By Allegra Maloney

November 3, 2018—Thousands of Puerto Rican citizens welcomed home their own Alex Cora, manager of the Red Sox, and with him the World Series championship trophy in the heart of his hometown, Cuagas, Puerto Rico; the city was a victim of the 2017 Hurricane Maria, leaving Cora and Sox fans’ lives forever changed—since, Cora organized and executed relief efforts with Red Sox players. NBC Sports Boston reports that a major component of Cora’s contract negotiation, which took place October, 2017, included a team-wide initiative for Hurricane Maria relief. As a result, according to the Boston Globe, Cora and the Red Sox Foundation issued a $200,000 contribution towards Hurricane Maria relief in addition to food and water deliveries made by Cora and Sox players.  

Recently, Cora continued boosting morale in Puerto Rico with the Red Sox when claiming their fourth championship over the Los Angeles Dodgers (four games to one) in 15 years at the 2018 World Series—bringing tears and lauding cheers to its native Sox fans and friends of its home-town hero. This overwhelming convention of sports patrons and Puerto Rican patriots is regarded as monumental— Cora and the Sox effectively spearheaded the island’s climb from a natural disaster and a 12-year recession.   

A site for sore eyes—thousands of Sox fans lit up Paseo de las Artes, the main strip of Cuagas, through which welcome home signs reading, “Vivela de Cora,” “In Cora, we believe,” decorated the store-fronts and Red Sox apparel clothing nearly every native. Moreover, upon Cora’s arrival with fellow players—pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, infielder Eduardo Nunez, and catcher Christian Vasquez, also Puerto Rican, and Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner, the welcome home crowd engaged in a patriotic and lauding chant, “Cora! Cora!” The festivities continued and emotions ran at record-levels in celebration of this historic win for Puerto Rico. NBC Sports Boston quotes Cora and Sox fan, Miguel Martinez, “My eyes filled with tears when he won the championship because this is something historic.”  

In one account, according to the Boston Globe, Cora entertained the crowd with a personal note of gratitude, “You made me a better ballplayer, and you made me a better man,” and continued to reminisce, “People ask me what’s harder: being the manager of the Red Sox or being the manager of the Criollos. You know my answer: being the manager of the Criollos.” For those unfamiliar with Cora’s background, MLB news highlights his past sports management experience, including a two-year run from 2014-2016 with his home-town winter league team, the Criollos de Caguas—during which he trained players for the Caribbean Series, in which Puerto Rico maintained the second-most titles (14.) Additionally, MLB quotes Cora on the morale of his Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic team in a Winter 2017 interview, “The guys also really started playing with emotion and passion.” Today, this morale is celebrated and praised by long-time Sox and Cora fans on a large, international scope. NBC Sports Boston interviewee and Red Sox fan since 1972, Ramon Reyes confirms, “Puerto Rico’s name couldn’t be help up higher.”