Cox can’t walk away from richly stocked Braves

It comes to my attention that there has been widespread discussion on the matter of the Braves and just who might be their manager next season. Of course, isn’t that always the case when one guy had been in command long enough to have raised a family? Such may be said of Bobby Cox, who has managed the Braves since 1978, interrupted by four years across the Canadian border, then a return of five seasons preparing to resume the chair that Ted Turner had kept warm for him.

It was Turner himself, never given to shyness, who said at the press conference when Cox was being fired, that if he was hiring a manager to succeed Cox, it would be — well, Bobby Cox. So the two Rover Boys were reunited until Turner himself eventually took leave.

So it is that when a manager is of Social Security age, and his team has gone one October after another without a booking, people wonder. People talk. People wonder if he might not be ready for the farm. They forget that Casey Stengel managed until he was 75, and Connie Mack until he was 88. But, of course, Mr. McGillicuddy owned the team.

By those standards, Cox is a mere toddler, at 68. Thus the subject comes up, as annually as the Farmer’s Almanac comes off the press. And why not?

Here’s one reason: There’s not another pitching staff in the National League that’s better. As good maybe — the Dodgers, Giants and Cardinals — but none better. And no manager with Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, Tommy Hanson, Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson and Kenshin Kawakami as starters to choose from is giving any thought to retirement. As a group, Braves pitchers have an earned-run average of 3.61, just behind the Dodgers and Giants.

This is a cast that gives Cox a great degree of comfort. And if trouble rears its ugly head, there’s always the bullpen, which is well-stocked, even if there is an occasional decision that goes awry, which does happen in the case of Rafael Soriano, Mike Gonzalez and Kris Medlen. And he can turn to Kawakami, since the Japanese fellow has had to adjust to double duty since Hudson came out of surgical care.

Cox hasn’t been able to wallow in such pitching luxury since Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine were on hand. There were even times they were allowed to finish what they started. Just nine years ago, Braves pitchers rolled up 13 complete games, and while that would been no more than a half-season to Phil Niekro, keep in mind that as a staff, they have only two this season, both by Vazquez. And he would happily have stuck around for more, as would Hanson. Each has lost three or four decisions to a leaking bullpen.

So, there’s the pitching wealth. Surely Cox wouldn’t care to walk away with Chipper Jones restored to form. I say that, in view of Chipper’s new contract, $42 million for three seasons. You don’t think for a moment that Chipper could afford to walk out on that pile of chips, do you? Thus, the warehouse is richly stocked, to such an extent that no manager in good health and sound of mind could walk away from it. It would please those who have his interest at heart if he might trim off a few of those excess pounds he carries about.

101 comments Add your comment

Acworthdon

September 19th, 2009
4:53 pm

Thanks Again Bish! Yes, you are right! Now, if Bobby will just accept the fact that most of these guys
can “finish” a game unless they are in real trouble. Nothing wrong with letting them finish with a full
meal deal because that gives them enormous pride. Then, maybe, they could go to the mound with
the goal of pitching a strong 9 innings for a memorabe achievement of a complete game victory instead
of going 6 innings and leaving the scene and hoping for a victory! Challenge them and see what it get’s
you…..after all, it used to be so most of the time!

Acworthdon

September 19th, 2009
4:53 pm

Enter your comments here

Big Muddy

September 19th, 2009
5:22 pm

Enter your comments here
Braves fan since 1972 but God I hope you are wrong. Bobby was a good manager several years ago – kinda like Packard, Edsel and several other nice cars – but he has totally lost it – time to go and maybe you should consider same.

The Grinch

September 19th, 2009
5:48 pm

I love and respect Bobby. His management of personalities and egos is unparalleled. However, his in-game decision making has always been poor and has gotten exponentially worse in the last couple of years. When we had a slew of legitimate power hitters as well as a great pitching staff, it was enough to cover those deficiencies (though we’d still fail in the playoffs, often with better teams). Good pitching itself is not enough to cancel out the 10-12 games a year Bobby inexplicably blows with terrible decisions (see this year, for instance). Unless another two to three solid bats are added in the off season, we’d better hope he resists the urge to stay, or we’ll have another talented team go to waste.

