In the month of September — only in its 11th day, I remind you — two men who share a last name have become the go-to-and-dump-on guys on this dumb little blog. And it’s a hairline call as to which Cox has had it tougher. Before I render judgment on this burning issue, let’s consider the cases:
Bobby Cox: Has seen his Braves lose six of their past eight games to fall from three games behind wild card leader Colorado to an out-of-it 8 1/2 games behind. (The Braves are actually a half-game closer to NL East leader Philadelphia than to the Rockies, not that it will do much good.) Has seen them swept at home by sub-.500 Cincinnati on a weekend when the Reds mustered 10 runs in 30 innings but still more than doubled the Braves’ output.
Has gotten ejected for the 150th time in his career, which means he has been tossed from nearly a full season’s worth of games. Has seen his redeployed starter, Kenshin Kawakami, yield the winning run in extra innings when he beaned the opposing pitcher with the bases loaded. Has seen eight shutout innings by Tommy Hanson wasted in Houston when closer Rafael Soriano was touched for two runs while recording one out. Has gotten hammered in this space, first here and then here.
Joe Cox: Has seen his patience rewarded not by sudden success but by illness, defeat and a public outcry. Has contracted the flu and played against Oklahoma State in a weakened condition, and played not all that well. Has presided over Georgia’s first season-opening loss since 1996. Has apparently heard the same fans who were lauding his leadership and his passing accuracy in August lamenting his lack of both in September.
Has incited a portion of the electorate by saying he cares nothing for critics. Has inadvertently been the source of an Internet furor when it was reported (erroneously) that Logan Gray would start against South Carolina on Saturday for the apparently sore-shouldered Cox, and clearly some members of his constituency were displeased when they learned the incumbent was still the incumbent.
Who has had it worse? The Bobby-must-go lobby has risen to defeaning status this week, which marks a change from the usual constant roar. You’d think the guy had never managed a winning club, let alone a first-place finisher. (At last check, he’d done that 15 times, more than any manager in history.)
But the decision goes to the younger man. Bobby Cox gets paid upwards of $3 million to take the heat. Joe Cox is an amateur and gets paid only in tuition, books, room, board and incidentals. He has had it much worse, and I feel sorry for him.
Which leads us to … our next post, which will address the topic: Has college football become such a big business as to have squeezed out the last measure of sentimentality?