Comments about Bobby Cox
STARTING PITCHER TOMMY HANSON
It's special. I grew up watching Braves' games. I've seen him since I was a little kid. To be able to play for him, and especially his last year, it's definitely an honor and something I'm very proud about. Down the road I could say I played for Bobby Cox in his last season. That whole thought is exciting for me.
Bobby's a great manager. He's definitely a player's manager. He lets us do what we need to do to get ready for the season and the game everyday. It's been awesome playing for him. I'm definitely looking forward to this last year playing for him.
Every time I talk to him, or any time I'm around Bobby, you never feel out of place or you never feel uncomfortable. You always feel comfortable around Bobby, anytime you need to talk to him or anything like that. Even when if you were to ever mess up on the field or make a mistake on the field, you're never going to hear a bad word out of Bobby's mouth. He's always going to have your back and be behind you. For me and for a lot of baseball players you don't need someone on your back all the time and telling you that you did something wrong. You're going to be hard enough on yourself. Myself and I know a lot of other baseball players would much rather play for a manager like Bobby than for one than one that would be all over you.
Obviously you want to go out and win games. Your goal is always to win a championship. I don't think we're doing it, in a sense, for Bobby. But if we can do that, with this being Bobby's last year, that would be the way to do it and send him out on a good note.
STARTING PITCHER JAIR JURRJENS
I'm lucky to come up with Detroit with Jim Leyland and then come here and play for Bobby. It's so easy to play for a guy like that because he's not the type of manager that will be in your face every time. He'll let you do your thing. When you cross the line, he's going to set you back and you'll respect that. It's so easy to go up to him and ask him anything. His office is always open. It's like having a dad at the stadium. You can go to him with any problem, and he's going to give you the best advice he can.
RELIEVER PETER MOYLAN
No we don't really talk about it – only when you guys bring it up. The beauty of Bobby Cox is you don't know that it's his last year because nothing's changed. He's still the same guy, still as intense and as fired up as he usually is. I don't think we'll realize it's his last year until he doesn't show up for spring training next year. I don't want to believe it until he doesn't roll up here next year and park in his spot in right field.
OUTFIELDER MATT DIAZ
Bobby won't let us get too high or too low. I think if we weren't giving our all in the last few years, we wouldn't be here. Bobby tends to get rid of those people who need an extra kick in the shorts to get going. If he's got to kick you in the shorts to get going everyday or to retire to get you going, he's not going to keep you around.
CATCHER CLINT SAMMONS
You're never going to see it. He told us in that first meeting. I'm going to be the same guy I've been. I'm going to get pissed off at you. I'm going to yell at you. I'm going to pat you on the butt. I'm the same Bobby that I've been all these years. I know all of us want to send him out on a high note. He would love that. I'm sure it will hit him at some point. But right now he seems like the same old guy like he's always been.
THIRD BASE COACH BRIAN SNITKER
He's been special to me. He's been very special to all of us that have worked for him, or played for him, or been associated with the Atlanta Braves during his tenure. It is normal. It's just business as usual right here. He's as fiery as ever. It's not going to hit any of us that he's leaving until the season is over. It's going to be business as usual, and we're going to go out and try to win every game we play.
He's been special to all of us cause he makes all of us feel like we're the most important person on the ball field when we're out there. Just the way he treats people…the respect he has for you, and the respect we have for him. Guys obviously like to play for him and have for years. You love to work with him. I've learned a ton – dealing with the game, and how to deal with the game once it starts, how to deal with players off the field, running a clubhouse, just treating people – treating people the right way and treating people the way you want to be treated. It doesn't matter who you are. That's just about being a genuine, honest, good man. That's what he is. He's just a wonderful person. I'm proud to call him my friend, and he will be for the rest of our lives.
FIRST BASE COACH GLENN HUBBARD
He doesn't want it to be anything other than a normal year. But it's going to be a special year for him because everywhere he goes, whenever he goes on the field, he's going to be like a rock star. He's a Hall of Fame manager. People should appreciate what he's done in the game as a manager, and they should appreciate this is his last year.
He never panics. I remember maybe four or five years ago we were in Baltimore. We just got beat like 14-3. We made like five errors. I'm in my locker after the game and I'm shaking my head. He said, "What's wrong?" I said, "Bobby our pitchers just gave up fourteen runs. We made five errors. And we got like five hits. He looked at me and said, "We'll be alright." We ended up winning by ten games that year. We won the division. We were playing horrible, but he never, ever panics. That's been part of his success. A lot of managers lose teams by the panic. They panic, so the team panics.
