David Brown

Giants pause celebration to salute Braves manager Bobby Cox

David Brown
Big League Stew

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In perhaps the most touching moment of the playoffs so far, the San Francisco Giants broke away from their on-field celebration Monday night to acknowledge Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox.

He had returned to the field at the behest of home fans chanting his name shortly after the Giants' 3-2 clinching victory in the NLDS.

"That was nice of [the Giants]," Cox said in a teary postgame press conference. "I saw them and gave 'em a thumb's up, too."

Giants outfielder Cody Ross(notes) said Cox was deserving of the Giants suspending their own excitement for a moment.

"He's the best manager, for me, that's ever managed the game," Ross [said]. "I got a chance to play against him for five years. I love coming in here seeing him. I want to congratulate the Braves on a fine season and him on a great career.”

When Cox addressed his own players in the Braves clubhouse, he reportedly couldn't speak more than 10 words before breaking down.

"I told them I was really proud of them," Cox said, choking up. "Grown man shouldn't do this."

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Cox, as you probably know, is retiring after 30 seasons as a major league manager, plus several more as an executive, player and coach in the majors and minors.

"It doesn't feel like the last time I'm putting it [a baseball uniform] on, but it certainly is," Cox said, his voice cracking. "I won't put it on again."

His last two games probably weren't his best tactical games as a manager. He put an overmatched Brooks Conrad(notes) in the field in Game 3, and the Giants don't win without Conrad's three errors.

In Game 4, he probably stayed with right-hander Derek Lowe(notes) at least one batter too long.

But let's also face the fact that the Braves pretty much limped into the playoffs, and they didn't get any healthier once they started. When a team views Troy Glaus(notes) as a defensive upgrade, well, Cox's roster just wasn't very deep.

It's going to be strange with someone else — Fredi Gonzalez? — running the team next season. The Atlanta Braves and Bobby Cox have been synonymous.

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