Mark in mid-town

September 19th, 2009
5:57 pm

Bobby Cox continues to be about the worst tactical manager in baseball, bar none. If he comes back next year, it will be more of the same with the Braves losing a majority of games which are decided by situational tactics. Cox has always been beyond a farce with regard to tactical managing, even during the Braves incredible run of division wins. There is more to managing than tactics, and Cox was often superb in these other areas, but unless you have a team stocked with 2 or 3 of the best starting pitchers of the past couple of decades — Cox’s tactical deficiencies will kill their chances over a full season almost every time. When the Braves were so loaded, situational tactics didn’t matter so much during the regular season, though they certainly did matter in post-season, which goes a long way to explaining why the Braves ended up on the short side of several post season series they would have won if not for some incredibly mind-bogglingly inexplicable tactical moves by Cox. If Cox must come back, please put someone on the bench in the background who has the critical thinking skills necessary to weigh the pros and cons of situational tactics and allow this such person to make such tactical decisions. Cox clearly does not possess the IQ necessary to weigh such pros and cons. Increasingly, those who have been paying attention are coming to realize that.

Non Sequitur

September 19th, 2009
6:02 pm

The fact that he’s about to miss the postseason with a staff like this is enough for him to walk the hell away. A manager than can’t manage such a talented group is already halfway in his rocking chair. As they say: FIRE THE OLD FOOL!!!

braveshater

September 19th, 2009
6:27 pm

To hell with Bobby Cocs, he’s wasted enough talen here already!

mudcat

September 19th, 2009
6:46 pm

I knew that when my old Timex watch started to lose about a half a minute every day, I realized it’s time had passed literally and figuratively. Bobby’s time has passed too, my friend. We need a change in that clubhouse.

TROTTINGHOME

September 19th, 2009
7:04 pm

Let us hope you are wrong Bisher.

o-me

September 19th, 2009
7:06 pm

Bisher and his stay with the past BS. Its time for a change, Past time.

The damn FANS deserve better. Bobby has had his Glory days, now take it home to Rose and the Kids. Give the Fans new hope and a good reason to return to the Ted.

Bobbys show is old and has become a joke……..will not return till he’s gone.

hey Bisher say bye to cox

September 19th, 2009
7:52 pm

Oh great his time is done we need a new start fire him n TP n hire Ned yost to replace at helm n get a better hittin coach….after all francoer is hittin better now since left B.cox son TP (no-hit) battin coach.If he returns see more seats empty then a bus…time let bobby cox return to whip his wife as always n pick his nose alone! Its bye bye Bobby cox please let door hit u n TP in butt on way out

hey Bisher say bye to cox

September 19th, 2009
7:54 pm

if we richy stock furman say no worrys cox will trade away and keep No hit Norton as pinch hitter….Ha ha we may have talent he trade hanson away to u watch him

Bisher Drinking Game

September 19th, 2009
9:52 pm

I don’t drink anything stronger than lemonade, but I can see how reading these columns could besot even me just picking out Furman’s standard crutches. For example folks take a swig each time Furman:
- Mentions the nationality of any athlete not named John Smith (i.e. Kawakami . . . Japanese). Leave the profiling to Homeland Security
- Perform his customary seances by dredging up people most of us do not care about, or if we did, would Google them
- Mention Bobby Dodd or John Heisman when writing a Tech column
- Mention Wally Butts when writing a Georgia column
- At some point during baseball season throw in an Atlanta Crackers reference
- Slam Tiger regardless of what the real golf column is about
- Conveniently lose memory when after bashing the team for having nothing to work with earlier in the season you write about how stocked it is now — like this one
- Slam Michael Vick when the obvious Falcons game day story lies elsewhere
- Two swigs for the obligatory Tommy Nobis reference at some point during the Falcons season
- Two swigs for his sycophant being enraged that anyone would dare find his columns banal and defending his right to his banality simply because he has been at the AJC since the paper was printed on parchment

Mitch C

September 19th, 2009
10:08 pm

Furman, I dont know about what you say. You seem to be in the minority, while others feel that Cox will either walk away, or will be told he is being put in another position, while someone else manages the team.

