Boston third baseman Rafael Devers speaks to a crowd at the Red Sox Winter Weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday as teammate Michael Chavis looks on. Devers said of Alex Cora’s dismissal: ‘It’s unfortunate. I really was sad to hear that he wasn’t going to be our manager anymore.’ Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen / MassLive.com

It was a bad week for baseball.

For a few days last week it seemed like there was a different cheating scandal erupting on a daily, if not hourly, basis. The Boston Red Sox were right in the middle of it, with Alex Cora being named 11 times in the MLB report detailing its investigation into the 2017 Houston Astros.

A day later Cora was out of job, one of three managers to part ways with his team last week. It is unprecedented to have three teams searching for a field boss just three weeks before the start of spring training.

All of this happened just a few days before the annual Red Sox Winter Weekend.  Approximately 7,000 fans descended on Springfield, Massachusetts to get up close to the team and ask questions about the 2020 season.

Needless to say most of those questions centered on the scandal, what it meant to Boston, and who would replace Cora as manager of the Red Sox.

No answer to that last question yet. General Manager Brian O’Halloran told me they hadn’t interviewed anyone as of Saturday afternoon, and that the team was still in the early stages of the search.

There was a clear front-runner in the eyes of the fans on hand for Friday night’s “Town Hall.” As I stood on stage with owners and management, a fan asked who the new manager would be. Immediately, chants of “Var-i-tek!” filled the arena.

Clearly Jason Varitek is the people’s choice. We’ll see who winds up being management’s choice.

Meantime, the players have to figure out a way to move on without the popular Cora. Many were still processing raw emotions about the news they had learned just 72 hours earlier.

“Obviously kind of heartbroken about it,” said slugger J.D. Martinez. “I talked to him before and I understood his side of it, definitely. He didn’t want to be a distraction going into the season. And I know it was wearing on him and his family so I obviously feel for him. I wish him the best. I know he played a big, big role for our team. He was one of my favorite, if not my favorite manager I’ve had. It’s going to be tough.”

“It’s been a tough couple days for all of us,” said shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “It’s a year we have to prove how strong we are and stick together.”

Bogaerts continues to blossom into the leader of this team. They will need all the leadership they can get as they arrive in Fort Myers, Florida for spring training. They will again be inundated with questions about the scandal, what they thought and what they knew.

Many have been asked those same questions by MLB investigators, who continue their inquiries into whether or not the Red Sox used video to illegally steal signs in 2018.

There was hope in Springfield that the investigation wouldn’t find much. Sources told me that as of this point MLB hadn’t found anything close to what happened in Houston. But that could change quickly as interviews continue. All it takes is one voice pointing out illegal activity. This investigation never would’ve happened if not for former Astro Mike Fiers coming forward with his knowledge.

Baseball looked into his allegations and found them to be true. And they found more. Now we’re still waiting to see where it all leads. If there is any good news from this dark week, it’s that the game is finally admitting it has a technology problem that needs to be addressed.

Red Sox fans could certainly use a little good news right about now.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.