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BISHER: Baseball career may not be over for Cox

Look, baseball managers have left before. Some not of their own choosing. Take Casey Stengel, for instance. Bet you didn't realize that the Yankees fired him, and he didn't go with a grin on his face.

None of them left like Connie Mack. He fired himself.

He could do that. He owned the team. Besides, he was 84 years old, and the old Athletics were so bad he couldn't stand to watch them any longer.

Remember when the Dodgers sidelined Leo Durocher? Well, it wasn't your routine firing. Happy Chandler suspended him for a season because of some of the company Leo had been keeping. Gangsters, big-time moneybags. Leo had been leaving tickets at the gate for them.

Now, if you have been paying close attention, you'll have noticed that Bobby Cox has said he's going to retire. No reason to doubt him. He made it known last fall, and the newshounds have been retiring him every so often since. I guess he's going to, though he'll find out that retiring isn't as easy as it sounds.

Have you noticed some of the news pictures of him lately? Face chiseled in stone. Like a guy waiting to be sentenced.

I don't know that it relates to retirement at all, or just what he's seeing in the Braves camp at Orlando.

Bobby is going to find that retirement isn't so easy. The newspapers and those sports eagles on the radio will keep reminding him of that. Listen to Leo Mazzone doing radio, and you can almost hear him bawling, begging: "Don't somebody out there need a pitching coach? Come get me, I'm available."

I'd thought that he might catch on with Washington. You know, since Stan Kasten was pushing the buttons when both he and Mazzone were here at the same time, and Stan is now trying to rebuild the Nationals. Nothing there. Maybe that tells you something, though you must remember it was Leo who kept saying, "Who wouldn't be a good pitching coach with Maddux and Smoltz and Glavine to coach?"

I'll buy that, but sometime a fellow's humor can backfire.

As for Bobby Cox, I'm positive he means it — now. Yeah, he is retiring. That doesn't mean he's out of baseball. There's always that dulcet position of "consultant." What better consultant could the Braves have than Bobby Cox, who could look in now and then, then take off on another cruise with Pam.

Leave it at that. Right now I'm not putting together my invitation list to his goodbye blowout. There's a lot of time between the first retirement and hail and farewell.

Furman Bisher is one of the deans of American sports writing. The longtime Atlanta sports journalist is a member of the Georgia and Atlanta Sports Halls of Fame and in addition to his newspaper writing has authored multiple books on major figures like Hank Aaron and Arnold Palmer. He writes periodic columns for the Daily Post.