If you find yourself sitting up in bed in a cold sweat at the terrible thought that there will be no more Chip off the old block manning third base for the Atlanta Braves, don’t worry. Go ahead and pinch yourself because it wasn’t a nightmare, you’re not crazy and you aren’t dreaming. It’s true. Spring Training is upon us and Chipper Jones is still retired.
I understand if you want to get out a quick tear or two. The man is a legend. Many of us grew up adoring his work ethic and uncanny ability to come through in the clutch. It won’t happen anymore. Chipper is retired and he likes it. He probably misses parts of his playing days but the man earned his time off. Let’s leave him be and hold up his career as a shining example to what a baseball player can become if they don’t let the love of money rule their careers.
What about the rest of us? What do we do now? Well, that’s the surprising part actually. Don’t get upset at me for saying this, but Braves fans are going to be just fine. Heck, you might even be better this year. I know that sounds ridiculous but the moves by the Braves front office have put this team into a great position. One thing that Chipper always did well was execute and this team still has to go out and do that. I think they will.
They’ll probably go through a slump somewhere around the latter part of the first half. This is the Braves after all and they almost always do for one reason or another. For the most part, if you are a Braves fan, this season will be more about why people picked the Washington Nationals over your team than what the Braves will do without Chipper. It’s going to be a fun season. You’ll still see Chipper out there in at least one way. The impact he had on Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and the other young men he played ball with will show in their every day play. They’ll make him proud.