Today is the first day of the third quarter of 2010. We are in the middle of Major Leage baseball’s “dog days of summer”, but many Braves fans, including myself, are already thinking about who will replace Head Coach Bobby Cox when he retires at the end of the season. There are some great candidates to replace Cox, too, as reported in the The Bleacher Report, June 22, 2010. Personlly, I’d like to see Terry Pendleton get the nod. As a player and later as a batting coach, Pendleton has excelled in contributing to the game of baseball, and has been loyal to the Braves organization and Coach Bobby Cox.
Growing up, I remember watching the Braves in the ’70’s and ’80’s on TV station WTBS Atlanta. Fortunately as a kid, I was more interested in baseball cards and individual players than game stats and Braves wins. I remember, however, catching Braves fever at the Blue Moon Saloon Piano Bar in Augusta, GA, watching all seven games of the 1992 National League Championship Series between the Braves and the Pittsburg Pirates. Who could forget pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera’s two outs, bases loaded, Pirates leading the Braves 2-1, bottom of the nineth game-winning single to left field, bringing in David Justice to tie the game and slow-footed Sid Bream’s slide into homeplate to beat Barry Bond’s throw to the plate for the winning run?
The silence was deafening as all in the bar quietly questioned Cox’s last-minute genius, and Lady Luck’s blessing of placing Cabrera in the batter’s box, the silence shattered only by the crack of a big bat and an eruption of cheers – and the rest is history.
In my humble opinion, there’s nothing like the sweet taste of victory to drive a man to continue the pursuit of excellence in his future endeavors. Herein lies the bond set between Cox and Pendleton.
Although Terry Pendleton may be the fan favorite to lead the Braves, there’s another great coach that just became available for the position. The Marlin’s just fired Fredi Gonzalez. Sports Editor Rob Rains of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, wrote an excellent article Inside Baseball: Pendleton’s managerial hopes drop a notch on June 24, 2010, comparing and contrasting Gonzalez vs. Pendleton, and makes an excellent case Pendleton may have slightly lost his edge as a shoe-in to manage the Atlanta Braves.