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November 11, 2008 at 7:15 PM

Cora talking like he’s already here

Did the conference call thing with Mariners managerial candidate Joey Cora this afternoon and will do the same in about a half hour with Chip Hale. Don’t know how good a manager Hale will make. But I do know that his namesake, Alan Hale, was one heck of a skipper.
Anyhow, the impression I got listening to Cora was that he’s super aggressive about landing this job. He spoke as if he already had it, using the word “we” a lot in talking about the Mariners. Even though he’s still a coach with the White Sox.
“There’s got to be pride, got to be a way to play the game that the fans and the organization feel proud of,” Cora said. “Making sure that the other teams worry about us. We don’t want to worry about them. We want to make them worry about us.”
That wasn’t always the case, he added, when his White Sox were about to play Seattle.
“We knew we were going to play the Mariners, we would think about Ichiro, about (Felix) Hernandez, and a couple of other things,” Cora said. “But they had problems. Obviously, if they didn’t have problems, I wouldn’t be here. Obviously they have talented players, but we need to get back to the way things were, where we hope to win a World Series.”
I asked Cora what he’d taken out of his working relationship with Ozzie Guillen (who I initially refered to as Ozzie Smith, perhaps out of a desire to see this team show better infield defense up the middle). It’s one of those tricky questions, because if Cora answers that he modeled himself after Guillen, the obvious follow-up is: “So, you think it’s OK to call your guys out in public and curse over the airwaves?”
But Cora handled it well.
“I’m the one who gives Ozzie a different perspective every day,” he said. “Because I’m not Ozzie. Nobody is Ozzie.”
That’s good, because with all Guillen has achieved in Chicago, the last thing the rebuilding M’s need is a circus sideshow from their manager on a daily basis. Cora had some very nice things to say about Guillen, and how his communication style with players is underrated because of his conflicts played up in the media. The players love Guillen and want to play for him, he said.
“So far, we’ve been very successful in Chicago,” he said. “We won the World Series, obviously. We made the playoffs this year, even though we had a lot of injuries.”
No disputing that. Is Cora the answer for Seattle? No idea. We’ll know more in a week.
As for Hale, his interview was delayed a few hours and is supposedly going on right now. His flight in was delayed. Probably the weather. You start rushing flights on a day like this and the next thing you know, you wind up marooned on an uncharted desert isle.



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