All season we have watched a 40 year old play like he is a teenager all the while wondering, “is this the last home run,” “is this the last…” Sunday was a definitive last- Larry Wayne Jones played his last regular season home game for the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta has at least four more games, three in Pittsburgh in the regular season, and at least one playoff game.
Oddly enough, during Chipper Jones weekend, it was not Chipper Jones carrying the Braves. For some fans, this was surely disappointing, but honestly, it should be relieving. All season, those of us covering the team have told you it is not a good thing for the best player on your team to be the guy who will not be here next year. Finally, Atlanta does not need Chipper as their spark- at least not this weekend. Martin Prado, Kris Medlen, Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, and Mike Minor were the stories on the field. Atlanta won a record 23 games in which Kris Medlen started on Sunday, Minor’s win on Saturday further highlighted his incredible second half turnaround. Prado, Freeman, and Heyward each stepped up with key RBI to give both pitchers enough run support to get the wins. All of this while Chipper went one for the weekend.
I understand you wanted the Chipper Jones heroics you have become used to over the last 19 years, but your happiness should be in that the Braves can win without him. This was something that I myself was skeptical of at several points during the season. The faces of the Braves as Chipper announced his retirement showed sadness and even doubt. Maybe, just maybe, this was something that this team was not certain of themselves, but now that they are, you may be for a Hall of Fame ending to a first ballot Hall of Fame career.
Photo courtesy of MLB. Click for this and more photos of Chipper Jones weekend.