Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Holding Court

Padres manager Buddy Black before the game in the dugout

One of the great traditions in baseball is that before every game the manager sets aside some time to talk to the media. It usually takes place in the dugout, no matter if you're at home or on the road, and it serves as a time for the writers and broadcasters to ask whatever they want of the manager. This happens for every single game! Can you imagine an NFL head coach posting up on the bench a few hours before kick off on a Sunday? It would never happen.

That's one of the beauties of's so much more accessible then some of the other sports. The best part is that these impromptu press conferences usually consist of some pretty amazing baseball stories. The kind of things you imagine Hall of Famers talking about behind closed doors over some beers and a card game.

Just like those stories would be, most of what you hear in the dugout is "off the record", but occasionally you hear one you can share. Today was one of those days.

Someone asked Buddy today about Bobby Cox...that's the Atlanta Braves manager for those that don't know. So Buddy regaled us with one of his memories of the legendary manager.

It was 1991, Buddy was pitching for the SF Giants at Candlestick, and he was facing Braves pitcher Steve Avery. Buddy made a mistake and Avery smoked it over the chain link fence in center. It just scrapped over the fence, landed on the cement beyond the wall and then took a big bounce. The second base umpire however ruled it a ground rule double because he thought it bounced over the wall. Bobby Cox came running out of the dugout and all the way into right center field where the umpire was, arguing the whole time that it was a HR. The argument of course, was to no avail and as Cox was walking back to the 3rd base dugout he passed Buddy on the mound and asked him what he thought. Buddy looked him right in the eyes and said, "I thought it was a homerun." Cox's response, "G*@ Dammit I knew it!!!"

That;s why I love's a story tellers game.

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