BOSTON (CBS) — As he prepares for his first Fenway Park opener as Red Sox manager, Alex Cora continues to be as cool as a cucumber.
Some would say the freezing temperatures gripping Fenway as the Red Sox get to open the home portion of their schedule play into that, but the chilly Boston weather has no bearing on his emotion. Though the Red Sox are 5-1 to start the season, it has certainly been a roller coaster of a ride for Cora. His use of the bullpen was questioned just a few hours into his tenure, after relievers Joe Kelly and Carson Smith blew Boston’s opening day tilt against the Tampa Bay Rays. Many have wondered why certain players have been given days off this early in the season, especially with a trio of off-days in the first two weeks. And as the Red Sox continue to run into outs on the base paths, Cora has found himself in the crosshairs.
“I didn’t know giving off days to players was that big of a deal,” Cora told reporters at Fenway Park on Thursday.
That’s pretty much business as usual for manager of the Boston Red Sox, but none of it has rattled to Cora. His solution? Just roll with it.
“The experience is awesome, but you can’t get caught up in it. Instead of having fun with it, it becomes a grind. I know I’m going to have good days, bad days, horrible days. But I’m going to keep it simple,” he professed. “We have a great organization. My office is Fenway Park; 29 other managers can’t say that.
“I’m having fun with it, but I’m not getting caught up in it,” he said. “It’s not that I’m hiding my emotions, this is just how I feel. This is what I was shooting for a while — I’m a big league manager. I feel comfortable doing my job and where I’m at.”
Being 5-1 certainly helps, but even if that record was 1-5, Cora would likely keep that smooth demeanor. It probably helps that he has eight-month-old twin girls at home, providing a nice balance between his life as a manager and his life as a father and husband. He moved his family into their new Boston home on Wednesday, which required a quick trip to Target. No one questioned his calls to the pen or lineups during the trip, because no one noticed that the manager of the Red Sox manager was picking up some common household goods.
Life will likely get a little more difficult as we get deeper into the season and the Red Sox take hold of the Boston sports spotlight. The weather will get warm soon enough (we hope), and baseball will be at the forefront of people’s minds.
Until then, Cora will be layered up; he’ll have at least three on when he’s introduced as Boston’s manager for the first time in front of the home crowd. And, yes, he’s even taking a simple approach when it comes to dealing with the frigid Fenway air.
“It’s going to be cold in October. This is just a warmup,” he said with a smile.