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October 22, 2018
Boston, Massachusetts - Workout Day
Q. Talk about Chris Sale and his health. How is he doing?
ALEX CORA: He's doing okay. He's doing okay. Actually he's going to go out and throw a little bit more. He's ready to roll. I think all these off days are going to help him out physically and with his belly button ring, whatever (laughter).
Very excited that he's going to throw the first pitch tomorrow. It's a great opportunity for us to compete against a great organization, a great team, and we have the right guy on the mound.
Q. Congratulations for being the first Puerto Rican manager to take his team to the World Series.
ALEX CORA: Thank you.
Q. What does that mean in light of what happened with Maria a year ago?
ALEX CORA: I feel great. I'm proud to be here. I'm proud representing not only all the Puerto Ricans that live in the island, but Puerto Ricans all around the world. We know what happened last year. It was a tough one. And Maria kicked our ass, you know. As a country, we've done an outstanding job fighting. We're standing up on our own two feet. I know there's a lot of people back home they're proud of me, of what I've done throughout the year. But I'm proud of them. We actually -- it's almost back to normal. Almost back to normal.
It's been great the last month all the feedback. I'm very happy that whenever the Red Sox win and when Christian plays great or Enrique plays great or Carlos and Francisco, there's something that they have for them to enjoy. And if Alex is a part of that, so be it, you know? It should be fun the next week, week and a half, whatever it is. And looking forward to getting back home after the World Series.
Q. Several of the guys were just saying that there's just a different buzz in this city. How much are you looking forward to the atmosphere these next couple of days?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, I had a firsthand experience three days ago: We left Fenway and we went to this Cuban place, actually a pretty good one, and, I don't know, there was people waiting for me to sign autographs, which it was weird. Like hey, man, we're just here to get some food.
Yeah, they're loving it. They're loving it. It's a likable team. That group of guys over there, we've been talking about them for the last two weeks how humble they are. And now people are getting to know them - Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, JBJ, David Price. It's a fun group.
Since day one when we came back from that road trip, Tampa, Miami, you had a feeling that the city was going to fall in love with them. We had that comeback against Tampa. We were down five, we came back and people started to recognize that, hey, man, they fight all the way to the end. And that's the way it should be. Everywhere I go now in the city it's about them, which is cool.
Like I've been saying all along, I'm very proud of them. And I'm glad that people are recognizing them, not only here in Boston but all over the world. They do like this team.
Q. Curious, last year you had the opportunity of being in the other dugout against Dave, but being the manager now, going up against your former teammate, are the emotions a little bit different this time?
ALEX CORA: I know it's going to sound bad, but not really. I love the guy. He means a lot to me but at the same time we have a job to do. And you start looking at my postseason this year, we had Boonie with the Yankees, A.J. with the Astros, and now we've got Dave. And at the end of the day we like each other, we're friends and we respect each other, but at the end they want to win four to win the World Series and we feel the same -- we want to do the same thing.
So our friendship is going to be the same during the series and after the series and our families, I think Cole is in high school now. I saw Cole when he was four or five. And now I have baby twins, and Tricia probably is going to see them, and Dave is going to see them. And we love each other. I met this guy in 1999. We played winter ball together. Very likable, the energy he has and the passion he has not only for baseball, but for life is genuine. And I really wish him the best but this week and a half, you know, hopefully we can finish on top.
Q. You said you were going to discuss your pitching last night. Have you arrived at any decisions beyond Game 1?
ALEX CORA: Yeah: David is pitching Game 2. David is pitching Game 2, and as you know 3 and 4, we'll see where we're at.
Q. How did Steven come through and what's his status now?
ALEX CORA: He was okay. He's moving well. We're going to meet after the workout today to make the decision and to see where we're at roster-wise. And we'll announce it tomorrow.
Q. You've covered a lot of things as player, broadcaster, coach, now manager, your outfield, is that the best defensive outfield you've seen? And what does it mean to have one for a team, a manager, that is as good as yours?
