The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday it had fired manager Alex Cora following a Major League Baseball report detailing his role in stealing pitching signs during the Houston Astros‘ World Series-winning 2017 season.
The MLB investigation found that Astros players and employees would monitor opposing catchers’ signals using a camera in the center field of the team’s stadium, then relay the signals to their hitters by someone banging on a trash can.
Cora, while a coach in Houston, arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout, according to the MLB report.
The Sox announced his departure on Twitter in a statement on behalf of the team’s principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and chief executive Sam Kennedy.
“Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox,” the statement said. “We are grateful for his impact on our franchise.”
Cora said that he did not want to “be a distraction to the Red Sox” in the team statement.
“It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston,” Cora said. “I will forever be indebted to to the organization and the fans who supported me as a player, a manager and in my efforts to help Puerto Rico.”
The former manager did not comment on the MLB commissioner report on his role in the sign-stealing scheme.
The Astros fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch Monday after the men were both suspended by the league. The team was also fined a $5 million, the maximum allowed, and will forfeit its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts, according to the MLB.
The MLB did not say in its report it planned to penalize Cora for his role in the Houston sign stealing, but he could still be disciplined by the league after it completes a report on suspected sign stealing by his 2018 Red Sox.
Four people associated with the Astros during the 2017 season — when the Astros won their only World Series title — said the team used a camera in the outfield to steal pitching signs during home games, the sports site The Athletic reported in November.
“Witnesses explained that they initially experimented with communicating sign information by clapping, whistling or yelling but that they eventually determined that banging a trash can was the preferred method of communication,” according to the MLB report.
Stealing signs using the human eye is a generally accepted practice in the game of baseball, but using technology to steal signs is a forbidden form of cheating.
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