Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s road back to his post with the club was a trying one.
Suspended for the 2020 season due to his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and parting ways with the Red Sox in the process, Cora knew that this second chance was about redemption and rewarding the Red Sox’ faith in him.
That came Monday night with Boston eliminating the AL-best Tampa Bay Rays in their second walk-off in as many nights, and with extra meaning for Cora, who could be seen wiping tears away while his team celebrated on the Fenway Park infield.
“I put [my family] in such a tough spot last year,” a visibly emotional Cora, who is now 15-4 in his postseason managing career, said following the victory. “For them, to be able to enjoy it, I know, is very gratifying and I’m very happy for them.”
The cameras caught a special embrace between Cora and his daughter, Camila, too, with the 45-year-old acknowledging the hell he put on her throughout his ordeal and borderline unbelievable fall from grace in the baseball world.
“She suffered a lot, and it was my fault,” Cora admitted. “Sometimes we make bad decisions. And I made a horrible decision in baseball and I paid the price. But what really hurt me was for them to suffer because of my mistakes.
“For her to enjoy this is very gratifying.”
But the third-year manager felt similar gratitude for his underdog squad.
“It’s unreal. From top to bottom, we’ve been working hard to this point,” Cora said. “Not too many people gave us a chance, but we always believed. in spring training we knew we had a good team, we just needed to work hard at a few things. Some of them we got better, others we still stink, but we advanced to the ALCS and I’m happy for everybody in the organization.
“This game meant a lot. Nobody gave us a chance. .. But here we are, man. This is awesome. This is Fenway. Onto the next one.”
The Red Sox will play the winner of the White Sox-Astros series in the 2021 American League Championship Series.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.