ESPN people say working for ESPN helped prepare Alex Cora to manage

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Alex Cora’s formal introduction as the Red Sox manager has been delayed until today due to the fact that, you know, his Houston Astros won the World Series, had a parade and have been in recovery mode since last week. Now it’s all Red Sox for Cora. Until he himself starts talking about the new job later today, we’ll content ourselves to reading about what other people say about him and his new gig.

An interesting example of that can be found in the Boston Globe. There Pete Abraham has a story about how Cora’s time as an ESPN analyst helped prepare him for the Red Sox job. All of the quotes in the story are from ESPN people talking about how Cora approached his job as an analyst. There’s a reference to Buck Showalter and Terry Francona spending time at ESPN in between managing posts, but they aren’t quoted. I’d be curious to hear if they thought that kind of work helped them. I can imagine them either scoffing at the idea or saying, yeah, it made you look at the game a different way. No idea. I can’t say that it’s a topic I’ve thought about much before. In the absence of any actual baseball news today, it’s interesting to consider.

Anyway, even if the ESPN folks are overselling how important Cora’s work at ESPN was in his preparation as a manager, I can’t imagine that it would hurt for a guy coming to Boston to have as much media experience as possible. It’s probably a bigger part of the job there than it is in any other baseball town.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).