Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen revealed a moment when his manager, Alex Cora, earned Jansen’s respect for a lifetime.
For Cora, it was a moment he knew he needed to have with the former Los Angeles Dodgers on his team in Jansen, Kiké Hernandez and Justin Turner.
Jansen and Turner joined the Sox this past offseason, while Hernandez has been with the team since the 2021 campaign. All three of them played for the National League pennant-winning Dodgers during the 2017 season.
Baseball fans are familiar with what happened in the 2017 World Series between the Dodgers and Houston Astros.
Critics contend the Astros should be stripped of their title that year due to their cheating scandal.
As bench coach of those Astros before taking over as Red Sox manager, Cora owned up to mistakes made by Houston that year in a meeting neither of his three players expected.
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“I just felt like I wanted to cry at that moment when he said that,” Jansen told WEEI.com. “It just felt like a weight came off, for him to step and say we f—ed up as a whole group. Because I felt like that was the best season I ever had in my whole career because I dominated the whole year, dominated the playoffs, and the Houston Astros were the only ones who put the ball in play.
“It’s over with, and you can’t change stuff, but what we can do is appreciate when someone steps up and comes forward and be accountable for what they did. … I will respect AC forever for that, and I will appreciate him forever for that.”
The Dodgers won 104 games that year and were World Series favorites among many experts and fans. Jansen played a big role in that, collecting 41 saves to tie for second in the majors.
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But the Astros roughed him up when the World Series came around, and he learned later why that was the case.
However, Jansen admitted he was over the Astros’ scandal in 2021 once it was revealed in 2020. That’s why he’s not mad at his manager, especially after his apology.
“Why should I be mad? If you tell me you don’t make mistakes, who are you? We all make mistakes in this world. We learn from it and get better and, for him, he learned from it and got better. I learned from it also, too. You have to forgive, and I forgive him for that. I appreciate him, and I love him for that. We can move on,” Jansen said.
Turner told Cora, “I’m glad you did this,” after the meeting.
“I think it meant a lot,” Turner added. “It was good to hear and good to wipe our hands clean and move forward.”