Cox has earned the right to wait before determining his future

Just as the Braves are providing reason to wonder if they’re capable of what seemed to be the impossible last week, we now find ourselves going back to a topic that we touched on when they were struggling in June.   

At the time, I pointed out that time had allowed me to learn that I’d shown my youth four or five years ago, when I wrote that Braves manager Bobby Cox had earned the right to manage this club as long as he wanted.

Cox has repeatedly said that he’ll continue to manage as long as he possesses a passion for the competition that awaits him when he takes his seat on the bench on a nightly basis.

Via the relationship that I’ve formed with Bobby over the last nine years, I can honestly say that passion is going to be extend beyond the time, when age prevents him from possessing the mental capacities necessary to capably handle all of the daily responsibilities a manager possesses.  

With his bullpen decisions and the stubborn loyalty he’s shown Greg Norton, Cox has caused many of us to wonder if that time has already arrived.  

And behind those closed doors in the Braves front office, you can be assured that the Braves execs have assumed their responsibility of evaluating whether Cox is still the right man for the job.

But at the end of the day, Cox obviously can’t and won’t be treated just like any other individual in his role.   When Chipper Jones has referred to him as the grandfatherly figure that we’ve all come to love, he speaks for players, coaches, execs and media members.  

With John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, the Braves have already experienced two emotionally-challenging goodbyes this year.  Pushing Cox out before he’s ready to say goodbye would prove to be even harder and possibly much more damaging.  

When Cox arrived to serve as the Braves general manager in 1986, the club was the laughingstock of baseball.  Those 14 consecutive division titles that soon followed were more than just a product of the contributions he provided when he assumed the managerial role midway through the 1990 season.  

Cox brought a sense of professionalism to the Braves organization and rebuilt the farm system that John Schuerholz successfully continued to procure once he assumed the GM role.   

Without Cox, there may have never been a Doyle Alexander-for-John Smoltz trade and a less patient GM might have traded Glavine after he won just 33 of his first 74 decisions.   And aren’t you still thankful that he took Todd Van Poppel’s advice and took some kid named Chipper Jones with the first pick in the 1990 Draft.

That’s why at the end of the day, I think you could argue that Cox ranks right there with Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn as the greatest legends to ever grace the organization.  

Because of all that he’s provided this organization, Cox has indeed earned the right to stick around at least one more year.  But at the same time, the 68-year-old skipper may have to push some of his stubborn loyalties aside and do so with the understanding that there will have to be some changes made to his coaching staff before the start of the 2010 season.

Like was mentioned in this forum a few months ago, Cox isn’t any different than Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden, who have been forced to rely more heavily on their coaching staffs as they’ve continued to win their battles against Father Time.  

This isn’t to say there would have to be a major overhaul on the coaching staff.  But the organization could benefit from parting ways with a couple members of Cox’s staff and also changing the roles of some of the other current coaches.  

Before any of these decisions are made, Cox will have to tell the Braves that he is indeed committed to returning for the 2010 season.  

Like each of us, Cox is affected by the daily change of emotions the game of baseball brings.   While he might have exited the Sept. 6 game against the Reds wondering if it was truly time to spend more time with his wife and family, the six wins in the seven games that have followed have certainly altered his mindset.

In a perfect world, it would be nice to have already learned whether Cox wants at least one more chance to skipper the organization that he once resurrected.  But at the same time, I think it’s safe to say that he’s also earned the right to delay this decision for at least a few more days or weeks.  

34 Comments

i was on espn web site and there maybe talks that lou will be out of chicago and would to see him in a braves uniform but who is gonna replace Mr. Cox when he does hang it up.

I appreciate your work Mark. Agree that Cox doesn’t need to make an announcement now … but the organization needs to move on.

If Bobby Cox is willing to allow his coaching staff to be changed then he should get a farewell tour of epic proportions with enough rocking chairs to make his house look like Cracker Barrel.
However, if he sticks to his guns and does not allow any changes to be made in regards to TP, Chino or whoever, then he probably needs to be forced to retire. The current staff has glaring weaknesses. If half the team had to go to Gwinnett to find their swings, and again lost them soon after they returned to Atlanta, then maybe Jaime Dismuke deserves a shot at continuing to work with the guys he has been helping. Giving TP a year to mess up or ruin Jason Heyward would be an almost criminal act.
Great things have happened under Bobby Cox’s watch, and whether or not we think he was the reason for the success, he still deserves the respect the success has brought about. One more year is fine by me, but it needs to be a farewell tour.

Apples to Apples,
JA Happ, 19 starts, 8-4, 2.81, 87-43 (K-BB),
T Hanson, 18 starts, 10-3, 2.65, 93-39 (K-BB)
Close maybe, but given that Happ plays for a first place team that is 23 games over .500, and Hanson plays for a 3rd place team 8 games over, it really isn’t all that close for NL ROY if a pitcher is going to win it.

Hanson leads qualified NL rookies in ERA, K/9, K/BB, WHIP, W%, and is tied for the lead in Wins.

