Yesterday, Chipper Jones got ready to make a big announcement to the media at 6 p.m. Everybody figured he'd just retire but... SWERVE! Turns out he's going to figure it out after the season and wants the focus to be on Bobby Cox's last season.
Still, it seems like Chipper's gone at the end of the year. The players are making fun of him already (or something). As such, I asked Braves fan, regular Walkoff Walk commenter and King of Memes Matt-T to write up a few thoughts on Chipper's retirement. It follows below.
Tuesday's rumors started to swirl that Chipper was meeting with Braves officials to discuss his future and was leaning towards retiring at the end of the season. It's not a huge surprise, as he's said in the past he'll retire when he's no longer contributing. OLE CHIP met with reporters yesterday to address the rumors saying
"Let's face it, we all know sort of which way I'm leaning, but I think it's best that we put this all behind us. Somehow the cork got taken out. Well I'm putting it back in right now. I don't want to hear any more talk about retirement until the end of the season." He later added, "I'm on a first-place ballclub, playing third and hitting third, which is exactly where I like to be. So I'm going to spend the rest of the summer concentrating on that, and trying to send Bobby off in the best way possible."
Those quotes are the typical Chipper, putting the team and his manager first. Sure, it's easy to laugh about the Hooters waitress and the nagging injuries, but I hope that doesn't take away from his stellar career. He's at worst the third best switch hitter in MLB history (behind Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray). Chipper has a career .306 average with 430 homers, 1,468 RBI and a .406 OBP.
But, more than the numbers, Chipper came to represent Atlanta. During the 1990s the team was known for it's pitching, but ever since his full season in 1995 Chipper has been in the lineup no matter who was pitching. Chipper has done everything he could to help the team: Moving to left field for two seasons, even restructuring his deal several times so that the team could sign other help.
I think that Chipper is comfortable with retiring now because the team has finally started winning without him in the lineup. He's praised his backups in the past few days, and with the success of Heyward, it makes it easier for Jones to walk away. He's played all 17 years for Bobby, and in away it would be perfect, the two old farts, riding off into the distance together, one last playoff run.
Jones started his career as a rookie on a playoff team, and maybe he'll end it with a rookie teammate on a playoff team. It would be a nice ending to the career of my favorite player of all time. And then he can retire to his ranch and shoot as many deer as he wants.
(BUY BUCK COMMANDER!)