The Braves September surge might be enough to change all that. I dont think we will make the playoffs, unless a miracle happens, but we should finish with a solid season of over 85 wins, that will be at least ten wins better than last year. We have very good pitching, so yes, we are well stocked.

If Bobby comes back, I will be fine with it. After all, what fan wouldnt be okay with a HOF manager who has been here for 25 years, piloting this group for at least another year?

jack

September 19th, 2009
11:44 pm

what a surprise – one has been supporting another.

Justafan

September 19th, 2009
11:46 pm

Mitch said,” What fan wouldn’t be okay with HOF mgr. coming back.”

You’re the only one out of 15 comments to want Bobby back.

Please Frank Wren don’t bring BC back.

Mitchell

September 20th, 2009
12:39 am

Mr. Bisher, with all due respect… WTF?

Okay, so that was a little disrespectful but none of what you just wrote makes any sense.

Bobby Cox is getting away with murder. He has wasted one of the best seasons by any pitching staffs that I can remember. Key word, remember.

It’s been so long since we were even remotely in contention for anything or relevant to anyone outside of the southeastern United States that the heyday of Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine seems like a mystical fairy tale dream.

I grew up watching the Braves. I was at Game 7 on the 1992 NLCS… and I’ll have you know I didn’t leave until the game was long over. I was at Game 1 of the ‘95 World Series.

For some unknown reason the Braves have yet to put together a commemorative home video DVD for fans on the history and highlights of the team like many other franchises have. I think that’s a mistake. I personally have a photographic memory but other than those two moments and Game 6 against the Indians, the rest of it is fading from my mind. It’s odd how the Braves continue to live in the past and yet fail to keep those memories alive for the rest of us. I swear, with each 3rd or 4th place finish, the years from ‘91 to ‘05 seem like another lifetime.

As far as I’m concerned, this starting rotation is the best in baseball and unless Colorado totally collapses, it will have gone for naught.

Bobby Cox’s performance as Braves manager this year is indefensible. If he chooses not to retire and is allowed to return for another year, no amount of improvements or additions to this team will matter. He has lost his ability to manage effectively. If it can happen to players it can happen to managers. It’s happened, only unlike John Smoltz, nobody would take him.

That’s why he won’t leave. Who would hire him?

Matt White Woodstock GA

September 20th, 2009
12:45 am

Whats wrong with you people? We are talking about Bobby Cox here! I love how everyone trys to tell him how to manage, how many MLB games have you managed? Instead you are writing about it while he is doing it. Lets not blame the players for the losing. Don’t blame Chip for always being hurt, the same for Smoltzy when he was here. The Braves should keep Bobby as long as he wants to stay. We were one of if not the worst team in baseball before he took over. Bobby Cox is the heart of the Atlanta Braves. It’s easy to talk about his in-game decisions when you know nothing about the game. Stick to your video games. And don’t call yourself Braves fans!

Matt White Woodstock GA

September 20th, 2009
12:46 am

Mitchell your a dumb ass!

PlusSizeModel

September 20th, 2009
1:00 am

All of those who hope the Braves can win next year hope to hell he hangs it up. Someone with above average intelligence is needed to manage a game around here for a change.

PlusSizeModel

September 20th, 2009
1:02 am

” how many MLB games have you managed?”

It ain’t brain surgery, sir. Any serious baseball fan could see what needs to be done from the bench and do it correctly, unlike Cox all too often.