I asked Francoeur what he thought about Hanson’s performance last night and he said, “I think he’s going to look good in (Yankee) pinstripes in six years.”

Francoeur said Hanson’s performance last night was one of the best he’s seen this year.

According to Elias, Hanson became the third Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher to pitch at least seven innings while not allowing a run in consecutive starts. The others were Pete Smith (1988) and Paul Marak (1990).

This is the ninth season I’ve had this beat and that officially marked the first time that I’ve typed Marak’s name.

Each of Marak’s seven career starts occurred during the final month of that 1990 season. I’m going to have to do some research to see what happened to him.

Looks like he spent 1991 at AAA Richmond and had a 5.85 ERA. Then he spent 1992 in the Cubs organization (never reaching the majors) before capping it off in 1993 with the independent league St. Paul Saints.

Yeah well Francoeur can suck on a lolipop. He’s probably still a little upset that we traded him little does he know that we take care of players who actually PRODUCE for us. I mean he still might go somewhere else but the Braves will pay him the money he derserves.

Any word on the rain delay

Just brought the tarp back on the field and Lowe is back in the dugout. Looks like at least one more cell is heading this way.

Ground crew just put tarp back on the field

Thanks for the update!

Hey, don’t get mad at Jeff for saying that. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. If Tommy keeps his dominance until free agency, we will eventually seeing him playing in New York or LA. Sad but true. And a lot of our great players who reached free agency in the past 10 years or so, stayed in Atlanta because of Bobby Cox. If Bobby were to retire after this year, it would be great to get someone like Lou Piniella if he is indeed on his way out of Chicago. Or if Bobby does decide to stay for one more year, it would be nice to get Freddi Gonzalez when his contract runs out in Florida.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Lou Piniella is considered a player’s manager like Cox is. I was under the impression that he’s far from it. I wonder what the front office’s take on Eddie Perez is?

I would really like Freddi Gonzalez to manage us after Bobby. Bobby would probably recommend him to because he was basically a apprentice to Bobby.

Mark, Did he say first pitch at 9PM? It’s hard to hear from the national forest on the coast of SC. the Directv satilite feed on the Peachtree TV games has no commericals and just stays on during rain delay’s.

Tarp still on field. No sign of ground crew. I like Freddi but don’t think he will leave with Florida building a new stadium at the end of his contract. I think it will be someone like Ned Yost who knows the players.

Ground crew just starting to take the tarp off the field.

In all honesty as this year has progressed, I’ve wondered if Roger McDowell might be the right guy for the job. McDowell is intelligent and well respected by all of his players. When provided the opportunity he would also prove to be great with the media like he was during his playing days.

The take on Roger is simply my personal opinion. From what I can gather the top choices on the current staff would likely be Eddie or TP.

When I look at Eddie right now, I see somebody who is doing everything he can to find success in that role someday. Right now, I’m not sure if he’s ready. But I remember thinking the same thing about Fredi during his first couple of years on the Atlanta staff.

I’d love to have Fredi back in the Braves organization at some point. He truly has proven to be one of the game’s top young managers.

Another wild card nominee would be Jim Fregosi, who has been one of the club’s top advisors over the past nine seasons.

Estimated time for first pitch is 9:05 p.m. ET.

Infield must be dry as the ground crew is wetting it down

Do you think any of the minor league manager stand a chance?

I really like the idea of pursuing Fredi but I don’t know how eager he would be to leave the Marlins. He has some incredible pluses. He is bilingual(a huge plus in today’s major leagues), he has performed incredibly with a meager budget and he has a strong familiarity with our system on the way in. As I have said all along, I love Bobby, but it’s time to take away the car keys. His dedication to players who aren’t performing has gone from loyalty and tilts toward obsession now. The same applies to a coaching staff that isn’t up to the task in a number of their respective discipline( I think we all know what I think about TP).

I hope Bobby can see the writing on the wall and choses to enjoy a well earned seat in the stands. God knows he has earned it.

So much for my rousing appraisal of Derek Lowe.

Lowe began the night 2nd in the National League in hits allowed, now he leads. That blister might be a blessing in disguise. He hasn’t quite had the right stuff for a little while now.

I’m guessing Lowe has a blister. Medlen will pitch when the third begins.

Lowe — blister on his right ring finger

What about Ned Yost?

Bobby loves Ned. But I don’t get the sense that he has too many supporters within the organization. Long before the Brewers let him go during the playoff chase last year, there were rumblings that he wasn’t well liked by his players.

Two solid innings for Medlen, who was pitching for the first time since he pitched for a third consecutive day on Sept. 3….Kawakami should have had plenty of time to warm up and be ready when the fifth begins.

What happened to Gonzalez?

Gonzalez exited with a stiff back. He’s now allowed three homers in his past eight appearances. Before this run, he had made 28 consecutive appearances without allowing one.

David Ross is pinchrunning for McCann, WTF???????

OMG. The braves have a pulse and SF is coming back against CO. The last 2 years, The improbable Rockies, The Mets collapsees against the phillies. Could it be our time??? OMG the game in SF is getting sick. I can’t watch….

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