By Adam Lawson, WSOE Sports
(Before I begin, let me apologize for an error in my last article. Evan Longoria is, in fact, in the All-Star Game as the starting third baseman. Sorry for the mistake.)
Normally when I write for this wonderful WSOE sports blog, I try to remain as objective as possible. But, I thought this entry could be a change of pace. You see, I am going to talk about my Atlanta Braves in this article, but I will attempt to keep all homerisms out of this post. Well, here goes nothing.
For fourteen seasons in a row, the Atlanta Braves reigned king of their divisional domain. It began when they were a member of the NL West, and continued well into their NL East lives. Those Braves, as we know them are over. But they have two constants that remain from those years: Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox. What i am about to propose may shock you, so please take a seat.
Bobby Cox has won over 2,000 games as manager of the Braves, but he has now lost his touch. Starting Jeff Francoeur, sending one of our best bench hitters in the game to bunt, overusing the bullpen. That’s just a sample of the Cox of today. It’s been great Bobby, but I think Atlanta need a change. Now, General Manager Frank Wren isn’t going to fire the legend, but he shouldn’t give him a new contract when this one runs out after the season. They should relieve Bobby Cox of his managerial duties, but should not go for new leadership. I know what you’re thinking: What the heck is he talking about? Does he realize that what he just said made no sense?
Actually, young skeptic, it makes all the sense in the world. For I am proposing that Frank Wren should promote Chipper from starting third baseman to starting third baseman/manager starting in the 2010 season. Why? Well, he’s already the player the young Braves come to when they are in a slump. Not Bobby, not hitting coach Terry Pendleton. Chipper Jones. He’s the leader. He does things quietly in front of the media, but he has told the media that at times of struggles he will hold a team meeting to address the problems. How hard could it be for him to fill out a lineup card? In away games, he could yell from his third base perch into the dugout and tell pitching coach Roger McDowell to warm up Peter Moylan or to get Mike Gonzalez ready so he can come in and retire the lefty. Plus, it’s not like he’s a 162-game a year player. He’s stayed fairly healthy this year and has avoided the DL, which is awesome. But he will get days off, and on those days off, he can take a seat in the dugout and be a manager for the day, instead of a player-manager. Pitcher hitting first in the next inning? Simple. Go up to the umpire and say you’re making a double-switch and that you’ll be coming into the game. Disputed call? He won’t have to get up from the dugout to argue with an ump, he’ll be right on the field, assuming his team is on defense. Then, after his playing days are finished, he can remain in charge and lead us back to glory.
People love to play for Bobby Cox, but they JUMP at the chance to play with Chipper Jones, a future Hall-of-Famer that has done everything the right way. Mario Lemieux was a player-owner for the Pittsburgh Penguins. This is the next logical step. Let Chip be the Skip, and watch the fortunes in Atlanta change for the better.