Posted Under: Johanna's View
Chipper Jones arrived in Atlanta in 1995 and was runner up as Rookie of the Year to Hideo Nomo. If only the writers could have had the foresight to see which would have a bigger impact on a team. Jones quickly earned a lot of hype, and I imagine that in March of 1995 there were plenty of scouts wandering around asking each other if they had seen that kid from the Braves, much like they were doing this spring with Jason Heyward.
The Braves went to the World Series and won it that year, they would go onto the post-season for the next 11 seasons. The power house shifted though north in the NL East, until this year. The Braves sit at the top of the NL East- at least for the moment. But Chipper is no longer that phenom. He is the elder statesman. And he is thinking about hanging it up- according to multiple reports and Bobby Cox in this Carroll Rogers post.
But the Braves have two of their best pitchers, Jair Jurrjens and Takahashi Saito, on the DL. They have their longtime star ceding his #3 spot in the order to Jason Heyward, and the team is in first place in the NL East. The Braves are 7-1 against teams in first place- and they are about to take on the Tampa Rays, which should bode a certain challenge. The Rays are one of four teams in the majors to have a winning record on the road, and two others are also in the AL East. (just a fun fact to throw in!)
I said back in spring that I thought the Braves looked very good- good enough to win the East. This Chipper Jones story adds a little spice mid-season since it could very well be both Chipper’s last go around as well as that of manager Bobby Cox. And if Chipper retires early, and leaves a player like Heyward in place, well, the money he leaves on the table- not the full amount of his next two years but certainly enough for another free agent- begins to set the Braves up for another long run towards the playoffs.
The Braves are for real. There are also a ton of reasons to watch them now. When I went around to ballparks in 2002, Braves fans spoke so passionately of the two Jones’s but also about Dale Murphy. I expect years from now people will speak of the Bobby Cox era and the Chipper Jones era the same way. Sure would be interesting if there was another World Series for the before its done.