Pamela Cox, who attended a press conference with her husband yesterday afternoon at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, also said the incident has been exaggerated. She said that statements attributed to her in the police report were erroneous and that she regretted involving police in the matter.
The report said Pamela Cox had "visible swelling and redness" on her face, which police took as proof she had been hit. No such marks were apparent yesterday.
"It was just a domestic dispute that has been brewing for five or six months," Cox said. "I was probably not paying enough attention to what was going on at home."
His version is that the couple returned to their home with some friends after the party. A drink was spilled. He muttered something under his breath and an argument ensued.
"But there was no hitting of any sort," he insisted. "I just put out my left arm and grabbed her forehead and her hair to keep her away from me. We were going at it pretty good."
Pamela Cox agreed she had not been hit.
"I asked the police to let him go," she said. "But the next thing I knew, they were leading him away."
Asked repeatedly about statements attributed to her on the police report, she repeatedly disavowed them.
"I did not make those statements," she said flatly. "We did not discuss past history, period."
Under prodding, Cox conceded a previous incident, although he vigorously denied a black eye or a broken hand had been involved, as stated in the report.
"The second year we were married, she slapped me and I slapped her back. But that's all there was to it," he said. The police were not called on that occasion. The couple have been married 18 years.
Cox acknowledged both were drinking Sunday night, but insisted neither was intoxicated. He appeared genuinely contrite when discussing his role in any marital problems they might have.
"She expected more out of me than I was giving her at the time," he said. ''We have argued in the past like anybody else. But whatever differences we've had, we're willing to work things out.
"This is partly - no, totally my fault. We've had one real vacation in the last 14 years. That started when I was the general manager and working around the clock, always afraid I'd miss something.
"We talked a lot this morning. In the past, I just haven't been a very good listener. Once the season begins, I'm not much of a home guy. I leave the house early to get to the ballpark. This has been an enlightening experience for me. The fact is, we have to spend more time together."
Cox, always considered one of baseball's nice guys who finished first, was asked if this incident would damage his reputation.
"I hope not," he said. "Maybe I haven't been the best father in the world, but I've always worried about Pam and the kids."