BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora took the podium on Monday afternoon, left alone for 22 minutes to answer media questions about Sunday's sudden dismissal of president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Cora had to handle questions solo because Red Sox principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and team president Sam Kennedy addressed the move through a statement earlier in the day, deciding not to answer questions about why Boston ousted its baseball-operations leader less than a year after a World Series championship.
And when asked if it was unfair that he alone had to face the noise, Cora deflected.
"Unfair, fair, I don't know," Cora said. "The team sent a statement. They want to make sure we appreciate what Dave did as an organization. For some people, that's not enough. For others, it isn't. I'm here every day to talk to you guys. From my end, I was very surprised, but at the same time, you think about it today, this is the guy that gave me a shot to be a big league manager.
"For four or five years, you go through this process and nobody gives you a shot and then all of a sudden Dave Dombrowski gives me a chance to run this organization as a manager. We had a lot of success last year. This year, not as much. This is a business that sometimes you have to make tough decisions, and it was a tough decision."
In a statement to the Boston Globe, Dombrowski said he was "appreciative of my time here," but added, "this season did not go as we all planned."
"[I] enjoyed working with the personnel in our organization," Dombrowski told the Globe. "However, [I] respect ownership's decision to make any changes they choose."
Cora said he met with Henry, Werner and Kennedy along with assistant general managers Eddie Romero and Brian O'Halloran, half of the quartet who will run baseball operations in the interim with senior vice president Raquel Ferreira and assistant general manager Zack Scott, after Sunday's 10-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
"They told me: 'You have to tell the players,'" Cora said. "It's not easy. I always talk about it with you guys. There's the game, and then there's what happens off the field, and then your feelings and all that. It was a tough night for everybody."
Cora said he called Dombrowski on Monday morning to thank him for giving him opportunity to manage in Boston, repeatedly mentioning their talks about life and baseball on team flights. Cora flatly denied reports that Dombrowski was disconnected from the analytics department, contributing to his departure.
"Right now, we have four people that are going to be running the baseball operations that are very respected, people that are not new for me because between Dave and the four of them, they were always around," Cora said. "These are people we really trust and we really like. It's going to be interesting obviously because it's a new dynamic but it's actually not that new. One thing you saw was all the teamwork here. Eddie, Raquel, Zack and [O'Halloran], that's what they're going to do. Try to put the organization in the best position every day."
Henry, Werner and Kennedy also addressed the team Monday, according to Cora.
"Everybody is on the same page and knows what's going on," Cora said.
With 19 games left in the season, Boston's playoff odds are at less than 1%, according to FiveThirtyEight research. Cora said some regulars will see more rest.
"We'll do our best to win every game possible, but at the same time, we have to take care of some players," Cora said. "There are some arms here that are not part of the now, but the future of the organization. I know a lot of people like the all-in approach, at the same time, we've been all-in for a long time."
With the Red Sox changing direction, beginning their search for a new head of baseball operations, Cora reflected on the annual pressures that come with leading a sports team in Boston, a city that has seen its sports teams win 12 championships since 2001 across the four major American sports.
"Last year, when I came here, I knew what I was getting into obviously," Cora said. "The expectations here are to win a championship every year. Is it realistic? No. But as a fan, that's who we are. I'm a fan of other teams and that's what I want for my teams. I don't think it's unfair. It is what it is. We live in a city where the standards are set very, very high since 2002 or right around that. This is what make it enjoyable, that on a daily basis, you show up and do your best because if not, they're going to let you know that you didn't. That's what pushes me."
Cora's job is not expected to be in jeopardy in light of Boston's disappointing season, though he added the ownership group has not told him specifically that he was safe.
"We haven't talked about that," Cora said. "I think we're like in the first stages of whatever is going to happen in the upcoming months."