The Red Sox formally welcomed the team’s new manager Monday.

As a player, Alex Cora helped the Sox win the 2007 World Series.  More recently, though, he was at Fenway as a bench coach for the Houston Astros, who eliminated the Sox from this year's division series before going on to win the World Series.

Cora acknowledged Boston can be an intense baseball city, but he said that's motivating.

"You know, there's no off days here in Fenway Park," he said. "If you need something to push you that day, look around. And the fans will be here. And they're going to push you to be the best." 

He said that energy makes Fenway a tough place to be an opposing team. “That’s what I want. I want players to come here and enjoy it and embrace it, and have fun with it," Cora said.

Cora has never managed a Major League team before, but Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said that's not a problem.

"There are some players you talk to, some people in the game that have been players, that you know manage every single play that they're in," Dombrowski said. "They're thinking all the time, they're thinking what they would be doing. And it was apparent with his intellect and feel for the game that not managing at the Major League level was not a major obstacle for us."

After trying on his new Boston uniform, Cora gave a flag from his native Puerto Rico to Dombrowski, as a thank you for the team’s relief efforts there following this year’s hurricanes.  

Alex Cora gives a Puerto Rican flag to team president Dave Dombrowski.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News

Cora is the team’s first minority manager, although Red Sox owner John Henry said that played no part in the team’s selection of him.

"We chose the best man," Henry said. "We weren't looking to make a statement, we were looking to do the best thing for the organization."

Cora emphasized the importance of having close relationships with the players, and doesn't believe it's possible for a manager to be too close.

"They're human beings, man, and you've got to talk to them. You've got to see how they feel," he said. Cora says he'll encourage his coaching staff to get close to players, too.

Under his leadership, Cora says the team will pay close attention to the details of the game. He also wants to hear music in the clubhouse after wins. 

"To win a big league ballgame, it's hard enough," Cora said. And he said the players need to enjoy playing. "We're going to celebrate every win, hopefully. And we'll celebrate that last one at the end of the season, too."

Alex Cora speaks with reporters Monday.
Craig LeMoult/WGBH News