ALCS 2021 will face the newest MLS winners of the World Championship against each other to see who will represent the junior circuit in 2021.

It also matches two teams that have been embroiled in signal-stealing scandals from their championship years: the Astros and the Red Sox. The thread between the two is current Boston coach Alex Cora.

Cora was a bench coach for the Astros in 2017, when Houston won the World Championship. The team later found that it used advanced signal-stealing technology during the regular season and post-season.

MORE: The Astros’ signal-stealing scandal and punishment explained

The Red Sox were fined by the MLB in September 2017 for a tag-stealing incident, then investigated for using video tag-stealing in 2018 when Cora managed to claim a nickname.

How was Alex Cora involved in the Astros scandal?

Before Cora took charge of the Red Sox, he was a bench coach for the Astros when the team started the World Championships in 2017.

According to an MLB investigation report From the Astros on January 13, 2020, Cora will contact the team’s replay review room for signal information. He also asked a technician to set up a monitor that would immediately display the central camera feed outside the Houston bunker. The MLB said a central camera was allowed at the time for the purpose of player development.

The report said players would watch the live stream, decode the signals, and then hit the trash to get the pitch type to the hitter.

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Witnesses told MLB that the signal theft was largely motivated by players and that Cora was the only non-player member involved in the scheme, although it was explained to MLB that other employees at the bunker had heard or seen noise.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wrote in the report, “Cora was involved in the development of both the hitting scheme and utilization of the replay review room to decode and transmit signals. Cora was involved in both schemes and, through his active participation, tacitly condoned players’ behavior,” the MLB commissioner wrote in the report .

Manfred added that he will wait to establish discipline until the baseball investigation into the allegations against the 2018 Red Sox is complete.

Alex Cora and the 2018 Red Sox scandal

This scandal was similar to the Astros signal theft but According to MLB It was “more limited in scope and influence”.

The Red Sox investigation, the results of which were released on April 22, 2020, revealed a system that was not as in-depth as the one created by the Astros. Video replay player JT Watkins will, on occasion, display a game feed in the replay room to learn the sequence of opposing teams’ signals and then relay them to the players.

The MLB said in its report that the operator will tell players about the signals before games and then update them with revised information during the game. The report also said that the information was only relevant when the Red Sox had a second base runner, and the trigger decoded signals from the in-game feed “in only a small percentage of those events.” According to the report, 19.7 percent of board appearances came across MLB in 2018 with a runner in second place.

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Cora wasn’t quite as surrounded by the Boston scandal as the Houston scandal was. The MLB report on the Red Sox stated that Cora was unaware of the use of video and that signal delivery was limited to Watkins and a few Boston players.

Manfred announced after investigation that Cora would be suspended until the end of the 2020 postseason for his involvement in the 2017 Astros scandal.

“Although I would not impose additional discipline on Cora as a result of Watkins’ behavior (because I did not find that he was aware of it), I note that Cora did not effectively tell the Red Sox players about the mark,” Manfred wrote in the discipline section of the investigation report. Theft rules that were in effect for the 2018 season.

Korra’s tenure as manager of Red Sox

Cora was announced as Boston’s manager ahead of the 2017 World Championships between the Astros and the Dodgers. He took over the leadership of the club after the series ended.

He was in command when the Red Sox won the 2018 World Championship in five games over the Dodgers. After the series, he got a contract extension until the 2021 season with the team option for 2022.

When the MLB announced its results in the Astros scandal, the future of the Cora Red Sox was in question. It got even more murky when Manfred said in the Astros investigation report that Cora would not face discipline until the Red Sox investigation was over.

Cora and the Red Sox agreed to separate on January 14, 2020. The team lost a draft pick as a penalty for stealing signals and Manfred suspended Cora for the entire 2020 season.

The Red Sox finished the shortened season for COVID-19 24-36 and final in AL East. They brought back Cora in November 2020 with a two-year contract and a pair of club options that could keep him in the Red Sox uniform until the end of the 2024 campaign.

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