Behind The Curtain: In the Batcave with Bobby Cox

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.)

33 comments Add your comment

Booger

June 10th, 2009
11:12 am

What’s that stuck under the desk?

The_Superhoo (Montana by way of Virginia)

June 10th, 2009
11:12 am

interesting. thanks Mark!

Booger

June 10th, 2009
11:13 am

I would not want to use that telephone.

MatthewH

June 10th, 2009
11:14 am

6:58 AM, 10:19 AM and now 10:58 AM. See, you’re just trying to make us look bad. To paraphrase the Army-you do more before 11 AM then most people do in a day.

MatthewH

June 10th, 2009
11:16 am

Minor point-did you leave out the word “hours” after 3 1/2?

Sam Everyman, Citizen Journalist

June 10th, 2009
11:28 am

One thing this team needs . . . a candy bar. “Oh, Henry” might have sufficed in Aaron’s day . . . but it was not Hank’s candy bar – not like Baby Ruth was the Babe’s candy bar. 3 Musketeers might have taken on life when Maddox, Smoltz, and Glavine were playing here. Butterfingers would have been nice with a couple shortstops that passed through here. Chunky may have worked when Forster was here, or with Wickman.

I think the team needs an Escobar. That’s right, an Escobar Candy Bar. I will sell this idea for a share of the profits. Should have frosting on top. Contact Sam Everyman, Citizen Journalist. Doing journalism without the now-fashionable splash of color.

Heavy Medlen

June 11th, 2009
11:14 am

great article! i love this type of insight we don’t usually get. keep it up! next story should be about tim hudson’s kangaroo balls hanging from his locker.

Biscuit

June 11th, 2009
11:15 am

The guy can’t afford an ashtray? No wonder the outfield isn’t hitting.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
11:18 am

And, before you ask, I believe Turner Field is a no-smoking facility. But I think Cox gets the Jack McKeon waiver on cigars.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
11:21 am

I stand corrected. Smoking is allowed in certain areas at Turner Field. Obviously the Batcave is such an area.

Dana

June 11th, 2009
11:22 am

Mark, you had me re-checking my wireless connections yesterday with your “false” posting of today’s article.

dap01

June 11th, 2009
11:24 am

Does he have a right handed hitting outfielder in that office?

David

June 11th, 2009
11:26 am

Fantastic stuff, Mark. Please keep this going.

Also, I love how Bobby looks more interested in Neil Cavuto than doing an interview with The Lemmer.

rhynster

June 11th, 2009
11:36 am

Mark Bradley for President!

Are you up for a raise, Mark?

‘Cause your output is just awesome lately!

Thanks for giving us a reason to keep checking back every couple of hours.

Chris GA

June 11th, 2009
11:41 am

Mark – I love this new feature. I love getting to see the behind the scene stuff. I think a view from the bullpen (including the room they hang out in that Smoltz improved while he was out there) would be cool to see as well. Keep up the good work!

wxwax

June 11th, 2009
11:52 am

He sits in that crappy chair for three hours, then he sits on that crappy wooden bench for another two to three hours?

Man, how does his old back handle it? Hurts me just to think about it.

Snellville Jacket

June 11th, 2009
11:59 am

Mark, I’m reminded of a favorite line from The Wizard of Oz: “Pay no attention to that man Behind the Curtain.” I hope no one applies this to your new feature (which was very enlightening, by the way)!

Peter Frampton

June 11th, 2009
12:02 pm

Great stuff Mark. Keep up the blistering pace. It seems like for the first few years of the on-line edition, you were a little slow to embrace us (the great unwashed) but you and DOB are now the interactive standard!

Consider calling your daily blogfest, “Bradley Comes Alive”

Ted Striker

June 11th, 2009
12:16 pm

And Sanford Stadium is “alcohol free” — unless you’re in one of the suites. (Want to guess who always volunteered to buy for the company suite? One for them, one for me, one for them, two for me).

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
1:10 pm

Thanks, guys. And I should note that Bobby is famous for not looking at interviewers. Ask any TV person in town.

Rodney Derrick

June 11th, 2009
1:13 pm

Does Bobby always go home after the games, even the 15 inning example? Or does he have a bed somewhere at the stadium or nearby so he does not have that late, long drive. Amazing his stamina. At 62, I almost always take a siesta, and I rarely drive at night.

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
1:15 pm

He goes home. Now Jim Leyland, as I recall, lived at the ballpark when he was managing the Rockies.

Gman

June 11th, 2009
1:26 pm

Funny how we’re discussing smoking at the ballpark and Jim Leyland yet the two are not connected.

[...] Today the AJC’s Mark Bradley takes us inside the Turner Field clubhouse, so we can see what Bobby Cox’s semi-secret office looks like. [...]

Sam Everyman, Citizen Journalist

June 11th, 2009
2:03 pm

If there is indeed a bat cave at Turner Field I would suggest putting Francoeur in there for remedial work.

Chopper

June 11th, 2009
2:36 pm

If Bobby is Batman here are his sidekicks/menaces:

Robin: Used to be Brent Lillibridge, but he skipped town. Maybe McLouth is the new Robin.

Catwoman: Jane Fonda

Pinguin: Chino Cadahia

Joker: Roger McDowell (famous for pulling pranks in his playing days)

Riddler: Jeff Bennett (throws good one night, gets crushed the next. Figure that out?)

Twoface: Frank Wren (”We want you, Tommy…Sorry, Tommy we are letting you go.”)

Mr. Freeze: Jeff Francoeur (His bat is ice cold!)

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:04 pm

Good ones, Chopper.

Schuerholz as Commissioner Gordon. But who’s Alfred the Butler? Certainly not Leo Mazzone.

MightyQuinn

June 11th, 2009
3:36 pm

Ted Turner as Alfred? At least he looks a little like him!

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
3:39 pm

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 11th, 2009
4:00 pm

How can you have a Batcave without a Batpole?

Mark Bradley

June 11th, 2009
4:27 pm

You can see the Batphone in the photo.

And why couldn’t the Lemmer be the Boy Wonder?

[...] Cox never has that sort of conversation with the media.” But lo and behold, I walk across to Cox’s Batcave and he brings up Michael Jackson, and then John Schuerholz, who’s sitting there, asks Cox [...]

Terminator

August 27th, 2009
10:35 pm

On the Braves message board, AnDy Jones is in love with Bluetooner. They are so happy together.