Davey Johnson, so long as all went to plan, is on a plane with his new players as we speak. One of those players has actually played for him before. “Am I really that old?” Alex Cora asked.
Well, yes. In 1999, Cora played 11 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers under Johnson, and in 2000 Cora played his first full season. That was 11 years ago now, but Cora is the only Nationals player with perspective on what it’ll be like to play for Johnson.
“He’s going to give you confidence to go out there and perform,” Cora said. “He lets you play. He teaches the game. He understands the game. But the teaching and all that stuff, it’s all about winning. He was good to me. He’s a guy that, he walks in and you know he’s here for the right reasons. You’re going to respect him. We’re playing good baseball, and I don’t think that’s going to change.”
Johnson, 68, has been out of baseball for more than a decade. The changes baseball has undergone over that spa, Cora said, won’t affect Johnson, who had a firm grasp of many sabermetric principles before they came in vogue.
“The bases are still 90 feet. The mound is 60 ½,” Cora said. “The game is still the same. He’s going to be preaching fundamentals. He’ll be good for us.”