Braves made the right call with Cox

See this old guy? Just because he's 68 doesn't mean he has suddenly forgetten how to manage. (AJC photo).

See this guy? Just because he's 68 doesn't mean he has suddenly forgetten how to manage.

He deserves another season. He deserves another chance to win with a rebuilt roster. He deserves another year to be recognized for a career that one day should and will be etched on a plaque in Cooperstown.

I know. Many of you disagree. You’ve screamed for new blood, younger blood — I guess any blood that will make you forget about the Dan Kolb experience and the Jeff Francouer career dive and the Mike Hampton exploding body parts. Anything to forget how Gary Sheffield and Mark Teixeira really didn’t do what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it. Anything to forget about the budget cuts or the lack of a leadoff hitter or any semblance of team speed.

In less than two weeks, the Braves officially will have gone four seasons without a playoff game. Blame the manager. Blame Bobby Cox. It’s so easy, right?

Wrong.

The Braves have not been a great team for a long time. They have not been even a pretty good team until the last two months. They were average. Moves by general manager Frank Wren to improve the roster — and make up for some of his earlier miscalculations — have changed that. Things are set up nicely for the future, next season and the ones thereafter. Decisions need to be made about who gets dropped from the starting rotation, who might be available to juice a too-often anemic lineup. But the Braves now have pitching and youth and hope.

Bobby Cox deserves the chance to manage this team.

This isn’t about giving him a retirement present. The rocking chair will come later. This is about giving one of baseball’s most able managers the tools he deserves to have in his toolbox. When the Braves announced Wednesday that Cox will manage for one more season and then retire, it was the right move for him and for them.

Maybe you disagree. But I guess it’s easy to forget the resume. The World Series, the pennants, the division titles.

I know. Old news, right? What have you done for me lately, right?

Fire somebody!

I have a question: Do you think Bobby Cox went to sleep one night and woke up the next morning dumb? Or is it possible that he was sitting at the table and his cards suddenly changed?

I’m not saying the Braves should not have won more championships during their 14-season run. Blowing that 2-0 series lead to the New York Yankees in 1996 certainly comes to mind. But history also tells us those Yankees turned out to be pretty good.

When I spoke to Cox a week ago, he declined to publicly commit to next season.

“We’ll see,” he kept saying.

Now, Wren says in a statement that, “Bobby and I have been talking about this for some time. [He] is one of the best and most respected managers in the history of baseball, will again be managing our club in 2010.  Personally, it has been a true honor and a pleasure to work with such a great manager and leader.”

Yes, Cox does want to enjoy the non-baseball part of his life — the eight children and the 14 grand children. The wife. The farm. He even wants to travel. But his passion for the game clearly is still in him.

“The game is still amazingly fun,” he said last week. “To be able to participate in a game every day is every kid’s dream. That’s never changed. I still love it. It’s the competition. Whether it’s a so-so team or a great team, it’s still competition. It’s what you thrive on.”

You  want somebody like that running your team. Maybe you disagree. But then you’ve forgotten too much.

244 comments Add your comment

Paul H

September 23rd, 2009
4:54 pm

He picked the right season for his last. The 2nd half of this season has resembled the Braves of old. We just had too much ground to make up for the first half. The peices are in place for the Braves send Cox out with something special in 2010.

Bull Butter

September 23rd, 2009
4:55 pm

Bring back joe torre.

Dale Murphy for MVP 2010

September 23rd, 2009
4:58 pm

I’ll take it. Welcome back Bobby, and i look forward to giving you a standing ovation all 34 home games you get ejected from.

**Dale Murphy for MVP 2010**

Voice Of Reason

September 23rd, 2009
4:58 pm

Great so now we get another year of Bobby Cox making terrible in game decisions….

Doug B

September 23rd, 2009
4:58 pm

lets go out in style with a World Series Ring!!!

RD

September 23rd, 2009
4:59 pm

Bad move. Another mediocre season in 2010 is coming. Bank on it.

BravesLover

September 23rd, 2009
5:00 pm

Cancel my season tickets for 2010…it sucks that BC will be back. Mediocracy is not acceptable.

Sunshine

September 23rd, 2009
5:00 pm

The DONK strikes again…. Another mediocre season ahead!!! Way to think outside the box guys! So satisfied with his 14 straight division championships.

