While you’re watching Friday’s NL Wild Card playoff between Atlanta and St. Louis, take some time to reflect and enjoy it while you can. It will seem quite odd to watch a Braves game next year. A constant will be gone. The last man from Atlanta’s historic run of division championships will retire. Every time one of them left it was painful—first Maddux, then Smoltz, then Bobby Cox and now Chipper Jones.
This article isn’t about the stats of Chipper Jones. It is about acknowledging his constant presence on the Braves as a player, a winner, and most importantly, a leader. There were ups and downs in his career like any player, but he was always loyal and played his heart out.
Here’s a list of players that came and went through the Braves organization: Pendleton, Justice, Glavine, Galarraga, Jordan, Furcal, Sheffield, Teixeira and even another Jones. From McGriff to Mondesi, from Sanders to Surhoff, from Fick to Freeman.
That’s a long line of hitters, encompassing many years of Atlanta baseball. They had one thing in common besides the team they played for, the hit alongside Chipper Jones.
His departure is a piece of the Braves we can never have back. It’s almost like a portion of your life has gone away, and you only have the memories to reflect on.
I’ve been a Braves fan since 1996, and I am one of many fans who has never seen an Atlanta team without No. 10 on the roster. My life has changed so much since then, with experiences far and wide, but one thing I knew would always be there. One team, led by one player. Now that player, Mr. Jones, is departing.
There aren’t many sports moments that would make a grown man say: “I'm not going to lie, I teared up watching the [baseball] games this weekend.” Such sentiment is something to remember and appreciate, to take along with the wins and losses.
Since we don't know how much of his career is left—anywhere from one game to a month of games—I’ll make sure to say this before it actually ends: Thanks Chipper, from all Braves fans around the country.