Live from the ballyard: Call Thumb No. 158 and win a T-shirt!

I’d all but abandoned hope. There Bobby Cox was, 32 games remaining as a big-league manager, and he was stuck on 156 ejections. My sweet dream was that the Thumb King would reach 162 before he retires, which would make him the only man who could ever truthfully say, “I wasn’t around for the end a season’s worth of games.”

Forget Cy Young and his 511 wins. Forget Joe D. and 56 straight. I was thinking 162 ejections would be the standard to end standards. I was thinking 162 heave-hos would impel the folks in Cooperstown to waive the waiting period and induct the crusty skipper posthaste..

But I had, as noted, begun to doubt the great man. His once-furious pursuit of history had slowed to a crawl. He was tossed only three times through 129 games, and I’d begun to think our roaring lion had resigned himself to going out with a whimper.

Then he got tossed Sunday, which was nice. But even with No. 157 in the book, my spirits were so low as to be a flickering ember.

Then I walked into the Braves’ clubhouse Monday and saw this written on a whiteboard:

“HP – B. Davidson.”

And hope sprang anew. Bob Davidson, known variously as Balkin’ Bob or Balk-a-day Bob, is famous for his quick trigger, and he, as noted last month by Atlanta writer Thomas Lake in a fine profile of Cox for Sports Illustrated, shares the record for most Cox ejections with six.

And here I’m thinking: Balk-a-day Bob in town for four games … two ejections easy, possibly three … Cox then has 159 with 28 pressurized games remaining. In sum, I’m thinking:

There’s still a shot.

And with that, I’ll open the figurative floor for questions, comments and ejection projections. Let the record show that yours truly has “bottom of the fourth” in tonight’s Thumb Pool. But I’m not, as you might have heard, much good at predicting. So I’m asking you to step right and make your picks. And I thank you, as ever, in advance.

Oh, and by popular demand: We’ve made this a contest. Call the correct half-inning — we’ll cut off entries after the third, but you can predict a early ejection now — and WIN A T-SHIRT! (Of some sort.)

936 comments Add your comment

Kane337

August 30th, 2010
6:11 pm

Kane337

August 30th, 2010
6:11 pm

Bravo

August 30th, 2010
6:11 pm

Bravo

August 30th, 2010
6:12 pm

so close…… dagnabbit!

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:13 pm

Unbelievably tight race for the kudos. Congrats to Kane337. And a hearty, “Nice try” to Bravo.

CECIL UPSHAW

August 30th, 2010
6:18 pm

BRILLIANT, MARK SIMPLY, BRILLIANT!!! LET’S HOPE THIS HAPPEN’S ONLY B/C BOBBY STAND’S UP FOR HIS PLAYER’S!!!!

Mathman

August 30th, 2010
6:20 pm

Braves seem to do just as well when Bobby gets ejected, so go for it, Balking Bob. JJ ought to be good for a balk.

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:20 pm

Thanks, Cecil. And I’d encourage everyone to click on the link to Mr. Lake’s story in Sports Illustrated. It’s well worth the time.

JacketFan

August 30th, 2010
6:22 pm

I’ve been hoping for the thing all season. C’mon Bobby! How about the 162nd ejection happening in game 6 of the NLCS against the Phils and we win the game! Brilliant!

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:24 pm

Ah, the ole balker is behind the plate, huh. interesting as i recall inquiring from you as to his status.

surely baseball keeps records on how many players, coaches and managers an ump has tossed in his career. i would bet bob (davidson) has as many as any active ump right now.

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:25 pm

I can’t imagine anyone ahead of Bobby D, Todd G

LADawg

August 30th, 2010
6:27 pm

If the teams didn’t show up, would anyone pay to watch the umpires? The bunch of Bozos’ in the majors now seem to believe that without them there wouldn’t be a game. Whatever happened to Eric Gregg? He would occassionally get caught out of position because of his extreme heft but he was very entertaining…between innings with the San Diego Chicken.

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:27 pm

suppose bobby hits 162 on september 30. he could begin his hall of fame speech with “september 30, 2010; a date which will live in infamy”. with apologies to fdr.

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:27 pm

Mark- Any truth to the rumor that Andrew Miller borrowed Bill Hahn’s ’stache?

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:28 pm

Eric Gregg died a few years ago, LADawg.

Enrico Palazzo

August 30th, 2010
6:28 pm

Mark…who is singing the national anthem tonight?

Chip Shot

August 30th, 2010
6:28 pm

Free Freddie…..NOW!

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:28 pm

unless paul runge is still active. i remember him tossing dave bristol at a game in atlanta over 30 years ago.

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:29 pm

Eric Gregg passed away. it wasn’t entertaining for the SD Chicken. He was running for his life when Eric Gregg tucked that napkin underneath his collar.

