Let’s not bury the lede. The Boston Red Sox had no choice but to cut ties with manager Alex Cora, that much is clear and obvious.

Cora is central to the sign stealing scandal rocking Major League Baseball right now, and those who police the game sent repeated warnings over the last couple of seasons that this type of activity would not be tolerated under no circumstances. Cora blatantly ignored those warnings.

Parting ways, mutually agreeing to change, resigning or outright firing — no matter how it’s worded — was the only just conclusion.

But I’m confused.

 

Less than 24 hours after Cora was dismissed as the Red Sox manager, both fans and media members roasted the Red Sox. The same people who celebrated the 2018 World Series championship were now calling the organization disgusting, disingenuous, weak and unaccountable.

They’re wrong. It took the club fewer than two days to come to a conclusion, relieving Cora of his duties, despite the fact that Cora himself has yet to be punished by MLB. In the wake of A.J. Hinch’s firing Monday at the hands of the Houston Astros — the 2017 World Series champions — and the revelation that Cora was his right hand man, the Red Sox knew what was coming, crafted a plan and acted. Even without a clear and immediate successor to Cora, the team did the right thing.

Yet, I’m left with questions. More of them than answers, and none of them having to do with what Cora did.

I want to know why the Red Sox and the New England Patriots are treated so differently in these parts.

When the news of the “Spygate” scandal broke — following charges of the Patriots videotaping New York Jets coaches during a 2007 game — there were follow-up reports detailing evidence that the team had also recorded the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough practices leading up to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.

In essence, the Patriots were believed to have known the plays opposing teams were running before they ever ran them.

The reaction to that was a bunker mentality, one in which both head coach Bill Belichick and the organization were staunchly defended by fans and prominent Boston media types alike. A two-decade run as the best organization in professional football will buy you plenty of goodwill, particularly in sports-hungry New England, but this all came before the Tom Brady era in Foxborough was even 8-years-old.

The Red Sox, who have now won four World Series championships in a 15-year span, have not been afforded the same luxury.

Where “Patriots Nation” circles its wagons and defends against any and all slights — real or simply perceived — “Red Sox Nation” turns its mob and pitchforks straight at the team and its leadership.

Perhaps football is a rougher game, and it lends itself to a win-at-all-costs mentality. Baseball, with its pastoral history and deep roots in American culture is held to a much higher standard.

It could be argued that Patriots fans feel persecuted by the rest of the country, thus granting their team greater leeway within the boundaries of the rules. But outside of the northeastern part of the country, Red Sox hatred likely equals that of the New York Yankees. Nobody but those with Sox hats and shirts in their closet truly love these longtime lovable losers.

Maybe it’s ownership which changes opinions so fiercely.

Socially awkward as John Henry is, he’s never been truly embraced in Boston or the rest of the region. Robert Kraft, on the other hand, remains revered, opinions on him unchanged even after video evidence of his visits to a house of ill repute last year.

None of this comparison is meant to exonerate Alex Cora.

He was the mastermind, played the starring role, and he and his disciples of stealing signs spread the plague throughout the game of baseball. Cora will undoubtedly earn a stiff suspension from MLB soon, probably one exceeding the one year Hinch got for his role in Houston, and the Red Sox both would not and could not play the waiting game for Cora to serve whatever penalties he was about be slapped with.

The same could be said for the Red Sox themselves, and former general manager Dave Dombrowski, who had to have knowledge of what was taking place in their own clubhouse. Red Sox Nation has a right be upset about the stain those activities placed on what was an historic season in the 119-year history of the club.

What’s absurd is the manner, however, in which the New England Patriots — and their coach, their owner and their players — are always so clearly excused in the minds of their fans.

Do the Red Sox deserve the same treatment?

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