Guest Post by Dylan Sharek
In fact, Bobby Cox is eating.
Or at least he was.
You see, my girlfriend works at Magnolias restaurant in downtown Charleston, S.C. It’s a popular place with tourists, and for some reason, celebrities seem to flock to it whenever they’re in town. Hello, Bill Murray!
Last night, Katlyn asked me if I’d heard of someone named Bobby Cox: “He’s a manager of a baseball team or something. He’s coming in for lunch tomorrow.”
“YOU MEAN THE ALL-TIME LEADER IN MANAGER EJECTIONS AND ALSO THE MANAGER OF 14 CONSECUTIVE DIVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS WITH THE ATLANTA BRAVES?”
Cox was in town because he was the guest speaker at the Charleston RiverDogs’ Hot Stove Banquet on Friday. I had wanted to go to the event, but unfortunately, I’m not exactly shitting out twenties right now.
So, as a consequence, I had trouble sleeping last night, thinking of the life-changing things that I would say to Bobby Cox when I inevitably stalked him during his low-key lunch: “Mr. Cox, thank you for everything,” “Mr. Cox, the game won’t be the same without you.”
I’m not the kind of person who gets worked up about celebrities; I actually saw Murray at a Halloween costume shop in West Ashley, and I ignored him.
But Bobby Cox—this was a totally different story. He’s a baseball man, someone who’s spent the last 50 years toiling in the game I love. He’s a four-time Manager of the Year, he’s the fourth-winningest manager in Major League Baseball history, and he was at the helm of the team that featured the best rotation in Major League Baseball history.
Outside of some old-time players, Bobby Cox is one of the few on a short list of players/managers I’d actually like to sit down with.
“His reservation is at 12:45.”
So around 12:00pm, I drove from Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston. As soon as I hit East Bay Street, I saw Bobby Cox. Or I thought I did.
I wanted to see Cox so badly that I turned every single old, wobbly man on the street into the Atlanta Braves’ manager. There was an old man wearing sweatpant jeans, and I was sure it was him. I couldn’t stop to confirm it from the car though, so I kept driving to Magnolias.
I was seated by 12:45, the time he was expected to appear.
He never came.
So I decided to have a few beers.
Next thing I know, a couple hours passed (I think it was now about 2:30pm), and there was still no sign of Bobby.
Just as I was about to leave, in walks Bobby Cox, about two hours late for his reservation. He was wearing slacks, a blue shirt, and a black leather jacket. It turns out you can’t think you see a celebrity; when you see one, you know. It turns out he wasn’t wearing sweatpant jeans at all, and he looked exactly like you would expect Bobby Cox to look. He was with three other people: a man who looked like his brother and a pair of older women.
The bartender said, “There you go, stalker!” and I just sat there, frozen.
I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t try to get a picture with him. I didn’t try to get a picture of him.
My girlfriend doesn’t understand why I don’t take pictures or why I’ll fight tooth and nail before I take one on our anniversary, while we’re in Disney World, or while I’m lifting a two-ton car.
Truth be told, I don’t need to prove that I was sitting next to Bobby Cox, that I met Bobby Cox, or that I didn’t meet Bobby Cox. The memory is ingrained in my brain for life, and I’ll never forget it. For an hour today, I sat ten feet from one of the most accomplished and respected figures in baseball history, and didn’t say a word.
For some people, that would be what’s called a “wasted opportunity.” For me, it’s a damn good day.