Alex Cora

Alex Cora thriving in role as winter league GM

AlexCora
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico - Thirty minutes before first pitch at Estadio Yldefonso Sola Morales, Alex Cora is working the rail at the home dugout on the third base side like it's a receiving line at a wedding reception. He stops and greets every player on Los Criollos de Caguas, shaking hands, slapping palms and offering encouragement. If not for the fact that he's in a short-sleeved plaid shirt with a backpack slung over his shoulder, you'd think the smiling 38-year-old was one of the players.

Two years after retiring following a 13-year major league career, and after spending the 2011 season as a reserve infielder with the Nationals, Cora has found another calling. In the twilight of his playing days, managers like Terry Francona and Jim Riggleman said Cora had the innate diamond smarts to make a good coach, perhaps even a major league skipper. But the ink had hardly dried on his retirement papers before Cora - who also acts as an in-studio analyst for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" - accepted a job as the general manager of the Criollos in his hometown in Puerto Rico's central mountains, 30 miles south of San Juan.

The Criollos' former general manager was moving to a role with Liga de Beisbol Professional Roberto Clemente - the official name for Puerto Rico's winter baseball league - and team president Raul Rodriguez offered Cora the opportunity to move into the front office as the team's GM. Cora jumped at the chance and steered the Criollos to the league title as a rookie general manager. Now he's got his sights set on back-to-back crowns, something Caguas hasn't done in its storied 75-year history.

"It's not the normal path, I know. ... But I know a lot about the team. I have the pulse about that clubhouse, probably better than anybody," Cora says while sitting in the Plexiglass-enclosed team officials' box on the stadium's second level as a game against los Gigantes de Carolina gets under way. "For me, it was an easy transition and they made it a lot easier, the players, because they understand friendship is friendship and business is business. They respect me in that sense. You've seen me around - I'm hands-on because I enjoy it. I still feel it."

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(masnsports.com)
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Alex Cora Joins ESPN as MLB Analyst in Multiplatform Role

AlexCoraMets
Here's a release from ESPN announcing that former Boston Red Sox IF Alex Cora will be joining ESPN:

Former Major League Baseball player Alex Cora has joined ESPN and ESPN Deportes as an MLB analyst. Cora will provide insights and analysis for various platforms across both networks, including Baseball Tonight, Beisbol Esta Noche, SportsCenter and other studio programming. He will also contribute to ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio. 

“Television will be an exciting new challenge for me,” said Cora. “I look forward to joining ESPN’s deep bench of analysts to share my insights, experience and passion for baseball with fans and viewers on Baseball Tonight, Beisbol Esta Noche and across ESPN’s various platforms.”

Added Mike McQuade, vice president, production, “Alex is a tremendous acquisition for us. He is well-regarded across baseball as an astute student of the game and prospective manager. His unique combination of major league experience, thoughtful analysis and polished communication skills in two languages will strengthen our baseball coverage across several ESPN platforms.”

Cora, a Puerto Rican native, was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft but opted to play for the University of Miami, where he reached the College World Series three times. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996 and made his major league debut on June 7, 1998.

After seven years with the club, Cora signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians in 2005. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox midway through the
season. He stayed with Boston for three seasons and won a World Series with the club in 2007. Throughout his 14-year career, he also spent time with the New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals. Cora was a solid defensive player (career .976 fielding percentage) and a versatile infielder with strong knowledge of the game and leadership skills.

Most recently, Cora lead Puerto Rico’s Caguas Criollos to the 2013 Caribbean Series in his first year as general manager of the club. Cora previously played for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic – both in 2006 and 2009.


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(beforeitsnews.com)
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Alex Cora: 'Very surprised' Sox Skipped Funeral

AlexCora
Former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora joined Kirk Minihane and Rob Bradford Thursday to express his surprise that only four Red Sox attended the funeral of Johnny Pesky on Monday. 

"I was very surprised," Cora said. "I think what Johnny means and meant to the players and the people in Boston, he was more than just a people person. Just walking into that clubhouse and seeing Johnny smile and greeting you in there and talking about baseball and life in general, he meant a lot, especially to a lot of people in there. I was very surprised to hear that only four players showed up to the funeral." 

The Red Sox had rented buses to take players and staff from Fenway to the church in Swampscott on Monday -- an off-day -- but the player turnout was limited to just David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Cora said that if he were on the team, he wouldn't have needed someone to tell him to attend the funeral because it would be obvious that he needed to go. 

"I don't think somebody has to say it," he said. "I think everybody understands what he means to the organization. There are certain things that go beyond an off day. This is a situation that nobody wanted, but it happened. As a person, you've got to put yourself not as a baseball player, but as a person. Your family understands that there's something big going on. … I understand that it's been a tough season, a lot of things have happened, but just a few hours of your day off to pay respects to Johnny, I don't think it's going to hurt anybody. 

"For me personally, if I was in that situation, there's a pretty good chance that nobody would have had to tell me, 'You have to go,'" Cora said. "You take matters into your own hands and do what is right, and that was the right thing to do."


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(weei.com)
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