ALEX CORA: I do feel they're the best. Not only their range, when they hit the ball in the air and it stays in the ballpark, they're going to catch it, but the details. We talk about Game 4, everybody talks about the ball that Altuve hit, but there were two plays by Mookie that I do feel changed the game. There was a fly ball with a man at second, he gets behind the ball and makes the throw to third base, Altuve doesn't advance. Then there was a double by Carlos Correa, with Gonzalez at first base, with Marwin and he doesn't score. And that's what they do.
There was a ball hit by Gurriel in Game 5 in the left-center gap and Jackie got to it, and kept Yuli at first base. And those are the things they do. It's not only diving plays or running catches in the gap, it's the little things. And it means a lot in an era that a lot of people are hitting fly balls, and it's good to have those three.
I read something before that in the playoffs that when the three are together our record is like unreal, we're playing .750 baseball. Obviously they're not going to be together in LA, at least to start the game. It's always good to have them.
Beni, he's been great. He made that play against Alex in Game 4. The way he plays the wall, getting rid of the ball, he's been good. And the three together, they're a force. And they're a huge part of what we're trying to accomplish.
Q. You played seven, eight years before getting to the World Series, and now you've been back two years as a coach and a manager. You've got Price and Pedroia, who got there as rookies, and it's been ten years since they got back. Do you appreciate more how hard it is to get here and the rare opportunity of a World Series? The second part, do you appreciate it differently on the bench than maybe you did as a player?
ALEX CORA: To get to this point it's hard. We have plenty of opportunities, but I only made it once in '07. In '08 we lost in Game 7. But it's tough. It's really tough. You start this journey in February in Spring Training, and you talk about it and all the details and all the stuff that you have to go through, and then you have to play 162. And then if you make it, now you have two rounds before you make it to the World Series.
And I know those guys in that clubhouse they're very excited to be back, some of them. Like David and Pedey, although he's not playing, he's loving it. Guys like Mitch and Ian. Everybody knows what happened with them against the Cardinals. And Xander, he thought he was going to be in the World Series all the time after '13, and it doesn't work that way. Devers last year, thought, yeah, we're almost there, and it doesn't work that way. It takes a lot of work. And we're very happy that we're here. We're loving it.
For me, this is tough. Being a manager and trying to navigate a season and get them to this point, and try to put them in positions to be successful, it's not that easy. It's not that easy. To deal with those guys in the clubhouse is a challenge, a challenge that I love. I love doing it. But the other day I sat down I was like, whew, we made it. Especially here. We knew about the division and record-setting season and all that stuff, but in this town everything started after October. And we're glad that we're here. I'm happy to lead this group of men and we're ready for the challenge.
Q. With that in mind, Tito was your manager, obviously, in '07. I'm curious, and he had a path kind of similar to yours, I think, safe to say. What did you learn from Tito and has he reached out to you in some form or another now that you're here?
ALEX CORA: No, he hasn't reached out. He's been saying all along he likes his guys to be themselves. He texted me I think right after the regular season, and that's about it. But I know he's pulling for us, for Dave and for myself. So win/win situation for Tito.
One thing I learned, and I mentioned it yesterday, he wanted everybody to be ready. Bobby Kielty, only one swing in the World Series, and he changed the game in Game 4. I only saw two pitches in the World Series. I took one and I bunted the next one. Got Mike Lowell to scored, he stole third, and he scored on a sac fly.
It's a total team effort. You never know who is going to step up to the plate or going to be on the mound or going to be playing defense that can be the hero. Dave Roberts in '04. He came here, he stole that base against the Yankees, and the rest is history. And now he comes here and he makes a lot of money signing autographs (laughter). I know he puts "The greatest stolen base in the history of the game." He makes a lot of money in an hour. Probably he's making money right now (laughter).
That's what it's all about. Not everybody gets a chance to play in October. Not everybody gets a chance to play in the World Series, and there's a lot of great players that don't have a World Series ring. It doesn't mean that their careers were bad careers, but that ring means a lot, and that's something Tito always mentioned, just be ready, when your name is called, be ready to play.
Q. The pictures on the wall in your office, how do you pick which one from each game?
ALEX CORA: I don't pick them.
Q. You don't pick them?
ALEX CORA: No. I make sure we take pictures after we clean stuff and all that.
