Jack Hinchliff is making his BFN debut. Yet to find a team to follow, why not hit him up on Twitter and peddle your team to him?
Do Damage! A slogan that epitomises the all-conquering 2018 Boston Red Sox and their first year manager Alex Cora. An October night on the West coast was the scene of Cora’s rapid rise to the summit of Baseballs coaching ladder, a night that now seems a long way away. As we all know now the following season saw a remarkable drop off, 84 wins was only good enough to secure 3rd place in the AL East and saw the Red Sox miss out on playoff baseball. An MLB investigation into the much-maligned Houston Astros and the revelations of the Red Sox use of a Replay monitor, Cora was placed on garden leave. It really does ‘only takes one match to burn a thousand trees’.
Sport should never be seen as a business, it’s always been the connection between club and the fans that made it such a spectacle. I was 28 when I discovered the simple joys of baseball, sat in a bar in the MGM Grand as the Houston Astros hosted the LA Dodger in the World Series. The bar was buzzing! This wasn’t no TV show like the Super Bowl has unfortunately turned into, this was sport at its finest. Fast forward to 2019 and I found myself wondering if Baseball had become just about winning, would fans continue to support what seemed to be a rigged system. A sport so proud, Americas favourite pastime was once again having its morality questioned but it had found itself back in the mainstream media. People may have been talking about baseball but at what price, surely shitting yourself in public is not the way to get noticed?
After seeing the Nationals walk off with the world title in 2019, I was looking forward to seeing what 2020 would have to offer. As we all now know this year has been shit, a year to forget for many reasons. For those who don’t get sports, this year more than any other we have needed that escape, to blindly follow a team into the abyss and forget about the real world. This year brought big changes but somehow Baseball was the consistent, the Yankees went in big for Cole, Cleveland did a Cleveland and did nothing, the Mets somehow improved but didn’t and good old Seattle missed out on the playoffs. Somethings however did change; Boston were propping up the east the Astros had a losing record neither team would make the fall classic.
Some say karma is a bitch, for the LA Dodgers (who fell twice at the final hurdle in 2017 and 2018) lifting the World Series Trophy would have felt like justice. Clayton Kershaw gets the monkey off his back, Mookie wins his second and baseball can finally move on.
Back in Puerto Rico, Alex Cora is coming to end of his forced exile from Major League Baseball, his return is inevitable (At time of writing he wasn’t confirmed – Tom) but a lot has changed over the past year. If Boston are to return to winning ways next season, they will have to do so with all of Baseball closely watching and this time there can’t be no grey areas. For Cora this is a chance at redemption, his return to the Red Sox will be heavily scrutinised, will he be able to shed the reputation that hangs over his head. In 2018 it was Do Damage, I feel 2021 will be Damage Limitation!