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.)