ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox knows that he might need to have knee replacement surgery in the near future. But the fiery Braves manager obviously isn't allowing any of his discomfort to keep him from proving that he still has the ability to excite a crowd and protect his players with undeniable passion.
While increasing his Major League-record ejections total to 141 during the third inning of Sunday's 15-6 loss to the Nationals at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon, Cox didn't look like a 67-year-old man with bad wheels. In fact, as he yelled constant displeasures in the direction of home-plate umpire Chris Guccione, he displayed some of that same liveliness that was present during his younger days.
"It's exciting to be there and see somebody with so much passion for the game of baseball and the Atlanta Braves," said Braves catcher Corky Miller, who had a front-row seat for Sunday's exhibition. "He backs his players as much as anybody, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve."
Cox burst out of the dugout when Guccione came around the plate and started waving his finger in the direction of Braves pitcher Buddy Carlyle, who had turned away from the plate after walking Willie Harris with the bases loaded.
After his 2-1 fastball to Harris was called a ball, Carlyle stayed frozen momentarily before receiving the ball back from Miller. Then after his 3-1 inside fastball at the knees was ruled low, the Braves right-handed reliever fell toward the left side of the mound, raised the left part of his jersey to his mouth and muttered something that Guccione believed was directed at him.
"I wasn't yelling anything at him," Carlyle said. "Obviously, I knew I couldn't get in an altercation with him in the third inning as a reliever."
While Carlyle wasn't looking and as Guccione continued to wave his finger in his direction, Cox certainly noticed, and this prompted him to come on the field and draw some more finger-waving before getting ejected.
Cox began yelling at Guccione in front of the plate and then continued to voice his displeasure as they walked up the first-base line.
After Cox returned to the dugout, he continued to voice his displeasure toward crew chief Tim Welke, who was at first base. This prompted Guccione to break away from the plate again and signal for Cox to leave the dugout.
"The strike zone was a little tight," said Cox. "But we made too many bad pitches."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.