Baseball Has A Cheating Problem …It Is Relevant To More Than Baseball (Part 2): Unethical Quote Of The Week: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora


“I come from suspension and I know how embarrassing that is and how tough that is, not only on you as a person but your family, your friends and the people that love you. 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 them and hopefully they understand that.”

—Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora on Major League Baseball’s threat of 10 game suspensions for pitchers  caught cheating by using sticky substances on baseballs , a practice that has been against the rules  for a hundred years.

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote that Alex Cora, then serving a one year suspension from Major League baseball, didn’t “get it,” it being why cheating is wrong, what ethics is, and why it is important to act ethically in all aspects of life. He still doesn’t get it. Cora (you can catch up here) was suspended because he engineered and oversaw a  season long sign-stealing scheme as bench coach in 2017 for the Houston Astros, who used it to inflate their offense and ultimately win the World Series. When it was finally discovered, Cora was the acclaimed manager of the Boston Red Sox, who succeeded the Astros as World Champions in 2018. The Red Sox had been cheating in their triumphant season too, though not as extensively, and  an investigation blamed it all on a low-level coach., not Cora, though Cora was his supervisor, and the whole thing seemed oddly reminiscent of Cora’s cheating in Houston.

Cora’s cheating heart and brain cost A.J. Hinch, his mentor and manager in Houston, his job (he was suspended for a year too); also the Houston general manager. The team was fined millions and lost draft choices. Its championship is widely considered to be illegitimate, and the team is booed by the fans everywhere but Houston. Disgustingly but predictably, the Boston Red Sox, who had crashed and burned in 2020 with another manager, hired Cora back to run the team on the field  as soon as his suspension was up. Their assumption was that if the team could start winning again, Boston fans wouldn’t care if the team was managed by Dracula, Jack the Ripper, or Donald Trump.

Cora has never issued an acceptable apology for his conduct in Houston, and the quote above shows us why. Alex doesn’t think cheating is wrong, and he doesn’t understand why it anyone would think cheating is wrong. He just thinks cheating results in unpleasant consequences if you get caught, and now believes that it isn’t worth the risk. Being punished is “hell,” and people you care about suffer. A retired bank robber or hit man could make exactly the same statement.

The Boston Herald, the city’s conservative paper, decided on this revealing headline for Cora’s statement, revealing for what it tells us about sports reporters: Alex Cora has clear message for players after MLB releases memo on foreign substances.”

Nowhere in the story is there any hint that the writer or editor understands what Cora’s “clear message” to his players is: “Don’t cheat, unless you are absolutely certain that you won’t get caught.”

That’s all the Alex Cora learned from his suspension. And this is the man who leads the Boston Red Sox.

18 thoughts on “Baseball Has A Cheating Problem …It Is Relevant To More Than Baseball (Part 2): Unethical Quote Of The Week: Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora

  1. I sincerely wish the Hispanic players would stop playing the family card. It’s really annoying. We’re supposed to think they’re more wonderful than Anglos or black Americans because they care so much about their families. Mi familia. Give me a break.

  2. A suggestion: Why not legalize doctoring balls? Everybody does it. No one minds. Not allowing it would evidently render pitching defenseless. Change the rule. Rosin’s allowed.

    Or make balls grippier to a certain standard. If hitting is now so devastating, maybe a different, standardized ball needs to be developed to keep every game from turning into a slugfest. With video and all the other aids hitters have, maybe the field actually needs to be leveled. To me, that’s what the players seem to be saying. If dominant hitting is the problem, address it, MLB.

    • “Throw some ground balls. Strikeouts are boring. Besides, they’re fascist.” – Crash Davis, Bull Durham

      • It is curious, isn’t it AIM? Wasn’t MLB all for non-stop dingers a few years ago? Now they’re essentially in favor of more difficult to hit sliders? I don’t get it. If they wanted to stop guys doctoring balls, they could simply check out pitchers each time they head to mound during commercials.

