The sporting world is currently a mess. ESPN is reporting that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy plans to plead guilty to betting on games that he officiated. Later this week, Michael Vick will most likely plead guilty to a brutally descriptive dogfighting indictment.

Bobby CoxThank goodness Bobby Cox has given us a feel-good story in the world of baseball. Wait, is this a feel-good story? Cox set the major league record for ejections Tuesday night, getting tossed for the 132nd time in his career after arguing a called third strike on Chipper Jones in the fifth inning of the Giants-Braves game at Turner Field. The record caught few people by surprise – we here at Umpbump have been tracking Cox’s progress for a few months now. But, despite all the time to contemplate the meaning of this “accomplishment”, it’s still difficult to pinpoint how fans should feel. Right?

On one hand, just a few weeks ago, Cox himself admitted that approaching the record was downright “embarrassing”. On the other hand, the record signifies that Cox is a true player’s manager, a man that stands up for his players and their emotions. It’s a managerial approach that has garnered respect with ballplayers throughout the league, hence Cox’s reputable standing as one of the game’s all-time greats. In a post-game show on FSN SportSouth following Tuesday’s game, Chipper Jones suggested that he was “honored” to have been the player for whom Cox broke the record.

Perhaps the most notable characteristic of Cox’s record-breaking performance was what followed after he was ejected. In their next turn at bat, the Braves rallied to erase a 3-0 deficit on their way to a 5-4 victory. Many will claim that Cox’s shenanigans provided the Braves with the emotional spark to tally an important victory, keeping the team within arm’s reach of both the Mets and Phillies in the NL East. In a world where all that matters are wins and losses, shouldn’t this be the one thing that fans remember from Tuesday night?

Atleast one thing’s for sure – that’s how Bobby would have it.

7 Responses to “Bobby Cox Stands Alone”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    This is why they play 162. I think Sox fans need to start getting real worried about the Yankees who are now only 5 back.

    The Yankees’ ERA in July? A very respectable 4.16. So far this month? 4.00. Meanwhile the Sox are going slightly in the other direction and pretty much every pitcher in the Sox pen is pitching better career norms, meaning the pen is more likely to pitch worse than better down the stretch.

    The Yankees have actually been pretty unlucky so far. Given their staggeringly large run differential, you would actually expect their record to be a major-league best 71-42 rather than 63-50. The Sox have been a bit unlucky as well – a team with their run differential would usually have a record of 70-43, which would put them one game back of the Yankees.

    All of which is to say, with that offense, I don’t think we can say that the Yankees have bad pitching. Their pitching has been more than sufficient to put up the best run differential in all of baseball.

  2. Sarah Green says:

    First, Sox fans have always been worried about the Yankees. Only foolish media jabbermouths had already written New York off, and I was never among them.

    Second, the Yankees clearly have had bad pitching this year, a fact that you can try to gloss over by being dazzled by their brilliant offense, but a fact that remains nonetheless. You can’t say that their lackluster pitching has been good, just because their offense has been spectacular. As for luck, well, the fate of any given season is always affected by luck—some of it bad, as fans of the Red Sox well know. Yes, Red Sox pitchers are *luckily* throwing better than usual, which is fortunate because several of the Red Sox’ offensive leaders are *unluckily* having off-years. You can say that the Red Sox hurlers are statistically likely to start being less effective down the stretch, but you can just as easily say that the Red Sox hitters will start performing towards their usual levels. And with the pitchers the Yankees have, that’s still a match-up I’d like to see. If there is pitching staff in the American League that can shut down this Yankee offense, it is the pitching staff of the Boston Red Sox. And if they can’t, well, it will be a long winter in New England.

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    I’m not saying the Yankees have *great* pitching. Just that they have pretty darn good pitching. The only reason anyone thinks they have lackluster pitching is because of April, when their staff ERA was over 5.00. But since then they have been pretty good.

    Even including April, the Yankees ERA for the season is the 7th best in the American League. It was 6th best in July, and so far in August it is 3rd best, behind only Cleveland and Minnesota.

    I’m not saying that a Red Sox-Yankees series won’t be awesome, or important. I’m not saying the Sox are definitely going to flop down the stetch that the Yankees are definitely going to win. In fact, I’m not disagreeing with anything you said in your post.

    I was just taking your post as a jumping off point to point out that, at least on paper, the Yankees have statistically been the best team in baseball this year, which is not a fun thought.

  4. Paul Moro says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m emotionally removed from the Yanks-Sox thing. But to me, I think it’s pretty clear that the Yankees chances are slim at best. Of course, there are still a good number of games left and injuries and other freakish things can happen. But the Sox just have too much talent not to be able to take advantage of the ridiculous underperformance of the Yankees in comparison with their run-diffential. It may get close – say, 2 or 3 games – but the Sox have too much going their way, no matter how talented the Yankees are.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I love how seamheads talk about “on paper” when the only stat that really matters, in the end, is how many W’s you have.

    And Paul, thanks for jinxing us. When we fall apart at the seams (right on schedule, sometime in September), I will be sending a package bomb to your house.

    First rule of being a Sox fan: never, EVER underestimate the Yankees.

    Second rule of being a Sox fan: never, EVER underestimate the ability of the Red Sox to find new and creative ways to break your heart.

  6. good hitting vsgood pitching usually a draw look at red sox era vs yankees this year, if yanks did not have all those pitching injuries early this would not even be a race. red sox got of fast and have been on a slow decline since middle of may.yankees will probably catch them by sept 1

  7. Alejandro says:

    Sit tight Bobby, your record is bound to fall, just like the others.

    After this one, White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen considered arguing the final bang-bang play at first that ended the game but instead kept quiet. He knows he could catch Braves manager Bobby Cox for career ejections one day. Cox picked up his major league record 132nd Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

    “Any time I say something to the umpire, major league baseball makes money,” Guillen said. “I want to know what they do with my money. They should pay my taxes. … I’m going to call [Cox] tomorrow, send him a box of cigars and tell him, ‘I’m right behind you.'”

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