By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Alex Cora’s journey from Puerto Rico to a World Series-winning manager will be detailed in a new documentary that will air this week on MLB Network.
Alex Cora: The Making of a Champion is set to premiere Tuesday night at 9 p.m. eastern, coinciding with the day Red Sox pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Fort Myers.
In the film, Cora sits down with Tom Verducci to talk about his life growing up in Puerto Rico and his experiences as a player in the big leagues and as a coach with the Houston Astros before being named manager of the Red Sox ahead of the 2018 season. The program will touch on Cora’s humanitarian work helping his fellow countrymen following Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.
The documentary will feature interviews with current Red Sox players and staff, including pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Sale, who talk about Cora’s management of his pitching staff in the 2018 playoffs.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona is also apart of the documentary. Cora played under Francona with the Sox from 2005-2008 and has credited Francona with helping to prepare him to become a major league manager.
“Alex was always ready to do whatever you asked him to do. When you get a guy that is a bench player that can play multiple days or he’ll go pick somebody up in a blowout game and it’s not beneath him, those are qualities that separates guys and Alex certainly had those,” Francona said of Cora.
As part of the special, Cora detailed his approach to using advanced analytics as a manager while also stressing the importance of establishing close relationships with his players. He discussed a number of his in-game decisions from last season, including how he went about constructing his lineup and his call to pinch-hit Eduardo Nunez in Game 1 of the World Series. Nunez hit a crucial home run in that at-bat.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around someone with a better baseball mind than Alex Cora,” said Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch, who talks about Cora’s work as his bench coach in 2017 when the Astros won the World Series.
The Cora documentary is the latest in a series of original films put out by MLB Network. Their most recent hour-long special, Eck: A Story of Saving, detailed the life and career of former Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley and garnered rave reviews.