Matt White Woodstock GA

September 20th, 2009
1:04 am

PlusSizeModel your a dumb ass too! Maybe you can manage the Braves since your so damn good at it. Why are people so damn dumb. All Bobby has done for this city and you people put him down like he is a no body…wow.

Fast Eddie Perez

September 20th, 2009
1:07 am

Booby needs to go to the farm, we should have kept Freddie Gonzalez as our next manager, it looks like were gonna end up with TP as our next skipper which would be a mistake, he acts like hes asleep just like Garret, they should take the same bus out of town. With proper use of the starters & bullpen this year we would have made the playoffs, theres no law against letting studs like Hanson, JJ & Javy finish games when they keep getting guys out Booby! As The Little River Band would say, Time for a Cool Change!

Matt White Woodstock GA

September 20th, 2009
1:10 am

Okay im not getting on AJC anymore. Most of you people don’t know your head from your ass. Bobby most of GA loves you. Get it done next year and many years to come.

Little Matty's Mama

September 20th, 2009
1:29 am

You people stop picking on my boy….this back and forth has kept him up all night and upset his tummy. He has to get up early in the morning for his job making french fries. He’s 28 now…by the time he’s 30 I can see him as an assitant manager

I wish he had a girlfriend because I want to be a grandma someday. He sure loves Bobby, though.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

September 20th, 2009
1:30 am

Mr.Bisher, with all due respect, you sir are clearly out of touch with the reality that is the Atlanta Braves.

Yes, the pitching is and has been incredible all season. As of Saturday the pitching has 90 quality starts but just 79 wins as a team. Bobby’s abuse of his bullpen has been well chronicled since Leo Mazzone left after the 2005 season. 2009 has been no different.

I unlike most fans remember those great teams of the nineties, they had pitching, defense, offense and played fundamental baseball. I also remember a manager who demanded them to do so. This 2009 version of Bobby Cox isn’t the same leader nor equal to the task as manager. His age isn’t the issue, it’s the judgment of Bobby Cox that is in question. The man has clearly mismanaged this team into third place when they should be headed for the playoffs.

The vast majority of the fans recognize this fact. The question is, do both Terry McQuirk and John Schuerholz have the damn balls to give Cox his pink slip, or will they waste another year of our lives by allowing Bobby Cox to mismanage another year in Atlanta.

Attila the Choir Director

September 20th, 2009
2:26 am

Ya’ll are crazy. I read blogs and comments to be entertained by witty people or informed by smart people. Ya’ll are neither. You’re just baseball genius wannabe’s who sit on your fannies and criticize others. Get a life.

SNAKE

September 20th, 2009
4:09 am

Hasn’t Bisher been saying how empty the Braves’s talent shelf was and bemoaning the Tex and Wainwright trades while ignoring the Hudson, Soriano, Gonzales, and Jurrjens trades? 360.

falcon

September 20th, 2009
7:07 am

I couldn’t bring myself to watch many Braves games this year with Cox still at the helm. If Terry Pendleton succeeds BC as manager, I won’t watch any.

Firetheoldfool

September 20th, 2009
7:49 am

Coach (2010 or Bust)

September 20th, 2009
1:30 am

Well said sir. And if Mr. Bisher thinks Cox should come back then maybe he has lost his mind just like Bobby. Last night was a perfect example of Cox’s mismanagement by, 1st bringing Soriano in to face 3 lefthanded hitters, and 2nd by leaving the guy in there when he was getting hammered. Of course, Cox has been doing this his entire career but the team has won up until the last 4 years in spite of Cox’s muleheaded decisions. It will be a disgrace to all Braves fans if Cox comes back next year.

Ken Stallings

September 20th, 2009
8:22 am

Furman, it is already well on record that Chipper will retire if his production doesn’t restore itself to normal levels (normal for him). The “pile of money” doesn’t affect his decision. For normal humans like us, it certainly would. But as Chipper said, “I’ve already made my money.”

