ATLANTA -- Over the course of the past few weeks, there have been a number of close calls that have gone undisputed by Braves manager Bobby Cox. It was obvious that he didn't want to risk grabbing the piece of history that became his during the ninth inning of Saturday afternoon's 2-1 loss to the Tigers at Turner Field.
Providing protection for Brian McCann after he'd just been tossed for arguing a called third strike, Cox hurried on the field and, moments later, got the thumb from home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild. It was the 131st ejection of Cox's career, moving him into a tie for the Major League record with Hall of Fame manager John McGraw.
McGraw received 14 of his ejections during his playing career. All of Cox's ejections have come while he's been a manager.
"You kind of got the sense that it had been building," Chipper Jones said. "I think they scored the first run of the second inning, and replays showed that guy was out. That's what happens when you're struggling. It just mounts the frustration."
After seeing his team lose for the eighth time in 11 games, Cox wasn't in the mood to talk about a record that he's termed embarrassing. But those who have seen him throughout his storied managerial career knew this ejection was just another sign that he'll do whatever it takes to protect his players.
"I didn't see the pitch, but I knew once he threw out [McCann], there was a chance that Bobby might go," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "But I don't pay much attention to that stuff. This guy's been doing this better than anybody for a long time. That means you've managed a long time."
Cox is much more proud of the fact that he ranks fourth on the all-time managerial wins list. Like in this instance with Fairchild, he doesn't usually entertain a lot of theatrics that earn these ejections. Just somewhere in the attempt to project, he's often been able to utter the magic word.
"After the missed call at home, and then B-Mac kind of exploding there in the ninth, it's going to come to a head eventually and Bobby can only take so much," Jones said.
Fairchild, who had ruled Carlos Guillen slid under McCann's tag in the second inning, wasn't ripped by Cox during his postgame session. But then again, that was to be expected from the veteran manager, who is highly respected by many of the umpires who have accounted for his ejections.
After Fairchild gave him a less-than-demonstrative ejection signal, Cox had a few more words, and then walked peacefully back toward the dugout.
Although it's seemingly inevitable that Cox will own the record by himself by the time this season comes to an end, the Braves aren't exactly looking forward to the historical moment.
"We don't pay attention to it," John Smoltz said. "There's more talk about it than there should be. There hasn't been one time that Bobby has gone out there trying to get thrown out. He goes out to discuss if the ruling of the play was warranted."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.