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Tomase: On Mother's Day, Alex Cora reflects on rock of his family originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Asked about the impact his mom has made on his career, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora takes a deep breath.
"Do we have time?" he asks. "We don't have time for that. We'd probably be here for hours."
Such is Cora's love and admiration for his mom, Iris Amaro, who is the rock of his family, not to mention his biggest fan.
Before the Red Sox faced the Orioles Sunday on Mother's Day, Cora took a few minutes to salute the woman who grounded him in the game as much as anyone after his father died of colon cancer when Alex was just 13.
"She's been everything for us," Cora said. "She's the one that runs the family. She's our manager. Let's put it that way. What she's done, what she's gone through the last 18 months, it hasn't been easy. But she's just mom. She's there. She will always be there for us. I'm very biased about that. She's the best in the world."
Cora is the youngest of four. His brother, Joey, preceded him to the big leagues and played 11 seasons, making an All-Star team in 1997 with the Mariners. He also has two sisters -- Lydia runs a medical lab and Aimee is a public relations official for multiple radio and TV stations in Puerto Rico. (For more on the family, check out this profile from MLB.com's Ian Browne.)
His dad founded a popular Little League chapter in Caguas that his mom took over following Jose Manuel Cora's death. The family banded together for young Alex.'
"The three of them, my two sisters and her, they carried the little guy, the baby of the family, everywhere," Cora said. "To baseball games, to volleyball games, basketball games, parties, everywhere, until I went to Miami. I'm so proud of them. Not only for what they did for us, but also what they mean to a lot of people in our hometown, and the people they impacted in our Little League chapter, dad started that. She's the mom of a lot of professionals back home."
Cora's mom is 81, but her passion for the game hasn't waned. She still texts him daily, and she religiously watches the Red Sox and Pirates, where Joey coaches third base. Old-school fans will embrace some of her positions.
"She understands the game," he said. "She knows it's a different game. Probably she wants me to bunt a little bit more and stick with my starters more than usual. She doesn't get in the way about criticizing me or second-guessing me. She's just pulling for me, pulling for Joey. She's in tune with everything going on."
One of Cora's biggest joys was having his family on hand for the 2018 World Series in Boston and Los Angeles. His mom has taken a particular interest in this year's Red Sox team, which she likens to a group near and dear to her heart.
"She sees the game a little bit different than me," Cora said. "She enjoys the game. We just talked on the way here and she said, they're like a Little League team. They pout when they don't do (well). It was funny. I was dying laughing. When things are not going good, they pout, and when things are going good, they celebrate, like a Little League team. I take that as a compliment. It means we care and we're having fun."
His mom offered one last bit of wisdom for the surprising Red Sox, who own the best record in baseball.
"Like everyone else that pulls for the Red Sox right now, she knows it's early," Cora said, "but she's having a blast with this team."