Real fans of the game know trivia and records. Only real fans will care about this blog because they will know that players and managers can be thrown out of a baseball game for arguing excessively or wrongly with umpires. Generally there are a few select words that a player or manager will use in the presence of an umpire and then they are “Gone.” Certain decisions cannot even be contested, at least legitimately. One is the umpire’s call of balls and strikes. This rule is bent now and then but woe to the one who “shows up” an umpire in front of thousands of fans. When an umpire ejects a player or manager there is a huge gesture made by the umpire by which he says, “You’re out of here!”
I say all of this because the Braves manager Bobby Cox, my favorite manager I admit, has recently set the all-time record for the most ejections from a baseball game of any player or manager ever. He was ejected for the 131st time last Saturday as the Braves lost a frustrating 2-1 game to the Tigers. As has been the case most of the time Bobby Cox was ejected because he was defending one of his players, who had just been tossed out himself. He almost always get tossed because a player was thrown out or he intends to keep a player from getting thrown out of a game. He is an equal opportunity offender when it comes to picking his battles.
You have to understand something to truly appreciate this record. When a manager gets tossed it is often for an ulterior reason. On top of this reason it is pure show, part of the entertainment value of the game. Mangers will pitch a fit and the crowd gets into it big time. When I was in Atlanta several weeks ago I saw two Braves games. Cox was ejected in both of them. The crowd loved it and chanted, “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” for several minutes. It was a load of fun.
I sure wish more of us could celebrate getting ejected, or even dejected, more often than we do. Maybe there is a lesson here. I have been ejected a few times. (I was once warned by a basketball official while I was sitting on the end of the bench in high school!) Cox is one of the best, and most successful, managers of all-time. His players love him and respect him. I think there is a lesson here. The next time I get hassled I am going to just get “tossed” and then see what happens. Managers do it and it sometimes works. Maybe I can learn something valuable when I am tossed by someone who wants me “out of the game.” How about you? Just make sure you get tossed for a good reason, like defending and standing up for a real friend, and then get your money’s worth on the way out, as they say in baseball.