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The Giants win, the Braves are eliminated, Bobby Cox rides off into the sunset

Oct 11, 2010, 10:56 PM EDT

The Giants move on. And so too does Bobby Cox.

The last at bat of the game was pretty emblematic of this season. The Braves, undermanned, finished the game with a hitter who probably shouldn’t have been there, really. But you know what? Melky Cabrera took a good hack. He hit it fairly hard. He even ran hard. Maybe he did it because he realized that Bobby Cox was watching and he didn’t want to let his manager down.

Game 4 was much like all the other games in the end.  Not much punch for the Braves. A homer from Brian McCann and a sacrifice fly was it.  Defensive lapses, though nothing egregious from Troy Glaus, surprisingly enough.  A move from Bobby Cox that, in hindsight, was a bad one. Like I said earlier today, Bobby Cox has lived and died by trusting his players.  This day he died by it, leaving Derek Lowe in the game in the seventh inning against his better judgment. Lowe said he could get Pat Burrell out. He couldn’t. He walked him and extended the inning. If Cox decides not to trust Lowe there, maybe the Braves get out of the jam. If Cox doesn’t trust his players, however, he doesn’t manage for 29 years in the bigs.

Ultimately, though, this was about a team without enough talent. There weren’t enough bats. If there were Melky Cabrera and Diory Hernandez would never have been allowed to the plate. Not enough competent fielders. If there were, Glaus wouldn’t have been playing third base. Derek Lowe showed tremendous heart pitching six and a third strong innings on short rest. Brian McCann was tremendous both at the plate and behind it. But it takes more.

The Giants had that little extra that a team needs to move on. Cody Ross — a savvy midseason pickup — was responsible for both of the Giants earned runs.  Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson bent a bit, but never broke. The balls fell when the Giants needed them to. The pitchers made the pitches when they needed to. The opposition crumbled at the worst moments and the Giants took advantage. San Francisco never excelled, but they endured and, ultimately, survived.  They’ll now go on to face the Phillies in the NLCS.  I hope for their sake they step things up, because the Phillies are a much, much better team than the Atlanta Braves.

And thus ends the career of Bobby Cox. When the game ended and Cox emerged from the dugout, the Giants players stopped their on-field celebration and applauded the man. He deserved it. Not because he was the best manager ever. He probably wasn’t. Not because he was the most likable guy ever. God knows he wasn’t.  But because he’s been running baseball teams since before most of them were born, and that’s a pretty rare things these days.

Bobby Cox returned to Atlanta to take over as general manager for my Braves when I was 12 years-old. I’m 37 now. I loved that team even when they were still a laughingstock, but eventually the novelty would have worn off.  I’m not sure what would have happened to my baseball fandom if I had lost interest in the one team I could see on TV every day back in the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe I would have stuck with the lovable losers, but I suppose I may have just let it go too. Hard to say.  It’s a question I’m glad I never had to answer thanks to Cox building that team back to respectability and then taking it over to lead it to glory.

Thanks Bobby. Thanks for everything.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    LOL now we have a Braves fan trying to tell us who the best fans are…when they had about 9,000 available seats for tonight’s game. Bobby Cox’s possible last game. Their 2010 season on the line and they had 10,000 available seats. Pathetic.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    What team do you like, froggy? Talk about your team if you don’t like all the Phillies talk. Just so happens, the Phillies have a team with 3 pretty OK pitchers(that humble enough) and a pretty OK offense that scored the second most runs during the season. They have home field and have a fairly decent pitcher who threw a no-hitter and another OK pitcher who threw a shutout on the road. There’s a better than 10% chance that they could possibly make the World Series this year. Why not talk about them?

  3. Citi Field Urinal - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:04 AM

    You of all people telling us to stay classy? That’s rich.

  4. dprat - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    Craig’s restraint in his replies to you is admirable. It’s true that Craig has been ripping some Phillies fans. To be precise, he’s been ripping Phillies fans like you, Chris, and rightfully so. You’ve more than made the case for him with your comments which have been consistently, almost uniformly, dickish (as f*ck la correctly notes). I recall at one point Craig asking that you behave “like you’ve been there before,” i.e., a plea for you to act with a semblance of humility and class. You ignored that. Fine. But please know that Craig is joined by, I suspect, virtually everyone who reads the comments at HBT in believing you to be the largest douchenozzle in the whorehouse. Insecurity and overconfidence are by no means incompatible. In fact, among adolescent boys the two frequently coexist. So congrats on your arrested development.

  5. nps6724 - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:09 AM

    Except no Braves fan is declaring themselves the best fans. Philly fans are no better than anyone else. In fact, they’re probably worse. They are just like most other fanbases in that they don’t show up when the team stinks, except they also have a reputation of booing their own when they perform poorly (more so than any other fanbase) and for being extremely overly hostile to visiting teams and fans. That doesn’t make you the best fanbase in any book.

    I have no qualms with how Atlanta fans are depicted, partly because I’m not from Atlanta, but also because I know it’s true. We have a pretty pathetic fanbase at times. But none of them tout us as the best either.

  6. Citi Field Urinal - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    Get over yourself.
    I don’t debate blockheads.

  7. Hands Four - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    Good Lord, Fiorentino – Craig’s team just got eliminated; he manages to write a thoughtful, reflective post about it; you don’t even wait 10 minutes to jump in with a dismissive response; and now *you’re* telling people to stay classy?

