Cora in line for major suspension?

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dhappy42

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I don't see how it's possible to defend Cora. When this story broke there was a huge outcry and a call for significant penalties for the Astros. There was also a thread in this forum where posters proposed things like a ban from the playoffs. How could Cora be oblivious to the risks he was taking on behalf of the organization? Did he believe that if they were busted, he could just say "Well, all teams do the same thing" and everything would be OK? Did he believe that, although the rule of thumb is that no more than 2 people can keep a secret and that's only if one of them is dead, 68 people could do so?...
This is why I’m not certain that the players and Cora understood that what they were doing was cheating, as opposed to everybody-does-it sign-stealing gamesmanship.

I explained this in the other thread, but basically, the league’s 2017 warning focused on banning the use of electronic devices to transmit info between the video room and the dugout, [edit: not between a CF camera and a video room, which was and still is legal.] It also banned using the video info at all, but the emphasis at the time was on AppleWatches and phones.

It’s conceivable that players thought moving video monitors closer to the dugout made *non-electronic* transfer of sign-stealing info — which seems to have been common —easier and quicker and therefore in compliance with the 2017 memo, which probably none of them read.

Here’s the thing: most cheaters make an effort to hide their activities. Physically moving monitors closer to the dugout is impossible to hide. So is banging on trash cans, which aren’t electronic devices.

Im not trying to excuse cheating. I’m trying to understand how the Astros could have been so blatant about it. Stupidity and ignorance seem more likely explanations than hubris.
 
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Patek's 3 Dingers

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I heard Mutnansky on WEEI say Cora is supposed to be on the radio on Friday promoting this event. Mutnansky stated that Cora would be asked about the sign stealing if he does do the radio appearance.

Cora is also supposed to be in town at the baseball writers dinner on Thursday.
Doesn't everyone's attorney advise their client not to discuss a pending matter?
 

Dewey'sCannon

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Doesn't everyone's attorney advise their client not to discuss a pending matter?
I have no doubt that (1) he'll be asked about it, and (2) that he will decline to comment, citing the pending investigation.

I wonder what the fan reaction will be at the Winter Weekend if he's there. Cheers or Boos? Does he get the Patrick Reed treatment?
 

EvilEmpire

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I think Cora will get a stiff suspension of at least a year, but I don't think he'll get a lifetime ban unless he lies or obstructs the investigation, which I seriously doubt he would do.
 

mauidano

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Not sure how Cora can attend the event this weekend. It would be a huge distraction for the intent of the weekend. I would assume that ownership has had this discussion with him.

I feel bad for Cora's family. He has done some very good things for Puerto Rico and his Social Media presence has been visible with his wife and teen daughter as well. This poor kid has enough going on in her head at this age without her hero being torn down publicly. Nothing worse.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Even discounting the 2018 allegations - if you owned a business and the general manager of your biggest and most prestigious division was found guilty of orchestrating a bribery scheme in 2017 while in their last job, would you keep him or her on?
Apparently it wasn't a problem for the NFL Hall Of Fame. Jonathan Winters lookalike C. David Baker, "once a rising star in the local Republican Party" was convicted of forgery when running for Mayor of Irvine, but Roger Goodell was willing to look the other way

 

CoffeeNerdness

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That's the enormous giant of a man that told Jimmy Johnson he was in the Hall this past weekend. Telling that man no in any context would be extremely scary.
 

jose melendez

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I've been digesting this for a couple days now, and mostly it makes me really sad.

This isn't deflategate, which was fake, or Spygate, which was grossly exaggerated. This was an enduring organizational effort to cheat during the games played. This is like if spygate were what Tomase claimed and they actually were taping plays.

I don't like conceding it, and it doesn't change what I felt in 2018, but yeah, it puts an asterisk on it. I'd still rather have the ring, don't get me wrong, but there's an asterisk. Is it more than on the steroid era teams? I don't really know. I suspect that there was a ton of this going on across the league and that the Sox and Astros were just better at it, or perhaps more ambitious, and I suppose that's a mitigating factor. Still, this is about as dark as it gets in Boston baseball history, non Tony-C division.

I'm also curious if there's evidence of ownership involvement? Henry is pretty hands on. What happens then.

All of that said, I think a ban is a little nuts. One year seems like the appropriate punishment, but I could buy two.
 

genoasalami

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Are we seriously considering Cora could be banned for life? I mean, throwing a world series and betting on baseball is bad, but thinking of the most clever way to steal signs in baseball isnt at that level.

