Surely, it is an achievement to be marvelled. The ability to incite the infallible, reasoned men who act as baseball's on-field arbiters is nothing short of art. To do it over 120 times is something few can hope to accomplish in their lifetimes.
Sadly, though, some feel Cox's pursuit of McGraw's ghost is tainted by the modern game. Witness, if you will, the thoughts of one of my fellow Braves fans...relayed via e-mail this afternoon:
It's just not the same as in the old days. I mean, nowadays there's all that watered down umping going on. Plus, with all the vitamins and extra fiber that old people are getting...I saw a picture of Bobby from his rookie year, and he looks nothing like it. I mean he didn't fill out that Yankees uniform at all, but he looks huge in the Braves one. Can we say juicing?
I really want to disagree, I want to scream that I am not looking at the world through Braves colored glasses. The damning evidence, though, is plain when presented in photographs:
Bobby Cox with the Yankees, circa 1967
Here, we see the young, spry Cox as he starts off his Major League journey. Free of Ejections, and yet unknowingly poised to make his mark on the record books.
Now, we take a look at the man who is primed to be tossed more times than Tom Cruise in Key West:
Bobby Cox Today
As for me, I'm taking Bobby's side. We've become so cynical as baseball fans, that we refuse to believe that a manager can get the gate solely on dogged determination, and a single-minded focus on his craft. After all, this is a man Ozzie Guillen lists as a major influence in his managerial career.
He has never tested positive for these alleged "performance enhancers", and has there is nothing tangible to prove he would test otherwise. For now I say, don't let the naysayers get you down, Bobby - go get your record! This fan just hopes he's able to break it at home.