Home MLB Cheering Chipper for one final year

Cheering Chipper for one final year

by Matt Smith

We can all be forgiven for taking talk of retirement with a pinch of salt, but in Chipper Jones’ case it looks like he’s made his mind up.  2012 will be his final season.

It’s unlikely that Jones will change his mind because he has always been a stubborn character, in a good way. Time and again his body has told him not to take the field and he has simply gritted his teeth and played on until an injury has left him with no choice but to head to the treatment table. Regardless of his own desire and determination, those moments have increased as he has gotten older and at 40 years of age Jones realises that his time is nearly up.

He has avoided a year of rumour and endless questions about his future by making his future plans known before the season begins. By removing the uncertainty he can concentrate on helping his Braves to one last postseason push, while giving fans the chance to appreciate his career as it nears its end. 

Jones will always be a memorable figure from my formative baseball years. Anyone who watched Baseball on Five quickly learned who Chipper Jones was thanks to Jonny Gould’s unbridled championing of his favourite player. 

One of the reasons I quickly fell for the sport was that it gave me an opportunity to throw myself into something different, something a little less obvious, something a little more unique and a lot more special than the standard stuff that the majority of Brits are typically interested in. 

Chipper Jones personified that for me because of his name. It might not have the lyrical quality of a Catfish Hunter or a Blue Moon Odom, but it still stands out. You wouldn’t often get someone called Chipper putting his pads on and walking out to the crease at Lords, never mind everyone referring to him as such without giving it a second thought. At first, it was almost like a name from another world. 

Keep your Davids, Michaels and Pauls, Chipper is coming to bat against the Big Unit trying to hit a tater for the Braves against the D-Backs and to set the Tomahawks chopping at Turner Field. 

The fact that his real name is Larry makes it all the better. Why be Larry when you could be Chipper? It makes perfect sense.

So I for one will be a non-Braves fan cheering on Chipper this season, hoping that he gives us plenty of reasons to refer to his name in a positive way over the final few months of a long and distinguished one-team career.

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