Edit: To add, I think the worst case scenario is he goes under suspension like Hinch, and the Sox fire him. He might have a hard time finding another manager job in the future and in a sense thats a weak way to completely remove him from baseball. Its possible, but I seriously doubt Manfred outright banishes him from baseball.
No way around it, Cora's fucked. I just don't see how the Sox keep him on board and continue to receive the fallout of Cora's prior sins.
Being banned for life with the possibility of applying for reinstatement is definitely in play.
 

brandonchristensen

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What was the Red Sox process?

The Astros have tons of film of them doing it, dug up by the internet. And they had direct lies to the media when asked about it.

I know the Sox were doing something - but what?
 

mauidano

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Any suspension of any kind has to be followed in suit by termination. Mr. Crane and the Astros did the right thing. You have to move on from this. Unfortunately, Cora's legacy is forever tarnished. Cora may get another job in baseball someday but it won't be with the Red Sox. I hope he saved and invested. It's so sad and disappointing.
 

genoasalami

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Which, I'm sorry, would be the stupidest punishment in the history of sports.

Maybe Cora should be fired for some sort of continuation for what he apparently did in Houston with the Red Sox who were already on thin ice. But a lifetime ban? Come on ... that would mean MLB would effectively be penalizing the Red Sox more harshly than the Astros for this. That can't be allowed to happen -- and if I were the Red Sox FO, I wouldn't just stand by and let it happen either.

I don't think Cora should be fired for any of this, frankly. It's not clear to me that what happened with the Astros was some grave offense to the integrity of the game, much less what happened with the Sox. But if they're standing behind him beyond just waiting for the report to come out, my guess is that they think Cora is being treated unfairly in some way or taking the fall for the Astros. And if he is, I think that's the right call on their part.
You may think it is stupid, but don't be shocked if the punishment is a ban for life with the possibility of applying for reinstatement. Why would that shock anyone based on what has already gone down?
 

BaseballJones

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What was the Red Sox process?

The Astros have tons of film of them doing it, dug up by the internet. And they had direct lies to the media when asked about it.

I know the Sox were doing something - but what?
I thought they were going back to the video room and looking at the video to try to figure out the catcher's signs, and then passing that on to teammates so when they reached second base, *they* could relay information to the hitter.

Of course, they were apparently allowed to be in the video room to do things like look at their swings or whatever, so it seems kind of crazy for MLB to say, you can go back there and look at whether the pitcher is tipping pitches, how your swing looks, but for god's sake you CANNOT look at the catcher's signs.
 

Marbleheader

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Cora should have been handled at the same time. MLB doesn't have the resources to conduct simultaneous investigations? Announce Astros punishments yesterday, Cora today, get it all done with and move on.
 

brandonchristensen

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I thought they were going back to the video room and looking at the video to try to figure out the catcher's signs, and then passing that on to teammates so when they reached second base, *they* could relay information to the hitter.

Of course, they were apparently allowed to be in the video room to do things like look at their swings or whatever, so it seems kind of crazy for MLB to say, you can go back there and look at whether the pitcher is tipping pitches, how your swing looks, but for god's sake you CANNOT look at the catcher's signs.
This seems incredibly inoffensive compared to trash can banging.
 

BaseballJones

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This seems incredibly inoffensive compared to trash can banging.
Agreed. Apples and oranges. But the problem for the Sox is that they were already caught in the stupid Apple watch deal so this would represent a second offense. So they're going to be dealt with harshly. Cora, of course, was involved in both the Astros' situation and the Sox' situation, so he's toast.
 

mauidano

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Cora should have been handled at the same time. MLB doesn't have the resources to conduct simultaneous investigations? Announce Astros punishments yesterday, Cora today, get it all done with and move on.
Exactly! I was thinking the same thing as the process played out yesterday. To drag it on benefits no one.
 

Van Everyman

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More seriously, I get why some fans are upset about this. That’s the rub with New England – we are passionate one way or another about our teams. When things go well, it’s a feeling of elation we don’t allow ourselves in the regular course of the day. When they go badly, we sink into a deep depression of sadness and resentment. I’m teasing @jose melendez but that’s Boston sports, for better or worse.

I just ... can’t really work myself up over this. I can’t really see this as a significant advantage, what the Sox did anyways. Perhaps we’ll learn more.

