The Houston Astros began to deal with the consequences of their wrongful actions by firing manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow on Monday. Now, all eyes turn to Boston to see how the Red Sox approach their looming fate.
MLB announced it is investigating the Red Sox for alleged stealing signs electronically, using similar methods as the Astros, during their 2018 championship season. These suspected actions came under the direction of manager Alex Cora, who we have now learned was heavily involved in Houston’s sign-stealing methods during the 2017 season.
When Major League Baseball revealed the scope of the Houston Astros’ electronic sign stealing and handed down unprecedented punishment, it exposed the extreme lengths some in baseball would go to cheat the game and win.
Notably, MLB uncovered Cora’s role in cheating countless other opponents and chipping away at the integrity of the game to win a World Series title. He then carried that toxic behavior with him and implemented it into another organization.
Cora escaped discipline from the league, but only because MLB is now investigating the Red Sox’ sign-stealing methods in 2018. When the investigation concludes, Cora will reportedly face harsh discipline.
We don’t yet know how Cora carried out the Astros’ method upon arrival in Boston. However, based on the case presented by MLB and the limited information already available, it’s time for the Red Sox to take action.
Cora’s Actions in Houston: Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report detailed on Monday that Cora didn’t just play a small role in the Astros’ cheating behavior, he helped develop the system and practically ran it for the organization.
- In MLB’s official findings, it details how Cora would call the replay review room early in the season to find out the opponents’ signs and would then relay that information to the hitters.
- Two months later, Cora helped innovate a new system for the team by arranging for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the camera feed outside of Houston’s dugout.
- While Houston’s system was mostly player-driven, Cora played the most prominent role on the coaching staff in implementing it and using it throughout the year.
- Serving as the team’s bench coach, Cora helped create the banging scheme with the players and oversaw its use during games.
- MLB described Cora’s entire role in its findings. “Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.”
A.J. Hinch played no direct role in Houston’s cheating. In fact, he even told MLB that he objected to it. However, he was aware of the behavior and didn’t inform Cora or his players that he was against it. So, MLB suspended him for a season and the Astros rightfully fired him.
Cora was far more involved in these actions. On that alone, the Red Sox should part ways with their manager and bring new leadership into the clubhouse. The fact that the 44-year-old skipper carried these tactics to Boston makes his actions even worse.
Cora brings the system to Boston: Even after the Red Sox were caught and disciplined in 2017 for transmitting opponents’ signs, Cora allegedly expanded upon the methods when he left Houston to become Boston’s skipper.
- As team sources described to The Athletic, the Red Sox used video technology to record opponents’ signs and then display them in the replay room, which is just steps from the dugout.
- The Red Sox stopped using the system before the postseason, but that happened because opposing teams became more protective of signs and MLB instituted an in-person monitor in the replay room.
- This allegedly happened under Cora’s watch and after MLB explicitly restated the rules regarding the use of electronic equipment to steal signs.
- In the memorandum, Manfred emphasized that future violations of MLB’s rule would be taken extremely seriously and be met with harsh discipline.
Despite all of the warnings and the team already being punished before his arrival, Cora allegedly disregarded MLB’s rules and direction. Of course, as the Astros’ investigation and the report shows, even more information and alarming detail will come out when MLB concludes its examination into the Red Sox.
In the end
Boston could certainly wait until MLB’s investigation concludes, perhaps hoping that the league will find lesser violations. However, this should be a time for the organization to finally be proactive and do what’s right for the game.
Rather than allow this to hang over the team into spring training, with players forced to answer countless questions and the looming questions about when Cora will be suspended, Boston should part ways with Cora immediately.
There’s already enough evidence he cheated the game of baseball and took actions that directly manipulated the 2017 season. It’s also likely, based on his past behavior and the allegations against him, that he did it once again in 2018 to help the Red Sox win a championship.
The Astros will spend years attempting to clean up their image and repair a culture that is now stained with disgraceful actions from top to bottom. If the Red Sox want to avoid experience the same level of scrutiny and damage to one of the most storied organizations in sports, changes must be made now.
The Boston Red Sox must fire Alex Cora and usher in a new era of better leadership and accountability for the future.