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:20 AM

    A post saying absolutely nothing. Thanks, troll. Come back in another 9 months with more personal attacks.

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:24 AM

    Philly fans are the most knowledgable in baseball. I have no qualms saying that at all. You want to call it insecurity or lack of humility, that’s your call. Idiots who don’t anything will say we have no class for booing a tool like Scott Rolen, but we did it and it was loud and it was long and it was every single at bat. You want to think it didn’t affect him…that’s your call as well. You think we didn’t affect the walk by CC on Brett Myers in 2008, then again..your call. We know differently.

  10. ScottBravesfan - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    Where did I say that the Braves had the best fans? They don’t. The city of Atlanta is full of transplants that could care less about Atlanta sports. Braves are a regional team which is why Sunday’s game had over 53,000 at the game and tonight only had over 45,000 at the game. It’s kind of hard to drive 4 hours to a weeknight game when you have work and your kids have school the next day. And after last weekend when the Braves had 158,000 fans at a 3 game series against the Phillies you should no better than to talk trash about Braves fans. Braves have also drawn over 2 million fans for 20 straight years, only the Dodgers have also done that. Like I said when the Phillies lose 90 games and still draw 2.6 million fans like the Braves did in 2006 then you can talk. But to call the Phillies the best fans in baseball is laughable. The Braves, Yankees, Phillies, none of those fan bases are the best in baseball. Not even close. So go re-read my first post and hopefully what I was trying to get across to you actually sinks in this time.
    Hell you can add the Dodgers to that list of fan bases that I said where better than the Phillies and Yankees too. The Dodgers draw 3 million fans every year if they win or lose. They get crap because they are late to get to games but they draw well year in and year out.

  11. Filmter - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Only Philadelphia sports fans would boo Santa Claus, Mike Schmidt, and get pissy over a game that their team never played in. Two WS victories in over 100 years is nothing to brag about Chris.

  12. froggy - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    Maybe a Phillies blog would be better.
    Where were you Phillies fans 10 years ago?
    What team do I like? Does it matter? Why should anyone care?
    Again, I ask all this seriously.
    Nah. Never mind. Carry on.

  13. ScottBravesfan - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    You did not just call Philly fans the most knowledgeable? Have you been to Boston or St.Louis? Go back to booing Mike Schmidt and throwing crap at visiting players because you are delusional.

  14. froggy - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:29 AM

    There’s deeper discussion here lately about ‘fanhood’ than baseball.
    That’s shark-jumping stuff for any blog.

  15. ScottBravesfan - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:31 AM

    There is no sane Braves fan on the planet that thought this Braves fan was going to win the world series. They lost not one but two number three hitters. You don’t come back from that. The Phillies have a very good shot at winning the world series but what Craig is trying to get across to you and what other posters have tried to get across to you is, you don’t have to be a dick about it. Act like you been there before.

  16. Citi Field Urinal - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    Jesus Christ, I’ll try to be nice to you.
    The Phillies are a good team. I know this firsthand since I am a Met fan and see them often. The stats indicate that they’re a very good team, I cannot deny that.
    However, to expect people to just hand them a World Series when the postseason is the most unpredictable sequence of games is silly. The sample sizes are smaller, and for what it is worth, the regular season stats are almost rendered insignificant. They have a very good shot of winning it, but they are in no way a guarantee. The Giants are an exceedingly formidable test for them.
    To be honest, you’re not doing yourself any favors calling out Craig for not being the type of fan you want him to be and calling Phillies fans true fans; they’re just like everyone else: they don’t show when the team is crappy and they do when they’re good. It also helps to be in a market that has had baseball since before the 20th century.

  17. Citi Field Urinal - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    “Philly fans are the most knowledgeable in baseball.”
    I call it subjective and unprovable. How do you know that?

  18. nps6724 - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Thanks for proving us right. Good job.

  19. linfield - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:48 AM

    Bobby Cox will someday be in the hall of fame, but the fact remains the Atlanta Braves only have one world title. The San Francisco Giants are even worse, with zero world titles.

  20. Hands Four - Oct 12, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    “Why not talk about [the Phillies]?”
    Gee, maybe because this post was about the Braves, the Giants, and Bobby Cox? But no, you just couldn’t wait to obsess some more about the Phillies and what Craig thinks about Phillies fans. Stick to the Phillies blogs in that case, as froggy said. Please.

  21. Son of Shane Mack - Oct 12, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    I think anyone reading this thread can tell who the boorish troll is in these posts.
    You’d think that fans of a team that had to wait 97 years for their first championship and another 28 years for it’s second would have a bit more perspective on enjoying a team’s success. Apparently not. I guess history is for people without ADD.
    Nice season Braves!

  22. Citi Field Urinal - Oct 12, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    There are 29 other MLB teams besides the Phillies? No way!
    And they also get coverage on a general MLB blog? You’re kidding!

  23. FrankZappa - Oct 12, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    anybody who thinks the phillies (as much as i hate them) arent going to win it all is delusional

  24. BigCat71 - Oct 12, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Ha! Ha! Ha!
    Post-season choke artists at it again!!!

  25. jde - Oct 12, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Craig, don’t bother with Chris, he’s a cancer on these baseball blogs. Head over to Posnanski’s blog to see what we all think about him. There’s a difference between expressing one’s opinion and flame-baiting. Chris is an expert in the latter.

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