To that end, in some ways, I’d be more interested in hearing Cora discuss this out in the open– less “who knew what when” than why they did it, how it developed from Beltran to him, what players felt they got out of it. Cora is a really thoughtful guy and I suspect if he spoke up and explained things a bit there might be a little less fire and brimstone.
 

nvalvo

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This seems incredibly inoffensive compared to trash can banging.
EXACTLY. People are leaping to insane conclusions in this thread, but — unless there's unreported accusations — what Boston is accused of is very mild.

edit: I'm not at all surprised that the team is standing by Cora, and I think it's appropriate. I assume they have a better idea than we do about where matters stand.
 

joe dokes

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Standing by their man may merely mean waiting until MLB's decree comes out before deciding to take action.
That's my sense as well. They probably have some idea of how long that will take, so its not the kind of thing where he gets whacked on March 20th or something really inconvenient.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Agreed. Apples and oranges. But the problem for the Sox is that they were already caught in the stupid Apple watch deal so this would represent a second offense. So they're going to be dealt with harshly. Cora, of course, was involved in both the Astros' situation and the Sox' situation, so he's toast.
There are two distinct things being discussed here. The first is whether the Sox are deserving of more punishment from MLB than if a different team had done the same thing. The answer to that is unfortunately yes both because of the previous violation and because the Sox' conduct occurred in 2018 after the warning from the league office.

The second is whether the Sox's conduct should be thought of differently in terms of on-field results. Here I would strongly argue no (and thus there is no need for any kind of "asterisk"). It's been extensively reported by multiple outlets that many - perhaps the great majority - other teams were using similar systems in the 2015-2017 time period at minimum. Given that, I see no reason why the Red Sox's 2018 season should be thought of any differently than, say, the 2016 Yankees season. And before anyone says that it is different because the Sox won the WS, it's also been reported that MLB monitored the replay rooms in the 2018 postseason so the Sox's postseason success has nothing to do with their sign-stealing tactics unless new information comes out.
 

mauidano

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And before anyone says that it is different because the Sox won the WS, it's also been reported that MLB monitored the replay rooms in the 2018 postseason so the Sox's postseason success has nothing to do with their sign-stealing tactics unless new information comes out.
I think people are losing sight of this in all the noise. The 2018 WS Championship is intact. This was a really, really good team that won convincingly.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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That's my sense as well. They probably have some idea of how long that will take, so its not the kind of thing where he gets whacked on March 20th or something really inconvenient.
Very hard to imagine MLB issuing any kind of punishment once the season starts. There's plenty of time, but one might think that by spring training would be a deadline, if MLB cares about that kind of thing.
 

lexrageorge

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Given that what the 2018 Sox were alleged to be doing, it seems like it should be a fairly straightforward investigation that could probably wrap up in a few weeks at most. So I can absolutely support Henry & Co waiting that time before taking action on Cora. The only drawback of waiting would be if, for some reason, the Sox sign stealing went well beyond what was reported. But I think Henry would learn about that soon enough to still take the necessary action.
 

mauidano

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Given that what the 2018 Sox were alleged to be doing, it seems like it should be a fairly straightforward investigation that could probably wrap up in a few weeks at most. So I can absolutely support Henry & Co waiting that time before taking action on Cora. The only drawback of waiting would be if, for some reason, the Sox sign stealing went well beyond what was reported. But I think Henry would learn about that soon enough to still take the necessary action.
Gotta believe that ownership has a pretty good idea of what's going on behind the public view and has a contingency plan in place. None of it will be a "win-win". But they are not going to caught off guard as the Astros seemed to be.
 

dhappy42

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Given that what the 2018 Sox were alleged to be doing, it seems like it should be a fairly straightforward investigation that could probably wrap up in a few weeks at most. So I can absolutely support Henry & Co waiting that time before taking action on Cora. The only drawback of waiting would be if, for some reason, the Sox sign stealing went well beyond what was reported. But I think Henry would learn about that soon enough to still take the necessary action.
Is it reasonable to hope that because the Red Sox got their hands slapped in 2017 for the AppleWatch thing that the team didn’t engage in illegal sign-stealing using the video room in 2018 when Cora became manager?

I know The Athletic ran a story saying some individual players stole signs when visiting the video room, but that’s very different from a systematized team scheme. How is it even possible to prevent players from watching catchers’ signs in the video room as long as they’re allowed in the video room for other purposes?
 