Every team takes on the personality of the manager. If the manager is an aggressive guy, you become aggressive. If you're a guy that yells, the team takes on that. Bobby keeps going. He knows it's a marathon. It's not a short sprint. It's a marathon. You can stumble early, and still win the race. That's what spring training is like for him – preparing for that long haul.
He's always been energetic. Everyone that watches the game on TV can hear him yelling from the dugout. From the very first pitch of the game, he's for the players and into the game. He's still has that passion of the game. He's been in the game a long time. He just feels like he needs to go on. I've been fortunate to play for him and now coach for him. It's been great. I've learned a lot from him.
He demands you show up on time and play hard. If you do that, and we've got talent, we've got a chance to win.
He's not going to let it get in the way. He doesn't want that. Bobby's always been a guy that you could put all the accolades on him, and he just shrugs it off. It's about the team. When we win a game, it's about the team. It's not about I've won so many games as a manager. It's about this guy got a great hit, or this guy made a great pitch. When you lose, he takes it on himself. You'll never see him in the paper saying, "Gee whiz this guy struck out with the bases loaded." He'll say, "The other pitcher made a great pitch there." Even though the hitter might have popped up a pitch right down the middle. He never puts it on the player in the losses. They don't get called out in the paper. Bobby never does that.
He treats chauffeurs and the bellman or the janitor at the stadium here the same as he treats me. He is genuine. He'd give you the shirt off his back.
There might be some slight motivation with this being Bobby's last year. It would be a perfect year to go back to the World Series for him. Bobby wants guys that want to win because they want to win. More than anything that's why guys come here for cause that's what Bobby expects. Every year Bobby expects the goal to be to win a World Series. That's what the fans can expect. We're going to try to win a win a championship and go to the World Series.
COACH BOBBY DEWS
He made it very clear in his meetings that he's had so far that he is not changing. Bobby Cox is not going to change.
I call the three ‘R's' of Bobby Cox. He's a remarkable talent. He's relentless in his approach to winning. That's what he thinks about is winning the next ballgame. But he's resilient enough that he can turn a devastating loss or series around and somehow get so many positives out of it that we'll go on a winning streak.
Bobby Cox treats everybody as if they are somebody. It doesn't matter whether you're the twenty-fifth man on a roster or the number one guy, or if you're a coach, or a clubhouse guy. He treats you with respect, and he makes you feel important. He makes us feel important. He'll always find something in a bad situation that we might find ourselves in. He'll always find something positive to say about the people who work for him.
I was managing the Savannah Braves in 1978. My name had been in the pot with Bill Lucas to manage the Atlanta Braves when Bobby Cox got the job. Bobby Cox walked over from the other dugout and he told me, "You've been beating the bushes a long time Bobby. You seem to be doing a good job for the Braves. I'm going to bring you up next year as my third base coach." My team went on to win the championship. I got the only Manager of the Year award I got in the minor leagues. He changed my entire life with that one sentence. He was good to his word.
I'm in a little bit of denial. I have asked him several times, and he says he's definitely made his plans to retire. But it's like a lot of things, I'll believe it when I see it.
PITCHING COACH ROGER MCDOWELL
It's a very memorable opportunity and a very humble opportunity to be on the staff with Bobby. What he has been, not only to the game, but the people he comes in contact with. Everybody wants a one-word description of Bobby, and for me it's two words - the best.
I'm very honored and very happy I got that opportunity and be on the bench with him and to be a part of watching him do what he does – the best ever at being a manager and treating people the correct way. Treating people fairly. I've learned a ton of lessons from him, not only from a baseball standpoint, but a people standpoint. I've very honored that I've crossed paths with him.
FORMER BRAVES CATCHER BRUCE BENEDICT
I think every player that played for Bobby will tell you what an honor and a privilege it is to play for somebody that everyone holds to the highest esteem. I think the dugout is going to miss him next year. I cherish the time I get to spend with Bobby.
One of the great things about Bobby is he always makes you feel good about yourself. He always has time for you. He knows your family. He's just a very kind and patient man.
He hasn't changed a bit, which is a real testimony to Bobby and the way he treats people with respect and fairness and kindness.
I know they always play as hard as they can for Bobby, but I think there's just a little special extra push in their heart to send him out in a good way.
Bill Shanks hosts The Bill Shanks Show on WFSM Fox Sports 1670 in Macon, Georgia and The Atlanta Baseball Show. Shanks writes a weekly column for The Macon Telegraph. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/billshanks.
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