Chipper Jones stays firm on retirement plan.
When Braves 3B Chipper Jones walks off the field after his last home game, it will be the most iconic moment in the history of southern sports since fellow Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron broke the home-run record
He will tip his cap, he will wave, he will cry and most likely he will be embraced by his kids on the field. One thing that we won’t do is look back after his exit.
The 40-year-old is playing well. When I say well, he is playing really, really well.
The 19–season vet is the team’s stat leader in several categories including batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.394) and slugging percentage (.513).
So is there any chance that he’s playing well enough to make him return next year to make it an even twenty?
He told the Atlanta Journal Constitution “I’m ready to move on,” in a series of comments that feel very, very firm.
The first thing that he addressed was why he could feel this way in the face of his strong play.
“I thought I was fully capable of doing what I’m doing,” he said. “In fact, I told my agent [B.B. Abbott] in spring training. He told me, ‘You can’t back-track on this [retirement decision]. If you’ve got 20 homers and you’re hitting .300 and you’ve got 80 or 90 RBIs, you can’t second-guess yourself.’ And I said, well, I’m going to have those numbers, and I’m ready to leave.”
Of course the Braves faithful and baseball fans overall, want to see him do it for as long as he can handle it at this level.
“Yeah, it’s nice to have people saying that,” he said. “It’s nice that people aren’t saying, ‘You should have done it two or three years ago.’ The fact that people are saying I should stay, that I could still be effective, that’s kind of what I was shooting for.”
And for those that don’t like what he has to say? For those that don’t like that he’s taking this year as a victory lap? For those that think that he should have waited until the off-season to say ‘it’s over?’
“Well, no matter what you do you’re not going to make everybody happy,” he said. “I’ve got two wives that will attest to that, you know? But it doesn’t matter what game you play or how you play it, you’re not going to please everybody. So you take the good with the bad and just try to go about your business and not worry about the naysayers.
“You play for the people who support you, and for your family and your teammates. And everybody else…” [dismissive wave of his hand].
It’s just like that folks. Regardless of how well the Braves or don’t play, regardless of how easy it would be to get to that magic number of 20, Chipper is leaving the building.