Tyrone Biggums

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I think people are losing sight of this in all the noise. The 2018 WS Championship is intact. This was a really, really good team that won convincingly.
MLB was monitoring the room during the playoffs. Sox won fair and square.
 

JimD

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EXACTLY. People are leaping to insane conclusions in this thread, but — unless there's unreported accusations — what Boston is accused of is very mild.
The actual offense is almost besides the point. In 2017, the Red Sox organization received a mild punishment and were very specifically instructed by the Commissioner to knock it off or else risk substantial further punishment. Whether it was systematic or being run by a bunch of rogue players, the bottom line is that the organization did not take the necessary steps to ensure that its employees would abide by the league's ruling. Manfred is right to be furious with the Boston organization and his punishment will likely reflect this, regardless of whether the actual scheme was mild or not.
 

Rovin Romine

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Is it reasonable to hope that because the Red Sox got their hands slapped in 2017 for the AppleWatch thing that the team didn’t engage in illegal sign-stealing using the video room in 2018 when Cora became manager?

I know The Athletic ran a story saying some individual players stole signs when visiting the video room, but that’s very different from a systematized team scheme. How is it even possible to prevent players from watching catchers’ signs in the video room as long as they’re allowed in the video room for other purposes?
It really shouldn't be so hard to have an electronic communications blackout. The game starts - no one gets electronic contact with the outside world without a MLB employee present, which solves the replay room problem. Otherwise, do whatever you want to prep for the game. Do whatever you want to post-mortem the game.

That also solves the fit bit/buzzer problem. I mean, if it's not illegal, and I'm a MLB hitter, I'm paying someone to sit in the stands with some high powered binos and "buzz" me every time I'm at the plate. Simple code and I can start waiting on pitches.
 

chrisfont9

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Gotta believe that ownership has a pretty good idea of what's going on behind the public view and has a contingency plan in place. None of it will be a "win-win". But they are not going to caught off guard as the Astros seemed to be.
Yeah, the Astros knew over the weekend.

For the Sox, if Cora is going to be suspended for a year (the simplest outcome to imagine from what we know), then the Sox have to think about firing him. Who wants to take an interim job knowing they're out again after this year? Some guys, but not necessarily the person who's up for the job of managing the Sox. If you want the best manager in 2020 and Cora is out, then you need to be offering a permanent job, I'd think.
 

OurF'ingCity

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It really shouldn't be so hard to have an electronic communications blackout. The game starts - no one gets electronic contact with the outside world without a MLB employee present, which solves the replay room problem. Otherwise, do whatever you want to prep for the game. Do whatever you want to post-mortem the game.

That also solves the fit bit/buzzer problem. I mean, if it's not illegal, and I'm a MLB hitter, I'm paying someone to sit in the stands with some high powered binos and "buzz" me every time I'm at the plate. Simple code and I can start waiting on pitches.
Agreed - there should be no such thing as the "replay room" at all. As others have said, if a call is egregious enough to be challenged based on real-time, visual observation, fine, but there is no need to hold everything up while the manager waits to get notified from the replay room as to whether a play should be challenged. Kills two birds with one stone - speeds up the game and eliminates the risk for sign-stealing in this manner.
 

dhappy42

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Agreed - there should be no such thing as the "replay room" at all. As others have said, if a call is egregious enough to be challenged based on real-time, visual observation, fine, but there is no need to hold everything up while the manager waits to get notified from the replay room as to whether a play should be challenged. Kills two birds with one stone - speeds up the game and eliminates the risk for sign-stealing in this manner.
Yes, the mere existence of the replay video room is the root of the problem. It’s unreasonable to have a live video feed available to players and expect them not to use it to steal signs and then share them with other players. That said, transmitting info obtained in the video room by text, phone, buzzers or whatever to be used by batters for *real time* is a clear violation.
 

Dewey'sCannon

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I don't think anyone here is really defending him. This was wrong, and he'll deservedly be punished. But if you believe he's a good manager and a good man, I don't see what firing him accomplishes other than satisfying some blood lust.
Well, I think what it accomplishes is giving you a manager for 2020, which I think we're going to need.

If they only suspend Cora for a year (which I think is probably the minimum he's looking at), then maybe you can just wait and decide to just make Roenicke the interim manager (assuming he's mot also implicated and suspended). But if it's more than a year, which I think is likely (and hopefully something that ownership can get a read on), then I think you have to replace him and move on. And the sooner that happens, the better.
 

joe dokes

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Yeah, the Astros knew over the weekend.

