Chipper Jones Is Going To Retire, Just Not Yet


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↵News broke on Tuesday that Chipper Jones was going to announce his retirement, telling those inside the Braves organization he was leaning that way. Jones postponed any formal announcement with the promise that word will come "at some point" during the Braves current homestand. A lifetime .306 hitter, Jones is struggling at the dish this season, batting just .228 with three home runs and 22 RBI in 51 games. FOX 5 Atlanta grabbed an exclusive interview:
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↵ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵⇥ ↵ ↵
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↵⇥"Anytime you struggle at the plate or are having trouble producing, it's frustrating. I'm used to, you know, being in the middle of everything, but it hasn't been happening. Hopefully I'll have a better second half…" ↵
↵The FOX 5 clip cut out at that point, but it clearly indicates – as does their graphic – Jones is hedging on retiring at the end of the year, but that he's "not retired yet." ↵

↵I'll be honest, when I heard the news that Jones was retiring I, too, thought it would be a Ken Griffey Jr. situation and that Jones would hang them up effective immediately. But struggling as he is and injured as he's always been, Jones is a pretty fierce competitor and a darn good hitter. Unlike the Mariners and Griffey, Jones and the Braves are right in the heat of a pennant race, so it's unlikely Jones would want to miss out on another shot at the playoffs, even if it means spending most of the season on the bench. ↵

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↵Jones announed Thursday he would put off retirement until season's end. He will ride off into the sunset with Bobby Cox, ushering in a new era in Braves baseball on the back of Jason Heyward. The Circle of Life, it seems. ↵

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↵In a great nugget of reporting, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Carroll Rogers caught up with Jones' parents, who were in town for Chipper's son Trey's 10th birthday. ↵

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↵⇥“He’s down in the dumps about things right now,” Larry Wayne Jones Sr. said. “He talked to me about (retirement) about three or four months ago and I said, ‘Don’t make a decision based on how you feel right now. Give it a chance.’ And I’ve run out of ‘give it a chance.’ He’s a grown man. He’s 38 years old now." ↵
↵While Chipper's father was more matter of fact, his mom admitted that it's an emotional situation: ↵
↵⇥Lynne Jones added: “He certainly earned the right to do whatever he wants with the rest of his life. We’re going to shed a tear regardless.” ↵
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↵Since playing 153 games in 2003, Jones hasn't been on the field for more than 137 games in any year since. After starting his career with nine-straight seasons of more than 600 plate appearances, Jones has just one season since where he's reached that mark. Yet with all his recent injuries, he has still been productive at the plate. Ironically, some of his best seasons have come after the Braves lost the stranglehold on the NL East. In 2007, Jones hit .337 with 102 RBI and a career-best OPS of 1.029. In 2008, in just 128 games, he hit .364 with a .470 on-base percentage – both career highs. But last season he struggled at the plate, hitting just .264 with an on-base percentage under .400 for just the second time since 1998. ↵

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↵Overall, Jones has numbers we all love…right on the borderline. Let the Hall of Fame debate officially begin. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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