I hope Bobby stays at least another year. I hope next season we finally get back into the playoffs. That depends upon the ownership group to pony up the money to get the two power bats this team needs. Given the other teams in the league, that’s not much to tweak. The Braves frankly have everything else they need to win a banner, perhaps a World Series.

Alan

September 20th, 2009
8:54 am

Bobby Cox has had a great career and during that time he has had a stable of players that have contributed to his sucess unfortunately his age has gotten in the way an he needs to adjust to todays game. I’m 68 just as Bobby is, and most men our age come to the reality that things are just not what they were yet some don’t and they continue to try and carry on.

Bobby would do himself and the team a big favor by coming to terms with the fact that the game has past him by and that a new manager may be just what the Braves need. Ned yost is the type of Manager this team needs, he has Bobbys demeanor yet he is young enough to communicate with todays players and understand what it takes to win.

Example-Bobby has his favorite players and he will use them till they can’t function instead of sitting them down and leeting them get it back together (Example-Jordan Schaffer, Chipper Jones) and the bull pen, its no wonder that some of those guys come in and blow games the way he uses them, either they play every night or he sits them and does not give them the opportunity to contribute without being exhausted or sitting for 2-3 weeks and getting rusty.

Cmon Bobby, you’ve been great now give a younger manager the opportubity with this group.

smartguy

September 20th, 2009
8:56 am

Bisher, weren’t you just saying that Paul Johnson is the best coach you have ever seen? You must have been crappin your pants Thursday night.

You have NO credibility. None.

Born2Buzz

September 20th, 2009
8:58 am

Looks like there are about 2 or 3 respondents agreeing with Furman. Everyone else says it’s time for Bobby to go. I was not to surprised that the poll in the paper yesterday had about 58% thinking it’s time for Bobby to go. I’d say last year that number would have been around 45% and all years before that it would have been 10%.
There is just too much evidence to show that Bobby hasn’t been getting the job done lately. It’s tough to let go of someone who has been such a fixture and has had such success, but look at the Yankees, they had to say goodbye to Torre and now they have the best record in MLB. Sometimes just a fresh face is needed to energize the franchise.

Country Boy

September 20th, 2009
9:00 am

Unfortunately Cox is being held to a different standard than other mgrs. I’ll call it “tenured leniency”. He underproduces yet is allowed to remain where others would have been dismissed. Another season with Cox will be a waste.

Gov Clinton Tyree

September 20th, 2009
9:04 am

Furman, wasn’t it just a few months ago that you were lamenting the Braves “gutting” their farm system in the Teixeira trade, leaving the cupboard bare? And now you contend that they are “richly stocked”. Pray, where did Jurrjens and Hanson come from (I understand Jurrjens was Detroit, but he was a rookie with the Braves and the farm system – specifically Andy Marte – made the deal possible)?

I think they’re well-positioned for the future with a good farm system. And I think they’ll win next season with Bobby or somebody else at the helm.

Joseph

September 20th, 2009
9:35 am

Bobby is a Braves legend but he has to retire. We have the team, with a few bats more, to get to the playoffs and make some noise. I am not sure that Bobby is the person to lead the charge however. He made quite a few mistakes this year….

George

September 20th, 2009
9:45 am

Time to put Soriano down. He has a tired arm. There is no excuse for him and we don’t need to put a reliever in to throw the game away.
How many blown saves does he have this year? 1 to many.

Jack G.

September 20th, 2009
10:10 am

One old man trying to cover for another old man. Its time for both of them to be fired.—-Why fired?—-because neither one knows when to quit. If you are smart, you quit when you are ahead.

Braves' Fan

September 20th, 2009
10:19 am

At this point in the season there are 9 teams that would be happy to be where we are in the standings. Come on people look around, and ask the fans from Chicago, New York, Washington, San Diego, Arizona, Houston, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Pittsburg if they are still watching Baseball?

