This week’s series between the teams that starred in the legendary 1986 World Series has also been an opportunity for Dominican Luis Rojas to finally face Puerto Rican Alex Cora and complete the cycle against all the other Latinos currently coaching in the Major Leagues of the American baseball.
Cora’s Boston Red Sox beat Rojas’ New York Mets 2-1 on Tuesday in the start of a two-game interleague series at Citi Field in Queens. On Wednesday, megastar right-hander Jacob deGrom (2-1, 0.31 with 50 strikeouts at 29.0 IL) will start for the Mets, while Nick Pivetta (2-0, 3.48, 18 K, 20.2 IL) will start for the Red Sox. .
Last season, in his debut as manager of the Mets, Rojas faced Puerto Ricans Dave Martínez, of the Washington Nationals, and Charlie Montoyo, of the Toronto Blue Jays, but did not coincide with Mexican Rick Renteria, who led the Chicago. White Sox before being replaced by Tony LaRusssa at the end of the season.
Cora missed 2020 serving a penalty for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros signal theft scandal, a team where he was the bench coach before being named manager of Boston for the first time.
It was as a consequence of the same scandal that the former Puerto Rican Astros striker, Carlos Beltrán, chose to resign, in January 2020, from the Mets pilot position that he had received three months earlier, opening the door for them to sign Rojas. , whose father Felipe Rojas Alou, also directed in the “Big Show”.
“It is an honor, a privilege, to be able to work against a Latino. Luis has been a baseball worker, what he has he has earned,” said Cora, one of three Latino leaders (along with Martínez and Venezuelan Ozzie Guillén ) who have won the World Series.
“[Luis Rojas] He comes from a family that is royalty in Latin American baseball, but the job he has earned it. He got involved in that organization, he has the respect of everyone in that dressing room, it has been tremendous. I have followed him from afar, but I know that he is a highly respected man and in this market, which is not easy, he has done an excellent job, “added the Puerto Rican.
“To be on this stage, occupying the same position as a fellow Latino like Alex Cora is an honor,” said Rojas, whose uncles, Mateo and Jesús; his brother, Moses; and cousin, Mel Rojas Sr., played in the major leagues.
“I have great respect for Alex, who has given me his friendship since I arrived at the post. When I arrived he wrote to me and congratulated me. For me it is a great honor to be in the opposite cave in the same game,” he added.
Since the commissioner’s office created interleague games 24 years ago, Boston and New York have had head-to-head matches in 1997, 2001, 2006, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2021. The Red Sox, who dominate the private series 18-14 (12-6 in Queens), they host the Mets at Fenway Park on September 21-22 to complete this year’s four-game set.
How does Alex Cora remember the 1986 Boston vs. Mets World Series?
The Puerto Rican manager of the Red Sox confesses that he sympathized with New York in that series, like most Puerto Ricans. In addition, he comments on the importance of his clash in 2021 against another Latin manager, Luis Rojas.
Until 1997, the only instance in which clubs in the American and National leagues could measure strength was the World Series. The 1986 edition was an epic battle that was decided in a seventh game, which the Mets won to capture the second title in their history and extend the agony of the Red Sox, who at that time had not been able to secure a title since 1918.
That World Series will always be remembered for the error in the 10th inning of Boston 1B Bill Buckner (on a soft ground by outfielder Mookie Wilson), which allowed the Mets to score the winning run in the sixth game, which Boston was within a distance of sentencing strike twice. The next day, New York scored all eight of his runs in his last three at-bats to snag his first championship since 1969.
“My favorite team was the Mets. In Puerto Rico, we have a lot of Mets fans,” said Cora, who turned 11 during the 1986 World Series.
“I remember everything you did [el jardinero central y primer bate de los Mets] Lenny Dykstra, who was very uncomfortable for the Red Sox. I remember many details. It was a special moment for baseball, but extremely tough for the Boston fans, “said Cora.
In the case of Rojas, who was five years old, almost everything he knows about the fall 1986 classic is from historical references and testimonies from some of the protagonists.
“I was a kid, but that year and the World Series of that season are an important part of the history of the Mets. I have seen some games and the events that happened for us to be champions that year. The 86 team is very famous here, they always pay tribute to him, “said Rojas.