Alex Cora's wink to Carlos Beltran is not what it seems, but it is revealing

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<pre><pre>Alex Cora's wink to Carlos Beltran is not what it seems, but it is revealing

The question of what it was – to break an uncomfortable silence and get things rolling – probably won't get me a congratulatory call from Bob Woodward:

"Alex, how you feel, obviously your jugs have been hit in the past few days."

This awkward phrase from me to Alex Cora, the then Red Sox manager, took place on June 30th at the London Stadium. Cora's reaction – especially his reputation to his good friend and, as it turns out, Astros' co-conspirator Carlos Beltran, who was then a Yankees advisor in 2017 – is currently receiving much more attention than it was then.

I wrote here and there about Cora's greeting to Beltran, and at the time it seemed like a funny inside joke. A little love for his buddy. And nothing else.

Was it far more than Cora's tongue in cheek when he first mentioned Beltran's name? I really don't think so. Cora's unexpected mention of Beltran's ability to steal signs, however, underlines the importance of part of the game for Cora and how much he valued Beltran's skills in this area, Astros, Cora as a bank coach and Beltran as a retired player. Cora is now unemployed and Beltran's status as a recently hired Mets manager is pending.

Cora did everything that day not to accuse Beltran of introducing something illegal into the Yankee universe. In that answer, Cora first said, "I'm not saying equipment, all that stuff." Of course, we didn't know that the trash can system that the Astros introduced in 2017 when baseball of Major League achieved its European status. For the first time, we knew about that Apple Watch, which used the Red Sox in the same season, and which Rob Manfred Memorandum put into practice, which started the massive penalties against the Astros last week.

After Cora ended this press conference, he went to see me to make sure I understood that he didn't imply that Beltran had done something wrong.

So that was not quite the equivalent of Walter White, who turned Hank's theory that Gale Boetticher was Heisenberg upside down, thereby putting himself at risk in such a general, harmless question / statement. Enough said, a fairly memorable exchange at the moment has suddenly become quite memorable.


Questions about the pop quiz:

By Paul Graziano from Baltimore: In an episode of "The Donna Reed Show" from 1964, three future Baseball Hall of Famers were presented. Two were Leo Durocher and Willie Mays. Name the third.

By Alan Letzt from Philomont, Va .: Name the former Yankees pitcher who played guitar for a rock group called Stickfigure.


If you want enough pop quiz material for a thousand lives, read the book “From Spring Training to Screen Testing: Baseball Players Become Actors”, which was compiled by my friend Rob Edelman and some of his friends from SABR.


Your pop quiz answers:

Don Drysdale

Jack McDowell

If you have a treat that links baseball to popular culture, please send it to kdavidoff@nypost.com.

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