They’re human beings, man, and you’ve got to talk to them. You’ve got to see how they feel.” To Ryan Kalish, it is that abiding sense of empathy that sets Cora apart. And Kalish, one of the few players who can count Cora among his former managers, has played for Francona, Torey Lovullo, Bobby Valentine and Joe Maddon. Cora’s managerial experience is limited to two roughly 40-game seasons with Criollos de Caguas, a winter ball team based in his hometown in eastern Puerto Rico. Kalish, a former Red Sox prospect whose career has been pocked by a string of injuries, came to Caguas in 2015 after missing a full season with the Chicago Cubs while recovering from multiple surgeries on both knees. The rust was evident. In 20 games, Kalish went 10-for-69 (.145) with one extra-base hit and http://www.philadelphiaflyersofficialonline.com/Adidas-Jaromir-Jagr-Jersey 15 strikeouts. inter ball is serious business, with fans flocking to ballparks and teams playing to win. At-bats are earned, not promised. But Cora didn’t consign Kalish to the end of the bench and forget about him. He didn’t underestimate the difficulty of Kalish’s long road back or patronizingly reassure him that, in time, everything would be OK. Instead, Cora recognized what Kalish was going through and commiserated with him, making time to listen to how out of sorts he felt at the plate and in the outfield. Cora even put Kalish in touch with a sports psychologist who he saw during his career.“Alex had a really good idea of what I had been through to get to that point, and he was always so positive with me,” Kalish said. “We didn’t make the playoffs, and I didn’t hit very well. It’s not like I did anything special for him other than giving him 100 percent effort. But every day was just another positive day for him, even if Eddie Goldman Womens Jersey I had a bad day. “When a manager has all the dynamics of being your friend and being your business associate, which he very much is, and then also having the ability to let you know when you’re not doing things correctly, that’s really unique. http://www.officialjaguarsfootballshop.com/YOUTH+YANNICK+NGAKOUE+JERSEYYou don’t come across that all the time. And Alex has that.” Two years later, Cora cried on the field after LSU beat Miami on a walk-off homer in the championship game Matt Carpenter Youth jersey of the 1996 College World Series. But he also delivered a moving epilogue to his teammates a few minutes later, making a point to console freshman closer Robbie Morrison, the All-American who gave up the home run. It was an early sign of Cora’s innate ability to read a room and say the right thing at the precise time. “We’re in the locker room, just in shock; everyone was incredibly disappointed, and Alex gives this emotional speech,” said Red Sox mental skills coach Laz Gutierrez, Cora’s teammate for one season at Miami. “He was able to express this comforting Dave Winfield Jersey message of, ‘We’ll be back; we’re a great club.’ And then he starts telling Robbie he’s a great pitcher and he’s going to do great things. It was way, way ahead of what you expect from a college guy at that level. His Womens Solomon Hill Jersey emotional intelligence is through the roof.” There are other examples. In four seasons as a Red Sox reserve, Cora’s most meaningful role was keeping Ramirez in line. He would work out with the slugger on the road and use positive reinforcement to keep him motivated. Unlike many, Cora seemed to understand Manny’s moods and what made him tick. In 2010, his second-to-last season as a player, Cora asked a few excessively jocular New York Mets teammates for “a little respect” in the clubhouse after a tough midseason loss. Likewise, he rarely pulled punches in four years as an ESPN commentator. After Chris Sale defied his Chicago White Sox bosses by cutting up throwback jerseys in 2016, Cora excoriated the ace, calling his actions “not the way you act as a big leaguer.” wholesale nhl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys nike nfl jerseys from china wholesale nba jerseyswholesale nhl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china wholesale nfl jerseys
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