Look At This Grouch
12:43 PM EDT on October 19, 2021
We all know that the majority of baseball managers are humorless scolds, because they are constantly doing and saying things that reveal them as such. So it's not exactly surprising that Red Sox manager Alex Cora got bent out of shape about his own player celebrating a big out last night, but the moment did offer an instructive glance into how exactly the mind of a true baseball grump works.
First, let's set the scene: Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was facing Astros shortstop Carlos Correa with two outs in the top of the sixth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS. Rodriguez had pitched well up to that point, helping to guide his team to a 9-3 lead, and if he could get Correa out he would be able to return to the dugout and call it a night with a strong postseason start under his belt. So when Rodriguez got Correa to ground out to end the inning, he was understandably excited and proud of himself, and those feelings manifested themselves in a well-timed taunt. Rodriguez turned to his dugout and tapped on his wrist, mocking the celebration that Correa has been doing throughout the postseason.
Upon seeing his triumphant starting pitcher do something objectively cool, Cora began shouting at him to knock it off.
What I find fascinating about Cora's reaction is just how quickly it happened. In one moment, he was clapping his player off the field, and in the next he was screaming like a father who just noticed that his rambunctious kid was climbing around on top of the shed again. If nothing else, this helps us understand just how hardwired baseball managers can be to treat all instances of players having fun as an attack on their household. I've long held the suspicion that when a manager grumbles about how one of his players "needs to do better in that situation," during a postgame press conference, they are just keeping up appearances. But here is Cora proving that his curmudgeonly values are truly held, even in the face of the entire sport going through great pains to become a more fun-loving version of itself.
Cora is a successful manager who is handsomely compensated for his time, and still he chooses to spend his time at work channeling the vibes of a substitute gym teacher. What a way to live!