BOSTON – Much has been made of Puerto Rico’s strong presence in the MLS Championship series between the Red Sox and Astros. Among the players, coaches and managers, 10 participants were born on Isla del Encanto or of Puerto Rican descent.
On the field, personalities like Carlos Correa and Enrique “Cake” Hernandez have grabbed the majority of the headlines. And of course, out of the caves on both sides, there’s a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge in baseball, starting with Paterogos manager, Alex Cora and QC coach, Ramon Vazquez, and continuing with Siderales coaches, Josué “Joe” Espada and Alex Cintron.
“I am very proud of every single one of them,” Cora said of the Puerto Rican players and coaches in the series.
Cora, of course, knows very well how the Astros coaches work, becoming coach for the Houston bench in 2017 (with everything and what was later learned about that version of the team), among many other Puerto Rican league connections as opposing/executive managers and their collaborations as coaches/ Puerto Rican national team executives for the 2013 and 2017 World Classics.
In particular, Espada has been a candidate for the Rangers, Cubs and Giants teams, among others, in recent years, and Cora is the first to champion his ability to coach at a major level at some point.
“We’ll see what lies ahead,” Cora said of Espada, who replaced Cora exactly as the Houston coach on the bench when he arrived in Boston to coach the Red Sox starting in 2018. He will be a major league manager.”
He has also seen Centron grow into the coaching staff of the Astros.
Cintrón has been solid with them since his arrival in 2017 as a translator. He’s his batting coach now and he got there pretty fast. I’m fine, very proud of him.”
Along with the Paterogos, Cora has relied on Vazquez since he took over at Boston three years ago. Vasquez was one of the team’s key players in advanced analysis, among other responsibilities. Like Espada, Cora thinks Vazquez may be on his way to running for management roles in the majors.
“Ramon is another person who, over time, people will start to understand what he brings and what kind of coach he can be,” said Cora, who first came curiously to the Paterogos as a player in 2005 in a deal with Vazquez. “I think you don’t have to envy anyone when it comes to knowing baseball.
“Your preparation is very important in what we do every day. It means a lot to these people at the club and I think over time, (other teams) will start calling us asking permission to interview him. He could become a very successful manager in the major league.”