Atlanta Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones announced that the 2012 season would be his last, but when Jones made the announcement, did he know how successful he would be? Chipper Jones is hitting .313 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs in 78 games this season. I don’t think even Chipper thought he would finish this strong, but after following Thursday night’s two home run performance with a homer on Friday, I really began having “Brett Favre syndrome”. Although the situation wasn’t exactly the same, they’re some similar qualities. It is tough for an athlete to leave on top of his or her game. There is always a little voice in the back of that athlete’s mind that keeps the player itching for more. Favre was largely criticized for leaving and returning which frankly was well deserved. Favre put the Green Bay Packers in a tough spot, preventing the Packers from moving on and rebuilding. How were the Packers going to be against the comeback when the fans endorsed Favre’s decision? How were the Packers going to turn down the legend? After a couple of Favre’s infamous announcements, they finally did.
Many people are having doubts about Chipper’s retirement, but is Chipper? Is there any possibility of Chipper returning? Even after accepting special gifts from the different teams, is it possible? I know Chipper is claiming he is done after this year no matter the outcome, but isn’t everyone wondering how a playoff appearance would affect him? Or how anything less than a World Series would affect him? Aren’t people wondering if Chipper will get that itch to play just one more year?
I think the Braves would love to see Chipper return next season. I know Chipper doesn’t play every day like he used to, but the Braves are utilizing him perfectly this year, and I don’t see a reason why they couldn’t do the same next year. The terrific play of Juan Francisco helps makes the argument for Chipper’s return. Francisco’s .261 average, 8 home runs, and 28 RBIs in sporadic play makes it easy for the Braves to allow Chipper the rest he would need. A retirement from fan favorite Jones, would hurt Atlanta’s attendance in 2013, but would allow them to move on and rebuild. Jones has been a part of the organization since 1990, when he was drafted first overall. I think leaving the Braves to be a designated hitter in the American League is out of the picture. Chipper, so far is one of few to stick with one team throughout his career, and it will stay that way.
It is very possible that next year Chipper Jones will get that itch to swing a bat, strap on his cleats, and run out on to the field, but I don’t see it happening. Chipper has stated many times, he wants to spend time with his family. Chipper wants to be present for his kids little league games. Chipper Jones has had a long illustrious career, full of success and stardom. It will be hard watching a Braves game without witnessing number 10 taking his third base position, but it would only be appropriate for Chipper to walk out on top.
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