Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones' 10 Biggest Stops on 2nd-Half Farewell Tour
Jones, who announced he will retire at the end of the season, has been having a very strong season and has really helped to put the Braves right in the middle of the race for a playoff spot.
This article will take a look at the 10 biggest stops remaining in Chipper's farewell tour.
10. Home vs. Dodgers, August 17-19
With the Atlanta Braves in the middle of a pennant race, every game against a contender will be important. This series will be important, as it will give the Braves a good opportunity to help distance themselves from the new-look Dodgers.
As of right now, the Braves have a four-and-a-half game lead over the Dodgers for a wild card spot, though the Dodgers have made some significant trades to help them down the stretch by acquiring Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino from NL East teams.
Chipper Jones will get a chance to help the Braves put themselves into better position in the playoff race, and with his history of clutch hits, this series could have some memorable moments.
9. Home vs. Marlins, September 25-27
While the Marlins aren't going to be contenders, this series will mark the start of Chipper Jones' final homestand with the Braves. Following this three-game series, Chipper will only have three more home games remaining during the regular season, which will come against the Mets.
This series may not be as big of a stop of the farewell tour as the September series in Miami, since that series is in Chipper's home state, but the fact that this is part of the last homestand should mean a packed stadium.
8. Washington, August 20-22
With the Braves fighting with the Washington Nationals for the NL East title, each time the two teams meet will be extremely important. That means when the Braves travel to Washington from August 20-22, it will be among the most important series' remaining on the Braves' schedule.
Chipper Jones will get a chance to put the Braves in first place in this series. When you consider that fact, plus his ability to come through in the clutch throughout his career, it really makes this one stop to watch.
7. Miami, September 17-19
The 163 RBI Chipper Jones has in his career against the Miami Marlins are the most he has against any team in baseball. He's also hit .298 with 40 home runs against the team, as they are yet another division opponent that Chipper has crushed throughout his career.
That isn't the only storyline here, as Chipper Jones was born in Deland, Florida. That means this will be the final time Chipper will get to play in his home state unless the Braves are able to run into the Rays in the World Series.
6.Philadelphia, September 21-23
Although the Phillies have given up on this season by trading Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, they have still been the Braves' biggest rival in the past nine seasons.
In each of the past five seasons, the Phillies have won the NL East, while the Braves finished second two times and third another; plus, the Phillies finished just behind the Braves in each of their final two NL East title seasons.
It was also the Phillies who knocked the Braves out of the playoffs at the end of last season. So it shouldn't be any surprise if Chipper Jones and the rest of the Braves come into this series locked in and looking for revenge.
This series will also be the last time that Chipper plays the Phillies, so he'd love to have one final chance to take out some of his frustration from the past few seasons.
5. New York(Mets), September 7-9
Throughout his career, Chipper Jones has killed New York Mets pitching. His September heroics in New York in 1999 were a big part of the reason he won the National League MVP Award that year and also a big part of why the Braves won the NL East that year. It wasn't long after that where he named his son Shea, after the former Mets stadium where he had such great success.
Chipper has done more against the Mets than what he did in 1999, though. In his career, he has hit .316/.411/.557 against the Mets, and his 49 home runs against them are the most he has hit against any one team.
His final series in the Big Apple will certainly be one to watch.
4. Home vs. Nationals, September 14-16
With the Marlins and Phillies selling at the deadline and the Mets fading a bit recently, the NL East now looks like a two-team race between the Braves and the Nationals. With the two teams separated by just two-and-a-half games right now, every game these two teams play against each other will be extremely important for each club.
The final time these teams are set to play will be in Atlanta from September 14-16. The next-to-last homestand for Chipper Jones could go a long way to not only deciding if the Braves make the playoffs or not, but also deciding if they win the division or one of the wild card spots.
With the new playoff rules, one of the two wild card teams in each league will be sent home after just one playoff game, making the division title even more important than ever.
3. The 2012 Playoffs
While the Braves do not have a playoff spot locked up, the team is in a very good position to at least earn a wild card spot. Seeing Chipper get one more shot at the playoffs, where he hasn't competed since 2005 due to a knee injury in 2010, would be a great way to end his career. Winning a World Series title to close his career would certainly be a magical ending, and the way that Chipper's bat has come alive this year that is a possibility.
The fact that the Braves aren't guaranteed to go to the playoffs is the only reason that they aren't the must-see stop on Chipper's farewell tour. However, if the Braves do get in, Chipper will get an opportunity to write a special ending to his great career.
2. Pittsburgh, October 1-3
If the Braves do not make the playoffs, the final game in Chipper's career will occur in Pittsburgh, as the Braves are scheduled to play a three-game series in the Steel City from October 1-3. This series could actually have much more meaning than just Chipper's final regular season games, though.
The Pirates have come alive this year, and if the season ended today, they would be set to play each other in the playoffs as the two wild-card winners from the National League. The club also went out and made some moves at the deadline to improve their team, as their front office believes this could be the first time the Pirates reach the playoffs since the days of Barry Bonds.
Come October, this series could have so much at stake for both of these teams, as each could be fighting for a playoff spot or a division title. Chipper could potentially get a shot to come up big in the clutch to help the Braves make the playoffs on the final day of the season.
1.Home vs. Mets, September 28-30
The Braves will be playing their final home series of the season against the Mets from September 28-30. If they don't make the playoffs, this could be the final time that Chipper Jones wears a Braves uniform in Atlanta. At the very least, it will be his final regular season home game and will likely have a lot of attention surrounding it.
The key here is that this series is against the Mets, a team that Chipper has historically come up big against with the playoffs on the line. This year could be more of the same, as the Braves figure to be fighting for a playoff spot for most of the remainder of the season.
What more could a Braves fan ask for than to see Chipper put the team on his back and beat the Mets to win an NL East title, just like he did in 1999?
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