Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora is the latest casualty of the baseball cheating scheme that has rocked the sports world this week.
Cora, who was bench coach for the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros and went on to become manager for the Red Sox, and lead that team to victory in 2018, announced on Friday he is parting ways with Boston.
A lengthy investigation by Major League Baseball concluded he helped develop the sign-stealing system that was seen as contributing to the Astros' and the Red Sox's devastating back-to-back blows to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cora's departure was widely expected and follows those of Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. The two were first suspended by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday, then fired by Astros owner Jim Crane later that day.
"Given the findings and the commissioner's ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward and we mutually agreed to part ways," the team said in a statement attributed to owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and Cora.
The statement said the four of them had agreed "parting ways was the best thing" for the team.
"I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward," he wrote. "It was an honor to manage these teams and help bring a World Series Championship back to Boston."
Cora moved from the Astros to the Red Sox, which won the World Series following the Astros' victory. He is accused of employing the same sign-stealing scam, according to the The Athletic.
The use of technology is strictly forbidden in baseball but investigators say the Texas team used a combination of high- and low-tech.
Officials say that during all of the Astros 2017 home games, the team used monitors near the dugout to watch live cameras placed in center field that were picking up secret hand signals between the opposing team's catcher and pitcher. When the Astros decoded the signs, they relayed the information to their hitters by banging on a trash can.
As NPR reported:
"Manfred said the banging method was planned and executed by Cora and players. Using the center field camera to decode signs was 'originated by lower-level baseball operations employees working in conjunction with Astros players and Cora.'
"While the investigation said that 'most of the position players on the 2017 team' participated in the scheme, Crane said no players will be suspended."