Alex Cora Manages the Red Sox and Inspires Boston’s Puerto Ricans
Over the years, some black players on visiting teams have said fans yelled racial taunts at them from the stands. Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican community in Boston has grown significantly over the past two decades, and some people who are part of that population have expressed uneasiness about how they are treated in the city.
Luis Rivera, 58, a school custodian and a Red Sox fan who moved to Boston from Puerto Rico at age 17, said he had felt uncomfortable attending games at Fenway Park with his brothers 20 years ago. As one of the few Puerto Ricans in his neighborhood back then, he heard insensitive comments.
“Things have gotten better,” he said. “The racism is improving.”
Cora said that he was aware of Boston’s history, but that in his playing days here from 2005 to 2008, when he was an infielder, and this season as a manager — both periods of success for the team — he and his family had been treated well.
It helped that three of the biggest figures in recent Red Sox history were Latinos, all from the Dominican Republic: Pedro Martinez, the Hall of Fame starting pitcher; Manny Ramirez, the enigmatic slugger, and David Ortiz, the beloved, larger-than-life power hitter.
“Those guys were huge in being a buffer,” Mike Lowell, a former Red Sox third baseman, said. Lowell, who was born in San Juan but raised in Miami, was the World Series M.V.P. and Cora’s teammate on Boston’s 2007 championship team.
“In our playing days, there were so many Puerto Rican and Dominican neighborhoods, we’d go to restaurants and get our seafood soup,” Lowell added. “We felt that in a big city there was a nice melting pot. When you’re playing well, no one cares. You’re on a pedestal there.”