Sports

Wary of bans, Cora speaks to Sox about changes

Alex Cora knows a thing or two about the public embarrassment that comes with a suspension in connection to a baseball-cheating scandal, and the Boston Red Sox manager believes the public shame should be enough to change the behavior of players after Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games for using illegal foreign substances on the mound.

Cora addressed the rule changes with the Red Sox staff before their game against the Braves on Tuesday.

“I come from a suspension and I know how embarrassing that is and how tough that is not only on you as a person, but your family and your friends and the people that you love,” Cora said. “Ten games a year, two years, three years, it doesn’t matter. Being suspended is hell and you don’t want to go through that. I was very open to [the team] and hopefully they understand.”

In April 2020, MLB announced that Cora would “be suspended through the conclusion of the 2020 postseason for his conduct as bench coach for the Houston Astros in 2017.”

This week, alongside every big league manager, Cora participated in a meeting led by MLB senior video president for on-field operations Mike Hill and league consultant Theo Epstein regarding the rule changes.

“This is one of those topics that right now is loud,” Cora said. “Everyone is talking about it but hopefully after a week or two weeks, it’s enforced and we talk only about the game, forget about the sticky stuff or this and that. Talk about teams and what they are doing and their stories and something in the past and we can keep moving forward.”

Cora hopes the rules will change the quality of the on-field product and allow more action on the field.

“If this is as big as people see it and the information provided shows, maybe the stuff is going to come down a little bit. Throwing 99 and let-it-rip all of the time, it’s not going to play and you have to actually pitch instead of throw,” Cora said. “If that’s the case, maybe it’s a better quality of baseball. Pitchers are going to throw strikes and guys are going to put the ball in play and defense has to make plays, we’ll see how it goes. Stuff-wise, it might come down a little bit but at the same time, athletic-wise, we are at another level.

“These guys on the mound are bigger, stronger, more explosive, so let’s see how it plays out, but stuff-wise, it’s going to come down a little bit.”

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