Q. Do you have room for four more? Have you thought about what you're going to do at the end of the season, leave them up or start over next year?
ALEX CORA: Yeah, we do. We do have room for four.
I talk about it during the season, and the plan is to get them down and next year for the Jimmy Fund we're going to auction them. I know we're going to make a lot of money for that, and it's for the right reason and that's what we're going to do. There's other stuff that I want to do with the pictures, like I have other ideas, but we'll get to that hopefully when we win four games.
But it's cool, man. That wall, you start looking around, it's like, wow, that game and that game and that game is powerful, to say the least.
Q. Ryan Brasier has had a real nice season for you and been real good in the postseason. When did you first realize he could be a weapon? And what did he show you after that rocky first game against the Yankees to stay with him?
ALEX CORA: So we had a split squad in Spring Training. And the second game was at the Twins' complex and we invite him over, because we needed innings. He pitched I think the 7th or 8th inning, and all of a sudden you look up and it's 98. We kept bringing him back and back and back. He actually became our closer in Spring Training, if you had that, you know? He pitched well. A lot of swings and misses in the strike zone with that fastball. Okay slider. He went to Triple-A; he did an outstanding job. And we called him up.
I don't know if you know the story about he came in, it was a 4-0 game in the 9th and I got Porcello, Sale and David in the dugout. And I went to them and said, I know you guys don't know who he is, because in Spring Training they don't stay all the way through ninth inning, but this guy is good. They're looking at me, like, okay, right. First pitch 98 and they were going nuts in the dugout. It was cool to see.
His fastball plays up in the zone. His sinker, he induces weak contact. His split is good. He's been amazing for us. We're very proud of him. It's one of those stories that we should talk about it. There's a lot of guys that they have surgery or they struggle early in their careers and there's always a second chance, you know. He got his going through Japan. But others they do it through winter ball or to the Mexican League or independent baseball, Rich Hill, for example. Somebody is going to give you a shot, be ready for it. And now he's a big part of what we want to accomplish.
Q. When you and Dave were together in LA and you guys would sit and talk before and after games, who might be a manager in that clubhouse, was it you, was it him, was it somebody else and why?
ALEX CORA: That conversation never took place. I wasn't sure that he wanted to do the coaching thing. And when he got the job with the Padres, I think it was, okay, that's cool, look at DR. But he lives in San Diego, living the good life over there. Why not work there with the Padres. And little by little you could see it. He became I think the bench coach for them and he did an outstanding job.
And when the interview process took place -- actually we talked, we talked about it and he asked me about being part of the coaching staff. And I was like, "No, I'm good where I'm at right now," because of the situation with ESPN, only working 70 days a year and being able to fly back to Puerto Rico. My daughter, she was growing up and I wanted to be part of it. So all of a sudden he shocked the world. Nobody thought he was going to get that job, and he's done an outstanding job.
He was always very passionate about the game. But I never thought that's what he wanted. I guess probably he felt that I wanted to be a manager. I don't know.
Q. How did the events of July 30th and 31st of 2004, when not only Dave was traded but some other guys, impacted how you handled the clubhouse? That was a bit of clubhouse turmoil.
ALEX CORA: You think it was? I still remember with him he was crushed. That was a good baseball team. And they decided to make a few moves, to say the least. And he was part of it. I remember, I told him, I said, "Hey, man, you're going to a great city. They have a chance to do something special. You never know." And all of a sudden he's signing for a lot of money here.
But, yeah, those experiences help. And last year, too. We went through it in Houston. And it's not that we went through it here but at that level, people stay the course and they didn't talk to the media about it or whatever, but you have to deal with stuff like that, trades and releasing guys and sending people down and being around Tito, Davey Johnson, Jerry Manuel, so on and so on. I learned from them and it really helped.
Q. These guys have a lot of lefty starters, obviously. How will that affect Mitch and Raphy? And also do you plan on keeping Sandy with Chris in Game 1?
ALEX CORA: Sandy is catching tomorrow. The other stuff we'll talk about it. We're going with the best lineup that we feel matches up with their pitchers.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports