Word came down yesterday that the longtime Atlanta Braves manager, Bobby Cox, would retire following the 2010 season. As a lifelong Braves fan, I have always dreaded this day. Similar to the Tennessee Volunteers and Phil Fulmer, Bobby Cox is really the only Braves manager I have known. My manager will step down next year. Someone else (Terry Pendleton, I hope) will take his place and one of the last remnants of those 14 straight division titles will be gone. It’s kind of sad.
But I knew it was coming. This isn’t like Fulmer where an icon hung around too long and it was time for a change. That was a messy divorce and has somewhat divided the fanbase. In this case, we have an icon going out on his own terms. The Braves would have let Cox stay on as long as he wanted to stay and I certainly would have been fine with him managing until he died.
Cox currently sits fourth on the all-time managerial win list behind Connie Mack, John McGraw, and Tony La Russa. He’ll certainly be a Hall of Famer.
So as I tend to do when I’m at work and big sports stories break, I wandered over to foxsports.com. It seems as though all the idiots congregate on those message boards and spew their opinions. Sometimes its fun to read.
Let’s look at a sample or two:
This guy should have retired years and years ago. He had the best talent in baseball and only one 1 world series during that time. Pathetic.
Thank you, swimdude11. Fourth on the all-time wins list. He’s one of only two managers to have six 100-win seasons. You’re right, though, it would have been nice to have more than one World Series to show for it, but as Billy Beane says in Moneyball, the playoffs are a crapshoot. The best you can do is hope to get there. Remember the 2006 Cardinals? They were barely over .500 on the season, but they won the World Series.
Should have been fired years ago. In the last 5 or 6 years he and the lame Braves have been merely average. The Braves should not give him another year.
Years ago! Of course! The Braves haven’t made the playoffs in three years. Three whole years! Fire the whole front office. Ridiculous. Nevermind that players like Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, and Jason Heyward are on their way to making the Braves a power again. It feels like a drought, huh? Tell that to a Pirates fan. This is more like a pause for air between glasses of water.
That’s the last one I’m going to do. There are reasonable people there who see Cox for what he is: a player’s manager and a great leader.
I would be wrong to not mention his ejection record, of course. Cox has been kicked out of more games than any other person in baseball history. With his seven dismissals this season, Cox has extended his record to 150 games. That’s 12 games short of any entire season. Someone people may view that as a negative, but for me, it’s a good thing. It shows that Cox defends his players, more than likely preventing them from being ejected, and shows emotion. That’s really what I want to see in a manger. Plus, it’s just so much fun to see him go out and get so angry that his rooster-chin starts to shake and his face turn red. It’s great.
Baseball’s going to miss you, Bobby.