Fri, Oct 19, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Cora guides Red Sox in Puerto Rico

ONE WIN AWAY:Boston took a 3-1 lead over the Astros in the American League series after Andrew Benintendi made a catch for the final out with the bases loaded

AP

Boston Red Sox player Andrew Benintendi, right, scores past Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado during their American League Series game in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

Alex Cora spent this season rewarding the support of Jackie Bradley Jr, David Price and the rest of the Boston Red Sox organization with a record-breaking year and a run deep into the playoffs. The rookie manager’s accomplishments go further than the baseball diamond, too.

Having seen his homeland of Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria, Cora remains at the forefront of helping the island rebuild.

“It’s been a year since the hurricane and Puerto Rico is still recovering. We all have families over there and we know that the situation remains difficult,” Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero said.

“Alex has that always in mind. I admire that. We are always talking about it. Hopefully, this can bring a little bit of relief to the people, that they have a Puerto Rican hero in such a big state, so important,” he said.

Cora has a lot of people rooting for him right now. His team moved to one win of reaching the World Series, leading Houston 3-1 in the American League Championship Series after Andrew Benintendi charged in hard and left his feet to make a catch in left field with the bases loaded for the final out as Boston held off the Houston Astros 8-6.

Romero grew up on the island and his dad, Ed, played in the World Series for the Red Sox. So Cora’s efforts especially resonate with him.

“Alex is always thinking about them. That’s very nice,” Romero said.

Cora had his mind set on aiding those in need from the beginning of his first stint as a big-league manager. While negotiating his contract in October last year, he made a request that the Red Sox front office supply aid to Puerto Rico, which the club eagerly accepted.

Then, Cora flew to his hometown of Caguas with team president Sam Kennedy to deliver food and supplies.

Boston catcher Christian Vazquez, whose walk-up song is Vamos Pa’ La Calle by a fellow Puerto Rican, popular artist Bad Bunny, later joined Cora to lend a hand.

Last year, Vazquez dyed his hair blonde to pay homage to the team, who made a run to the championship game against the US in the World Baseball Classic. Cora was the general manager for that club and played infield for Puerto Rico in 2006 and 2009.

Cora’s profound love for his homeland is ever-present in his actions. During his introductory news conference, he put the spotlight on his platform by raising the Puerto Rican flag as his daughter wiped away tears.

“Whenever I have the chance to talk about them or represent them the right way, I have to do it, but for as proud they are — because they are — I’m prouder of them,” Cora said during this month’s playoffs.

“For us to be in the situation we’re in as a country right now, after what happened last year, that’s a W right there. That’s a winning team right there. And I’m very proud of them,” he said.

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