Detroit Tigers manager AJ Hinch had some nice compliments for Alex Cora
If you feel a bit uneasy about the Detroit Tigers hiring AJ Hinch a season after he lost his job earlier this year due to his role in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal, you’re not alone. His comments Thursday on now fellow manager Alex Cora might not have made you feel much better, either.
Hinch shared his thoughts on his former bench coach, Cora, who was recently rehired as the manager of the Boston Red Sox following an unplanned season off for the scandal himself.
Per Evan Woodbery of MLive.com:
Honestly, it might be a little too early to hear what a great baseball mind Cora has given the pair’s past history, or the pair’s bond.
Hinch and, frankly, the Tigers are going to be walking on eggshells on this topic, at least as far as fan reaction goes.
While it is generally a good thing when an athlete or entertainer shares his or her honest thoughts rather than a PR-packaged response, each word Hinch speaks on the subject will be checked for sincerity and contrition.
And they should.
Some time and trust are going will be a requirement before some in the fan base will be ready to allow Hinch a chance to move on — at least with the franchise they root for.
Those upset that their team would hire a punished cheater are within their right to be. For some, winning shouldn’t come at any cost. How does that separate you from the actual cheaters like the Astros?
It’s one thing to acknowledge that in a vacuum the Tigers made what is likely among the best manager hires of the offseason. (That is, if you believe managers matter.)
He’s already hit the ground running and is without question putting together a strong staff.
It’s another to be ready to forgive and move on.
About the best thing you can say about Hinch is that he lost control of his team during the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal — which doesn’t necessarily speak well of a manager.
He himself said he did nothing to stop it, as cited in MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s report at the time.
“Hinch admits he did not stop it and he did not notify players or Cora that he disapproved of it, even after the Red Sox were disciplined in September 2017,” Manfred wrote. “Similarly, he knew of and did not stop the communication of sign information from the replay room, although he disagreed with this practice as well and specifically voiced his corners on at least one occasion about the use of the replay phone for this purpose.”
(Quote via the Free Press)
Hinch was fired by the Astros for it. Cora was fired by the Red Sox.
Hinch has said the right things. In his initial press meetings, he was apologetic and acknowledged what he did was wrong.
“That is our reality,” he said, “because wrong is wrong, and it was very wrong, and I’ll make sure that everyone knows that I feel responsible. Because I was the manager and it was on my watch, and I’ll never forget it.”
(Via the NY Times)
But if you’re looking for anything right now as a Tigers fan, it’s for Hinch to put a little more space between him and the scandal rather than putting himself in the same boat as one of the chief perpetrators.
Whether he did that Thursday might just be a Rorschach test for where you stand today on hiring Hinch in the first place.