Cox ejected in second after close play
Braves manager becomes third skipper tossed this postseason
SAN FRANCISCO -- Bobby Cox isn't retiring with a whimper, and neither are his Braves.The Atlanta manager was ejected in the second inning of Friday's Game 2 of the National League Division Series with the Giants ahead, 3-0, on Pat Burrell's three-run homer in the first inning. It was the 161st ejection of his 29-year career, third in the postseason. Cox argued a call at first base in which Giants shortstop Juan Uribe's throw on Alex Gonzalez's grounder may have pulled Aubrey Huff off the bag.
With Cox removed from the dugout [and bench coach Chino Cadahia acting as the skipper], the Braves came back from a 4-0 deficit to win, 5-4, in 11 innings, tying the best-of-five series at a game apiece. Game 3 is at Turner Field at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday."I thought he was way off the bag -- at least six, eight inches," Cox said. "He calls him safe, [Rick] Ankiel gets a base hit, [Tommy] Hanson bunts him over and [Omar] Infante brings him in -- it's a 3-1 game, maybe. I honestly wasn't going to talk about it if we had gotten beat.
"It's umpires' judgment, and they make great calls. They miss them once in a while. I thought he was off the bag from the dugout."Paul Emmel, the umpire who made the call and tossed Cox, was the same one involved in the questionable call at second base on Thursday night. The freeze-frame photo of that fourth-inning steal showed Buster Posey sliding short of the second-base bag while Brooks Conrad applied the tag waist high. Emmel called Posey safe, and moments later, Posey scored on a single by Cody Ross that hopped below third baseman Infante's glove for the game's only run in the Giants' 1-0 victory. On Friday, Uribe dove to his right to grab the Gonzalez grounder, bounced up and threw to first. Replays were inconclusive whether Huff's foot came off first base as he stretched to grab the throw, although a freeze-frame again showed he might have been slightly off the bag. Gonzalez argued with Emmel, and Cox immediately followed, slamming his Braves cap to the turf in anger. Cox said the Game 1 call was still fresh in his mind when he squabbled on Friday night with Emmel. There was no such altercation on Thursday. "Well, I brought that up," Cox said. "The only run that scored [Thursday] night, he was out. But still, I respect the umpires, and they're human. So am I. And I'm not always right." Cox was the third manager to be ejected in a Game 2 in the past two days. Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire was ejected in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Yankees, and Rays skipper Joe Maddon was tossed in a 6-0 loss to the Rangers. The last time Cox was ejected during the postseason was the decisive sixth game of the 1996 World Series. The Yankees came back from a 2-0 deficit to win the Fall Classic. Cox was also ejected from Game 3 of the 1992 World Series against the Blue Jays, who also won in six games. Win or lose, Cox will retire at the end of the postseason, a run for the Braves that's guaranteed now to last until at least Monday's Game 4 of the current series. "You can never figure out baseball for sure," said the 69-year-old Cox. "But I was telling our guys before the game: 'Win this one and the momentum swings the other way.'"
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.