USA Today Sports

The Alex Cora speech the Red Sox desperately needed

Rob Bradford
October 28, 2018 - 2:30 am

LOS ANGELES -- So many after the Red Sox' Game 4 World Series win were focused on the brief rant made by Chris Sale in his team's dugout just before its momentous comeback. Fair. Red Sox manager Alex Cora did, after all, say, "It was a moment."

That, however, wasn't the speech that truly mattered to these Red Sox. That one came earlier in the day.

"Right moment. Right time. Right words," said Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers.

What Hyers was talking about was what Cora said to the Red Sox immediately after their heart-breaking, 18-inning loss to the Dodgers Friday night. One out from going up 3-0 had turned into a historically long game with the most uncomfortable of outcomes for Boston.

Once in the clubhouse the beaten down group was gathered together by its manager. As Hyers confirmed, "They left a whole lot different than when they came in."

"I wish I could tell you guys all of it, but we had an incredible baseball game (Friday) night, one of the best of all-time," said pitching coach Dana LeVangie. "Unfortunately it didn’t turn out in our favor. But he praised everybody in the room. He praised a couple of guys individually, a big-time team gathering that there was at the end of it, a lot of standing ovation, clapping about it."

LeVangie added, to, "It was a perfect ending to an incredibly long game for everybody in that room. It was a perfect way to end that night."

It has been well-documented that this Red Sox team hasn't been big on meetings throughout this season, not participating in a single gathering like this one over the course of the last nine months. But as far as Cora was concerned, it was time. He was right.

A big part of the focus was praising the effort of pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who came in out of the bullpen to dominate for the final six innings until finally surrendering Max Muncy's game-winning homer. But it stretched beyond just the one pitcher. According to those who were there, these were the words the entire team needed.

"I thought Alex, what he said in that meeting was perfect. It just rallied the troops in his way," Hyers said. "He’s a really, really good communicator. ... I think emotions can go a lot of different ways. I think he was able to capture the room, send one message and a lot of guys got back on that winning page. That determined page we needed. It came from our leader. He has a knack of doing that. In my opinion, it was perfectly stated."

"Alex has a tremendous ability of reading the crowd," LeVangie said. "It was a tremendous moment. He got everybody together and there were probably people in there could have cried at the end because it was special."

It was so special that 10 hours and one win later they were still talking about it.

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