|John McGraw, you're outta here; Bobby Cox is the new Mr. Ejection|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 14 August 2007 22:14|
There's a new Mr. Ejection.
After biting his tongue for 7 1/2 weeks, Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox surpassed ``Little Napoleon'' for the most ejections in baseball history Tuesday night.
Cox got the heave-ho between the fifth and sixth innings for a typical infraction: complaining about the strike zone to plate umpire Ted Barrett after Chipper Jones went down looking with runners at second and third and the Braves trailing 3-0.
Actually, Cox's motives were twofold. Jones flung his bat about 80 feet toward the Braves dugout, threw his helmet nearly as far and clearly muttered a couple of expletives after the called third strike.
``Bobby knows if I'm upset, it's a ball,'' Jones said.
The 66-year-old manager quickly sprang into action, doing what he does best - arguing - to make sure his slugger didn't get tossed.
The Braves rallied, and Jones was still around to drive in the winning run with a ninth-inning double for a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Cox had to watch the celebration from the clubhouse.
He surely didn't mind taking one for the team.
``You could sense the frustration mounting up,'' Jones said. ``When Bobby saw I was not long for this game, he decided to take over. It worked. The club was fired up after that.''
As he approached the record, the cantankerous Cox said it was ``kind of embarrassing'' and refused to give it any significance. He stuck to that approach as he bickered his way past McGraw.
``It's absolutely no factor. It's nothing,'' Cox said. ``It just means I've been around a long time, that's all.''
But his players found it rather amusing.
``Bobby was very kindly explaining that the ball was inside,'' outfielder Matt Diaz, who had a front-row seat, deadpanned. ``The umpire disagreed with the assessment.''
Cox began arguing from the dugout and was quickly tossed by Barrett. The manager then waddled toward the ump on two surgically replaced knees, picking up an animated conversation that lasted a couple of minutes.
After letting off some steam, Cox headed back to the dugout - and on to the clubhouse.
Most fans and media were unaware that he'd even been ejected. An announcement was made in the press box before the start of the sixth inning, but no acknowledgment was made to the crowd.
Barrett also was caught off guard.
``I didn't realize at the time it was the record,'' he said. ``Last time we were here, I knew he had tied it before we came in. I didn't know he hadn't had any ejections since then.''
While baseball doesn't count ejections as an official stat, the Society for American Baseball Research came up with 131 ejections for McGraw. Fourteen of those came as a player, so Cox already held the mark for managers.
He tied McGraw's overall record during a June 23 game against the Detroit Tigers. This might sound familiar: Cox ran on the field hoping to keep catcher Brian McCann from getting ejected over a disputed strike call in the ninth.
They both wound up getting tossed by plate umpire Chad Fairchild.
After that, Cox managed to go 43 consecutive games without an ejection. Finally, he couldn't help himself.
``If he was going to get it, I'm glad that it came on behalf of me,'' Jones said with a smile. ``Bobby had kind of been biting his tongue lately. He was embarrassed by the record. But it was inevitable. He's too passionate about the game.''
Barrett downplayed his role in history.
``Just routine arguing balls and strikes, and he was ejected for that,'' the ump said. ``Nothing out of the ordinary from other ejections.''
Still, the ejection seemed to fire up the Braves. They scored four runs in the sixth and bounced back after closer Bob Wickman squandered their lead in the top of the ninth.
``It lit a fire under our butts,'' said Mark Teixeira, who led off the sixth with a homer. ``I'm sure Bobby got his money's worth.''
And, yes, the winning hit came from Jones - the very player who was in the middle of Cox's record-setting ejection.
``It was like all the other times Bobby got tossed,'' Diaz said. ``He went out there and had his player's back.''