When AJC columnist Mark Bradley asked readers if the Braves needed to say goodbye to longtime manager Bobby Cox, he found that although most fans who responded to his poll said they would like a change at the team’s helm, it wasn’t by the large margin he’d anticipated.
“Sixty percent of roughly 2,000 respondents said the Braves do in fact need a new manager. I figured it would be 70-30, maybe even 80-20,” Bradley wrote in his June 23 blog.
And with the Braves at 35-40, in fourth place in the NL East and five games behind the division-leading Phillies, many AJC readers have complained on our blogs and in the Braves Vent about Cox’s calm, cool and collected “player’s manager” style; the yelling and insults appear reserved for umpires. Try to remember the last time you read a story including the phrase “Braves clubhouse controversy.” But some fans say the Braves lack fire, as does Cox, and a less player-oriented manager must take over for Atlanta to return to its once-dominant form.
Now consider the Chicago Cubs, just one year removed from postseason play and a 97-win season, who have the look of a team in utter disarray. With fiery skipper Lou Piniella heading up a squad that started 2009 expected to once again contend for the NL Central title, which they took in ‘08, Chicago is 35-37 — squarely in the middle of its division pack — and recent clubhouse infighting hasn’t gone unnoticed by the local media.
Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Rogers says it’s time for high-spirited Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano to go, following his meltdown against the White Sox during interleague play Sunday. Rogers also points out the “Cubs’ sorry display of the previous two days, when Piniella called [outfielder] Milton Bradley ‘a piece of [bleep]‘ and then got upset that the confidentiality of the clubhouse had been breached, allegedly by an unknown White Sox employee.”
YOU TELL US: Which managerial style do you think works best in baseball — Cox’s ‘player’s manager’ style or Piniella’s calls it as he sees it manner? Who would you rather have managing the Braves, if it were between the two — Cox or Piniella? And why?