        • It may be, but truth to tell, I’ve stopped watching. There were two things that made me stop giving a damn about the Red Sox, despite being a Noo Wingland boy born, bred and having spent most of my life here.

          The first was rehiring Cora. Yes, he’s a skilled manager and a great media presence. But he’s a cheater.

          The second thing is that LeBron James is now a part-owner of the team.

          Pity. I hear they’re actually looking reasonably good this year.

          • I no longer watch pro sports, other than Mrs. OB’s favorite, EPL soccer, because otherwise I’d never see her on Saturday and Sunday mornings. EPL soccer is easier to watch because not being in England, I’m oblivious to all the BS hype about players and their salaries and their WAGs and all the other absolutely meaningless stuff that goes with following a sport.

          • “LeBron James is now a part-owner of the team.” There’s that Chicom money, poisoning its way into MLB. I am crushed. Guess I’ll have to stick to watching Little League play.

    • There are several problems. Too many home runs, which MLB addressed by deadening the ball this season. Too many strikeouts, because of the emphasis on homers, and players having trouble putting the ball in play safely because of the advent of shifts. That led to uppercut swings, more homers, and more strikeouts. Meanwhile fastballs in excess of 95 mph have become standard, making the super-breaking pitches that come from sticky stuff even more effective. And the games are slower than ever with less action—defined as non-hmer hits, baserunning,errors, fielding plays, and strategy. Much of that is added time between innings, because all games are televised, allowing more income from more ads.

      • Sounds similar to the way the three point line and shots has made modern day NBA basketball unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I’ve been watching it with Mrs. OB because the Suns are very good, once in a lifetime good this year and our son is a diehard fan. The three point line was supposed to unclog the game but it has unintentionally turned the game into what the Aussies call their Aussie rules football: aerial ping-pong.

          • Are you re-thinking your opposition to anti-shift rules or do you still think people slapping hit hits through the open holes is the way to go?

            • The latter. There is no justification for banning shifts: it makes the game more interesting, and hitters need to adjust, that’s all. Ty Cobb and Ted Williams had angry arguments over Ted’s refusal to hit thru the holes in the Williams shift, and Cobb was right: with Williams’ 20-10 vision and reflexes, he could have had singles at will. He was just proud and stubborn, and determined to beat the shift rather than give in to it. But that was Williams.

        • Well OB, here is where we part in one small way. I don’t watch the NBA at all. I won’t watch professional basketball (beyond the NCAA, that is – and I am running out of patience with that bunch, too) until there are separate leagues that discriminate based on height. One for no one taller than 6 feet and under. Another for no one taller than 6-6 and under. And the current, “height unlimited” bunch of showboaters.

          • Interesting. They are truly giants and, essentially, genetic freaks among the general populous. Until this recent bout of watching Suns basketball, I’d sworn off all basketball entirely, so I’m with you. Which for me is a fairly big deal insofar as until I stopped growing in 9th grade at a mere 6’1″ I was going to be in the NBA. My brother is 6’3″ and played a little even in college and my two guy cousins are 6’5″ and 6’6″ and they never even touched a basketball. They swam. Man, if I’d been 6’6″ I coulda been somethin!

      • Is it just me, or are the number and duration of “conferences” at the pitcher’s mound increasing? To me, those add way too much time to the game. Are they really necessary? (A big part of me – the part above my shoulders – is saying “no.”)

        • I ran across an article just the other day complaining about the absurdity of mound visits. I think it’s a recognized problem among the constellation of problems, Lucky.

  3. “Boston fans wouldn’t care if the team was managed by Dracula, Jack the Ripper, or Donald Trump”

    Are you really sure about the last name there?

    • No kidding. It’s the heart of the lefty East Coast. It’s well to do, earnest, virtue signaling yuppie land. Kennedy territory, even though there are very few Kennedys active any more. Unitarians abound. All those earnest looking women in their pink Sawks ball caps are the prototypical Trump haters. “How could such an AWFUL man be elected president, over Hillary?”

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