Bobby's U-haul

September 23rd, 2009
5:01 pm

I’ll be back baby woo. the creek rose over here in Bartow Coutny.

Allen

September 23rd, 2009
5:01 pm

Could not disagree with you more – I have said it many times on this site – give the talent that BC had to Joe Torre and there would certainly be several more world championship banners hanging at Turner Field. I am just completly tire of hearing about the 14 division titles. Let’s get over it and remember we all really want another world championship. Nothing you write here or that anybody says will convince me that Bobby Cox can deliver that. Just do not buy the notion that he has not had the tools to win. Does anyone remember 1996? What a melt down. That may have been the most talented team in Braves history. My only regret is that we have to endour one more year of BC if in fact that turns out to be true. I seem to remember this statement being made by him before.

Smack

September 23rd, 2009
5:02 pm

Sorry to say, I had resigned myself to having new blood at manager. O well. One more year to wonder what might have been right?

Danno

September 23rd, 2009
5:02 pm

First and formost, Bobby Cox is the only manager I’ve ever know with the Braves and I really hate to see him go. I’ve been going down to spring training the last few years and actually got to talk to him this last time. Very nice guy. Thank you Bobby for everything and I’m sure the guys will help you hold up the World Series Trophy next year when you win it!!

Blackberry Cobbler

September 23rd, 2009
5:03 pm

We’ll see. Next year won’t be any different than this year unless the pitching is more consistent and we find 1 or 2 bats. I like the changes that were made- Prado, McLouth, Church, LaRoche. I like what I see in an improved Escobar. If we’d had this team all season it would be a different outcome.

Heard it all before

September 23rd, 2009
5:03 pm

No one’s forgetting what Bobby’s done. The question is, if you give him another bat with 25 to 30 home runs to work with next year, keep the significant players on offense that you have and the starting pitchers and most relievers intact … do you have confidence that he’ll win you a few games in a 162-game season with some smart and innovative managing, or do you worry that he’ll make enough “by the book” substitutions to toss a few games away? Because if you add that bat, those few games will be the difference in making the playoffs.

msbrave

September 23rd, 2009
5:03 pm

Enter your comments here

Where’s Ned Yost?

Brian Morrissey

September 23rd, 2009
5:03 pm

You are absolutely correct, Jeff. Quite frankly, the Braves slide commenced with Time-Warner ownership. You can’t have Yankees/Mets fans working for non-local ownership setting the Braves payroll cap. What does it matter to them if the Braves become the Pittsburgh Pirates, if the bottom line is preserved.

Bobby Cox is a great manager. I learn some new wrinkle about the game watching him manage every year. As far as I’m concerned he can leave when it suits him, and under his terms. He’s earned that.

Uh oh

September 23rd, 2009
5:04 pm

I can’t wait for Curtis Jones to get on here and bust up your arguments, Jeff

Bob Horner had a sweet compact swing

September 23rd, 2009
5:05 pm

Bobby deserves a farewell tour…..I hope he gets free drinks at all the hotel bars on road trips….he desreves it…I also hope the Braves make the playoffs next year…I would bet $$$ that they do…they have the pitching…and I hope they’ll hit better next year…go Braves

Ed from Woodstock

September 23rd, 2009
5:05 pm

I sure hope the Braves win it all next year! Cox is one of the greatest managers to coach a baseball team, and I get sick of all the “experts” out there who love to second guess every move he makes. I would put his gut instincts for baseball up against any other manager in baseball. We’ll miss you Bobby!

Nobody

September 23rd, 2009
5:05 pm

They’ll probably pull a “Wren” and can him after a couple months into the season like they did with Glavine and Smoltz.

Anne

September 23rd, 2009
5:05 pm

Enter your comments here

Class move by the Braves for a manager who deserves to the chance to “retire” on his terms. Cox is truly respected through out baseball by players, managers, owners, etc. Atlanta is fortunate to have him.

Marty

September 23rd, 2009
5:06 pm

He didn’t wake up and get dumb. He’s been declining for years. His style has been questionable. Talent covers mistakes. When the talent thinned out, the questionable style is exposed for what it is. A borderline manager who loves platoons and wears out his bull pen. He’s our Billy Martin without the neurosis and drinking problems and temper. Maybe if he had the temper we’d have done better. Nothing personal Bobby but we need somebody who manages the new way, by the numbers and not by the seat of his pants. Can’t wait till 2011.