And the jury is not settled with the fans from San Francisco, Colorado, or Florida. .

Bobby Cox took a bunch of players and molded them together, worked with an owner who doesn’t give a rats a __ about the team, and still made them a contender…I ask you, does your employer care about the company you work for? Are you looked on as a liability? Are you just a tax credit, that is turning a profit? Well that;s how Braves ownership has been treating Atlanta fans since they bought the team…The Braves need local ownership. Come on Arthur do us a favor…

If the Braves finsih 5th overall you fans will be asking for the bat boys’ job…give me a break and The man is a great coach, look at his overall record. I agree with George above, its time for the players to admit when they can or cannot perform to their best ability(for the team). It has been quoted a million times “there is no i in team”. My opinion, Soriano is trying to boost up his value, when it is clear he has a dead arm right now. The bullpen is tired and its time for the Sept. relief crew to show what they got and bring home the wild card.

GaCracker

September 20th, 2009
10:21 am

Bobby please leave. Your love of closers and formula’s (always give the closer a clean slate) and playing lefty/righty with Diaz and batting him 7th or 8th tells me all I need to know. Your are an inflexible thinker and cannot think outside the box. You have been to the playoffs or the big dance many times, onlyt to win the brass ring once. You don’t know how to manufacture runs with bunts, steals, or hit and runs. I hope we can get Bill James as our next manager, a man who knows data, thinks, and analyses.

Obama's the Man

September 20th, 2009
10:23 am

you readers are a good example of Obama’s health care plan, Out with the old and in with the new.
BTW, saw yesterday the swine flu vacine initially will be given to those up to ages 14- 49… first. Times they are a changin!

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 20th, 2009
11:40 am

One would think Bobby Cox is old enough to remember when starting pitchers went the distance.

jacket3

September 20th, 2009
11:59 am

Too much talent to be in 3rd place period. They beat the best and loose to the worst. That falls on the management alone. Second best era in the majors and we are watching Colorado and Frisco? Come on. Homerball, great pitched games blown because of a pitch count….sometimes it is better to let them finish. BC has not done that in a long time.

Great manager but in the last several years….he’s lost his touch and his instincts are not there anymore…love ya BC but time for the farm and your wonderful soup and crackers at the lake!

JUST A FAN

September 20th, 2009
12:28 pm

There are a lot of management and baseball experts on here today. Makes me wonder how many, if any,of them have any experience in either field. Maybe their only experience and abilitie are in venting so they don’t have to identify themselves.

Jimmy Huston.

Tuck Fech

September 20th, 2009
1:33 pm

((((33-17)))) hahahahahahahaha

Navigator

September 20th, 2009
3:44 pm

Since when did Bobby Cox become the general manager? Or maybe that’s the problem, the Braves don’t have one. Remember they gave Chipper a $16M contract when he couldn’t ever get 80 rbi’s when winning the batting crown. At the very least they should have given him a one year big contract, understanding he can’t stay healthy.

Jonas Grumby

September 20th, 2009
3:59 pm

Mark .. Worst tactical manager in baseball? OK, pulling Hanson a couple of weeks ago was a head-scratcher, and Bobby’s unwavering confidence in Norton has been baffling. But unless you observe every other manager in the same micro view — watching every inning of every play — it’s impossible to make such a sweeping statement with any accuracy.

Lash La Rue

September 20th, 2009
5:16 pm

tuck fech= you’re IQ is showing!

RCinATL

September 20th, 2009
6:00 pm

Cox must go! He needs to step aside and let someone who is entering their prime lead these guys to the next level. His days as an effective manager are behind him. I’m not sure he has ever really been all that good of a field manager. Has had all the talent in the world, and has only parlayed that into one championship. His reason? “The postseason is a crap shoot.” Sorry Bobby, but champions win. Losers deliver excuses.