Sports Outside the Beltway

Atlanta Brave Manager Bobby Cox says he’ll be back in 2009

Next year will Cox’s 20th year managing the Braves. From AP-

Despite Atlanta’s worst season since 1990, longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox vowed Wednesday to return next season.

The 67-year-old Cox signed a one-year contract extension in May, but his team was ravaged by injuries — especially to the pitching staff — and went into a game against the Colorado Rockies with a 63-82 record, 18½ games out of first in the NL East.

Cox said the Braves’ record — good or bad — would not be a factor in his decision to step aside, whenever that might be.

“I’m not going to decide my retirement based on wins and losses or anything like that,” he said, sitting in a tiny room just off the Braves dugout at Turner Field. “I still love the game. It’s fun. It’s no fun to lose, but I look at it different than most people. The game is fun to me. Coming to the ballpark is fun. I enjoy being able to be a part of the game.”

When Cox pointed out that he already had a contract for 2009, someone said the Braves would surely let him out of it if he had changed his mind. After all, he’s been managing the team since 1990, and management has made it clear that he can stay in the dugout as long as he likes.

“I won’t change my mind,” he insisted.

Cox is the fourth-winningest manager in major-league history and likely headed to Cooperstown after he does decide to retire. The Braves won a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2004 and captured the city’s lone World Series championship in 1995.

Before the Braves, Cox had a successful tenure managing the Toronto Blue Jays. Taking them to the LCS in 1985. Bobby Cox’s MLB playing career consisted entirely of two unspectacular years playing 3rd base for the New York Yankees.

No doubt, Cox deserves enshrinement in the HOF one day. I do think he has outlived his usefulness to Atlanta. Like ballplayers, managers can stay on too long too.

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