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.
Thank 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.