Bull Butter

September 23rd, 2009
5:06 pm

We need somebody to come in and build a fire under the braves.bobby cox has become to nice in his ageing years.

Wes

September 23rd, 2009
5:06 pm

This is GREAT news. All of the players just love playing for Bobby Cox. Ask any of them.

We got the pitching, and the defense… all they gotta do is add some bat power and we got a playoff team for sure. GO BRAVES!!!!

Robert08

September 23rd, 2009
5:07 pm

I’m cool with him staying as long as someone takes Greh Norton away from him.

Pate

September 23rd, 2009
5:07 pm

Guy deserves it and I don’t think anyone else could do the job better. Why would you risk bringing in someone new with a stacked roster? Guys love playing for Bobby and you need that senergy in the clubhouse if wanting to make a run in 2010.

If Wren had decided to bring in someone else and the 2010 Braves missed…you’d be saying “No. 6 shouldn’t have been replaced.”

Great move. Our chances just got better for a World Championship run in 2010.

Robert08

September 23rd, 2009
5:08 pm

I’m cool with him staying as long as someone takes Greg Norton away from him. (Sorry for the typo.)

Sam Si

September 23rd, 2009
5:09 pm

The Cox era is over. Braves will win the division title within two seasons and then the world series. The talent is there.

michael

September 23rd, 2009
5:10 pm

I cant even imagine the braves managed my someone other than Bobby. He is a great manager and deserves another year. The pieces are begining to come into place.

Space Monkey

September 23rd, 2009
5:12 pm

OK. Fine. Let the man have his victory lap. But no F-ing Greg Norton on the roster next year. And liberty better give him a bullpen and a slugger.

Wade

September 23rd, 2009
5:13 pm

What a bunch of morons. Why don’t you idiots go back to your mom’s basement and stay there! If you don’t like it, tough! Welcome back Bobby! This news alone should light a fire under this team. They will play harder and smarter next year to try and give Bobby a good sendoff.

Chris

September 23rd, 2009
5:14 pm

Another wasted year next year. Bobby Cox has always been a bad post season manager, now he is a bad manager, period. It is never a good idea for a manager to announce the date of his retirement ahead of time. He becomes a lame duck and the players will always have in the back of their minds that he will not be back the next year. It just adds a distraction.

Voice Of Reason # 2

September 23rd, 2009
5:14 pm

Voice of Reason,,, Your an idiot. Bobby was instrumental in the rise of the Braves and will be repsonsible for the resurgence. I’m sure if you lived in NY, you would be screaming file Jerry Manuel since hes got everyone hurt. If terrible in game decisions is all you think Cox makes, then you obviously just watch the game highlights on Sportcenter everynight. Unless the braves go 162-0 next year you’ll be whining again. Then in 2011 when we get the new one, you ‘ll still complain about them too. Why don’t you go out and send up your resume and impress old Frank Wren that you are better than Bobby Since you obviously lost touch with reality.

BravesDog

September 23rd, 2009
5:15 pm

You go Bobby, get one more ring, but if you don’t we still LOVE YOU and What You have done for the BRAVES over the years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right and smart decision.

Hef

September 23rd, 2009
5:15 pm

Love him or hate him,but Bobby is one of the most respected( by coaches & executives),well liked ( by players) coaches in the game,I’ll take their imput over anyone here all day long. Could another coach have done better with the talent the braves had in the past,who the heck knows,website know it alls included.

Nativebird

September 23rd, 2009
5:16 pm

Any time organizations start making decisions based on what someone “deserves” for past success rather than on what is best for the future of the organization…bad things happen. When decision-makers start talking about what a long-timer “deserves”, all it means is they haven’t the stones to make the hard but necessary decisions. Too bad.

Lars Taint

September 23rd, 2009
5:18 pm

It really shocks me how many people really think Bobby Cox is not a great manager. You really think that everyone in baeball (you know, the people who actually play/played the game on a professional level) are wrong about Bobby and you all are right? Do you ever take a step back and think maybe you should realize you don’t know everything about the game just because you played tee ball and watch the games on TV. Maybe you should listen to the people who actually do know what they are talking about.

dave

September 23rd, 2009
5:18 pm

Bring back Joe Torre? Ha! He’ll need a $180 million payroll to go with it. He had his chance here; he took the team Bobby would have had to the NLCS in 1982, was three and out, and it went downhill from there. By 1984, the Braves were barely above .500. And that was with Ted’s money. Meanwhile, Bobby went to Toronto, and took what was the crappiest team in the AL to the ALCS in three years.

