Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday that while he felt as if he’d been “kicked in the stomach’’ when he saw what happened to Alex Cora, he took offense to the idea that everyone in baseball uses technology to steal signs these days.
During an interview with WEEI, Francona was cautious in his statements referencing a league-wide directive from the commissioner when it came to punishments. But he did say that while technology has made things confusing when it comes to the art of sign stealing, he’s not buying the idea that everyone does it.
“I don’t think people should say that, because that’s not true. I would take offense to that,’’ Francona said.
“We were told . . . I don’t have the exact date, but I remember when the Red Sox thing came up with . . . what was it? An Apple Watch or whatever it was? And we got a memo from the league that we had to sign off that we are responsible with what happens with our team, and they weren’t going to tolerate that. And I took it that they meant it. And it’s obvious that they did.’’
Francona and Cora have been tight for years — Cora was mostly a utilityman when he played for Francona in Boston from 2006-08. The two have remained close.
“Alex is such a good friend of mine . . . you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach a little bit,’’ Francona said. “You never want to see your friends, things happen like that.’’
Francona also acknowledged the art of sign stealing has become significantly more complicated in recent years. It used to be something as simple as a runner trying to decipher a catcher’s signs.
“There are teams that are really good at it,’’ said Francona. “I think you have to be wary of that. The whole idea is to make the signs complicated enough that the other team can’t get them and simple enough that your own team can get them.
“That’s the game. That’s the part of the game that I feel like . . . we have a responsibility not to let our guys get a sign from second. If we don’t, shame on us. I just think that with technology, that’s kind of altered the game a little bit.’’
To his point, technology has introduced a whole new wrinkle into the game, one that the commissioner’s office is trying to figure out how to deal with this offseason.
“It’s kind of confusing,’’ Francona said. “In our game, you go all the way back to the 1950s, and some of these things kind of get romanticized. You know, as part of baseball. And then, all of a sudden, you have all this technology, and it gets confusing.’’