Chip Shot

August 30th, 2010
6:29 pm

Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie Free Freddie

stachemoney22

August 30th, 2010
6:29 pm

just read that we called up KK. Why not call-up McLout and trade for frenchy while we are at it…

Mark, if you have to put together an all time 4 man crew for Bobby would it be Bob Davidson, Bill Hohn, Angel Hernandez, and Bruce Dreckman?

Eric

August 30th, 2010
6:29 pm

I think Bobby gets tossed in two games against the Mets, both on balks, one by Hudson, one by Hanson. Bobby protects his players, especially vets, if Hudson gets called I think we all know what will happen next. Both guys are pretty quick on the move for righties. I am also holding out hope for 162, just seems fitting for him.

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:30 pm

Chip Shot- Give it 2 days.

The Sopranos

August 30th, 2010
6:30 pm

We, uh, had to “take care” of Eric Gregg. Know whad I mean?

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:30 pm

the story on mr gregg is his coffin was exaclty the same length as his strike zone was wide.

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:31 pm

TG- Gregg’s excuse was that everybody knew he liked a large plate

Chip Shot

August 30th, 2010
6:31 pm

Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW! Free Freddie NOW!

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:32 pm

TS, not many targets around as big as EG

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:32 pm

Harry Wendelstedt might be in there, too, stachmoney22. I remember a few rows between the skipper and him.

Jeremiah

August 30th, 2010
6:32 pm

Good Luck! Go Braves!

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

MB- if you were interviewing Bob Davidson and you went to your mouth before turning a page, would he end the interview?

Jo-Bu

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

Balk-a-Day Bob. this is the same Bob Davidson that could not rise to the level of character and integrity of a one Jim Joyce. We all remember the class act that Jim Joyce conducted himself with when he “kicked it” [the call that denied Armando Galarraga's perfect game]. No such luck class from Davidson when he missed (was not even watching) that fair ball that would have been a walk-off single or event a double for in the Marlins vs. Phillies game that would have put the Braves up another full game.

Wonder what Balkin’ Bob will cost us tonight.

LADawg

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

Sorry to hear about Eric. He seemed to take his job seriously but not himself. My idea of a good ump!

Bud Wiser

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

It is a shame when the umpires seem to have an ever increasing habit of injecting themselves as a part of the game, as opposed to their prescribed duties.

Wasn’t it Big Headed Blowhard, I mean, Bob Davidson that blew the call a couple weeks ago in that Phillies game with the astoundingly incorrect fair/foul call that kept them in the game, and eventually winning it?

Freud

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

What “Chip Shot” lacks in intellect he more than makes up in enthusiasm. Seems he has a “fascination” with Freddie Freeman.

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

i like that jesse. eric was once quoted as saying he was living proof one could have his cake and eat it too.

Enrico Palazzo

August 30th, 2010
6:34 pm

Mark,
Singing the national anthem tonight is ______________?

jokurone

August 30th, 2010
6:34 pm

eric oflat goes to his mouth a bunch while on the mound = balk

Chip Shot

August 30th, 2010
6:34 pm

If they dont call up Freeman tomorrow……

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:34 pm

i understand gregg was let go by major league baseball because they felt he just had too much on his plate to be a good ump.

Jo-Bu

August 30th, 2010
6:35 pm

We can Free Freddie NOW but only to pinch-hit off of the bench.

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:35 pm

I believe that’s correct, Bud Wiser. Ball down the line that would have won the game for Florida.

Livan Hernandez

August 30th, 2010
6:35 pm

What’s wrong with Eric Gregg? I LOVED that guy!

Chip Shot

August 30th, 2010
6:35 pm

@Freud

yes i do, go to the braves site and to their message boards and my screen name is FreeFreddie. so yea.

Jesse Stone

August 30th, 2010
6:36 pm

Livan- Looks like you are going for the “Eric Gregg look” these days.

Bud Wiser

August 30th, 2010
6:36 pm

And do not forget Country Joe West on the All Anti Bobby Umpiring Crew, as well as Gary Whatshisname…

Sonny Clusters

August 30th, 2010
6:36 pm

We was noticing a lot of thumb talk on this blog; are we talking opposable thumbs or are we talking deer thumbs? We was blogging away on the old blog and did not realize this new one was up and we didn’t get to say first so you can see that even a Clusters will occasionally swing and miss . . . but watch out for that next pitch because we was planning to hit it hard.

Mark Bradley

August 30th, 2010
6:36 pm

Jesse Stone, I try not to make any sudden moves during interviews. Or let anyone see my notepad. Digger Phelps once looked at what I’d written therein and asked, “How do you read that?”

todd grantham

August 30th, 2010
6:37 pm

John McSherry might have been the only ump to be in gregg’s weight class. Not at school, however.

Bud Wiser

August 30th, 2010
6:37 pm

Yes it was Mark, and to this day, video in hand, he still insists his call wascorrect.

Maybe he can join OJ looking for his wife’s murderer…