RC35

September 23rd, 2009
5:19 pm

Before you canonize Joe Torre, don’t forget how he botched the playoffs of 1982. For those too young to remember, Bob Horner had been our cleanup hitter for most of the year. Horner had a wrist injury late in the year, missing most of the season-ending games. As soon as the playoffs started, however, Joe put him back in the cleanup spot where he batted .091 (1 for 11). I vividly remember watching popup after popup as he killed rally after rally. Joe became a good manager in later years, but with the Braves, he was still learning…the hard way.

Panties in a wad

September 23rd, 2009
5:20 pm

Still need a big bat.

LOOK ALIVE There are buzzards overhead

September 23rd, 2009
5:21 pm

Enter your comments here Not talking about the picture in this column but another has Bobby?? holding out his hat. Looks a lot like Carl in SLINGBLADE. The hat could be hiding a lawnmower blade. Hmmmmm Look out little feller

keef1234

September 23rd, 2009
5:21 pm

unfortunately unless Cox has about $50 million to add to the $98 million, the Braves cannot compete. Period. (Yankees, Redsox, etc etc…)
Arthur Blank needs to buy the team ASAP and fire McGuirk who LIED to us fans stating the payroll is flexible for any player the office thinks is a piece for the W.S. (read the transcript of Liberty’s final purchase details…) Long term contract for Teixeira anyone??

Lars Taint

September 23rd, 2009
5:22 pm

Nativebird,
Did you just start keeping up with the Braves 15 minutes ago? I think Frank Wren has proven this year that he doesn’t make decisions based on what someone deserves for past success. Just ask Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Wren, along with everyone else in the game, thinks Bobby is a great manager and wants him around as long as he will stay.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

September 23rd, 2009
5:23 pm

Great, another year of our lives down the damn drain. Cox has under managed this 2009 squad and he will do the same in 2010. The difference next year is he will doom them in the playoff’s instead of the regular season.

I’m calling it a full year ahead of time because this fan is fed up with half azz management.

Terry McGurik, John Scheurholz and Frank Wren……the three stooges running a baseball team.

Bill Heller

September 23rd, 2009
5:29 pm

My biggest quibble with Cox is his TERRIBLE batting order: Why place the two leading HR hitters at the leadoff and 7th positions? (McLouth and LaRoche respectively). Chipper shouldn’t bat 3rd with his numbers, that should go to Escobar. McCann would be solid at 5th, but the team’s slowest runner shouldn’t be in the cleanup spot (put McLouth at 4th).

brentATL

September 23rd, 2009
5:29 pm

Agree with Robert08 this deal for Bobby better have included a one way ticket out of town for Greg Norton.

Bull Butter

September 23rd, 2009
5:31 pm

The braves need to get rid of escorbar and greg norton and hope chipper hitting improves. the team needs more speed and power.

Reid Adair

September 23rd, 2009
5:31 pm

Bobby’s announcement doesn’t surprise me a bit. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had said 2009 was it, but I think he personally is not satisfied with 2009.

Frank Wren has created a very difficult situation. Cox was not happy with how Wren chose to handle some personnel decisions, and ultimately Wren was the one who created the roster that left Cox with few options to try and find a consistent offense. Perhaps even more important, Wren has lied to the fans and the public before. I’m sure Cox has been lied to even more. After all these years, I don’t blame him a bit for not wanting to put up with management like that.

Baba O'Riley

September 23rd, 2009
5:31 pm

You guys wishing for Joe Torre must be younger than 21. Joe Torre is a great manager WHEN GIVEN A BLANK CHECK. Do you remember Joe Torre with the Mets? Braves? Cardinals? He got good really fast with Steinbrenner’s money and now has young talent and pitching in LA.

Sunshime

September 23rd, 2009
5:32 pm

All you guys that talk up Boobies success, isnt he also responsible for failures as well? Look 14 titles are nice, but I dont want to be the Buffalo Bills. Nice guy and all, but the braves should have moved on, which delays the growth of the braves for one more year!