Sometimes — pretty much all the time, actually — we in the media take things for granted. We get to go to games for free and sit in the press box and guzzle free soft drinks and rub elbows with famous and exotic athletes. And sometimes we forget that you on the outside aren’t privy to what we are.
In the interest of audience enlightenment, I’m starting an occasional feature here on the ol’ blog. I call it, catchily enough, Behind The Curtain. I don’t know that this will become a weekly production on the order of Bradley’s Buzz, but we’ll start it off and see where it goes. And today’s first installment comes to you from deep inside Turner Field.
Bobby Cox has an actual office just off the clubhouse, but you won’t find him there before games. He’s either sitting in the dugout schmoozing — and you see a shot of Cox in the dugout 12 times an inning on TV, so that wouldn’t be a revelation — or he’s in his semi-secret lair, which is down the dugout steps to the right.
Cox usually heads to the Batcave 3 1/2 hours before gametime, and he watches TV (two flatscreens) and checks the weather (three computer screens) and smokes a cigar and entertains visitors. Technically we journalistic types aren’t supposed to step inside — a sign over the door reads, “No Media Beyond This Point” — but we sometimes commit egregious acts of trespassing. (Indeed, the award-winning Bobby Cox radio show is usually recorded herein.)
Cox’s pregame sessions with us print media types are often held in or around his electronically appointed cubbyhole, with Cox sitting by his little cigar table (pictured above) and reporters standing in the doorway or lined up in the hall to ask questions. (It’s kind of an awkward thing, but nobody complains.)
“We’ve got everything in here,” Cox says of his hideaway. “We’ve got popcorn, a refrigerator, TVs, the weather.” Then, looking up. “We’ve got a defibrillator.” (Indeed, there’s one mounted on the wall.) And there’s even a bathroom next door.
No, Cox doesn’t hang out in his Fortress of semi-Solitude during games. (Unless he gets ejected, which as we know can happen.) This is for pregame use only. And he uses it most every night. Sure enough, when Cox was summoned to the fateful meeting with Tom Glavine last Wednesday, he was hunkered in the bunker, smoking a cigar.
(Note: If this post seems familiar to a few of you, there’s a reason. It was set to appear at 11 a.m. on June 11, and it showed up at 11 a.m. on June 10. I apologize for any baiting and switching that might have befallen you in the 10 minutes it took to unpublish it yesterday.)