For the Sox, if Cora is going to be suspended for a year (the simplest outcome to imagine from what we know), then the Sox have to think about firing him. Who wants to take an interim job knowing they're out again after this year? Some guys, but not necessarily the person who's up for the job of managing the Sox. If you want the best manager in 2020 and Cora is out, then you need to be offering a permanent job, I'd think.
Certainly not quite the same deal, but Lovullo had no problem with the interim tag for the last 1/3 of a Farrell season.
Ultimately, though, I agree. For a full season on a team that's not just playing out the string, I'm not sure who they could get on a "1 year only" deal.
 

YTF

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This is why I’m not certain that the players and Cora understood that what they were doing was cheating, as opposed to everybody-does-it sign-stealing gamesmanship.

I explained this in the other thread, but basically, the league’s 2017 warning focused on banning the use of electronic devices to transmit info between the video room and the dugout, [edit: not between a CF camera and a video room, which was and still is legal.] It also banned using the video info at all, but the emphasis at the time was on AppleWatches and phones.

It’s conceivable that players thought moving video monitors closer to the dugout made *non-electronic* transfer of sign-stealing info — which seems to have been common —easier and quicker and therefore in compliance with the 2017 memo, which probably none of them read.

Here’s the thing: most cheaters make an effort to hide their activities. Physically moving monitors closer to the dugout is impossible to hide. So is banging on trash cans, which aren’t electronic devices.

Im not trying to excuse cheating. I’m trying to understand how the Astros could have been so blatant about it. Stupidity and ignorance seem more likely explanations than hubris.
Please read this 3 times like I just did and ask yourself if you believe this.
 

DeadlySplitter

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it's not really what Drellich / Rosenthal reported... Mike Fiers whistleblew first, then 3 anonymous members of our team.
Right. It's also pretty unbelievable that other (most?) teams weren't doing something similar. They just didn't get focused on by Drelich.
 

galumph

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MLB was monitoring the room during the playoffs. Sox won fair and square.
Though, Sox also got (the possibility of) extra homes games AND got to start each series at Fenway because of their MLB-best 108 wins. You can't state with certainty that any of the 108 wins occurred specifically because of cheating, but you also can't say it had NO influence on getting them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, I fear.
 

BaseballJones

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Though, Sox also got (the possibility of) extra homes games AND got to start each series at Fenway because of their MLB-best 108 wins. You can't state with certainty that any of the 108 wins occurred specifically because of cheating, but you also can't say it had NO influence on getting them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, I fear.
Do you know what the Sox’ road record was during those playoffs?
 

Muddy Chicken

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This whole thing just sucks. I like Cora, I was thrilled when he was hired. I loved the 2018 run, just a blast from start to finish. I still think they were the best team that year (and any that I’ve seen) but with all this, they are a bit less so now. It would be prudent to move on from Cora in light of all of this. (sigh) It just really sucks.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Though, Sox also got (the possibility of) extra homes games AND got to start each series at Fenway because of their MLB-best 108 wins. You can't state with certainty that any of the 108 wins occurred specifically because of cheating, but you also can't say it had NO influence on getting them home field advantage throughout the playoffs, I fear.
Depends how widespread the cheating was. If the Sox were the only team (or one of only a few teams) using the replay room to steal signs in 2018, you're right. If instead the use of the room to steal signs in 2018 was relatively rampant despite the league warning the previous year, then the Sox were on essentially an even playing field.

But as I noted in a prior post, I highly doubt MLB wants to spend the time trying to figure out each and every team that might have been using this system in 2018, so I doubt we are ever going to conclusively know the answer. MLB has a big incentive to punish the Red Sox, say the matter is closed, and end it there. Otherwise, there is a risk to MLB that, like with the PED issue, the criticisms stop being "why did this specific team/coach cheat" and start being "why was MLB so feckless that it allowed everyone to cheat and break its rules?" Not to mention that I'm sure MLB doesn't want to spend the time and money investigating every team, interviewing potentially dozens of players or more, etc.
 

Van Everyman

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Can we please pump the brakes on the “mandatory footnotes” and asterisks talk until we know more about what actually took place in 2018? There’s no indication yet that this would have even been more than a minor offense absent the Apple Watch thing in 2017 and Cora’s presence.
 
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I hope their investigation gets wrapped up this week so the Sox can fire Cora and move on. ST is only a month away and Bloom needs a new staff ASAP.
 
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