During the game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, Chipper Jones made an appearance on the broadcast. It’s not unusual to have guests in the Braves broadcast booth, and what better time to have Jones in the booth than against the Mets?
The former Braves third baseman isn’t exactly the most eloquent man on TV, but that actually allowed him to fit in perfectly with Chip Caray and Joe Simpson. Jones was only on the broadcast for one half of an inning but surprisingly, I was left wanting more.
The post-playing career for Chipper hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly. He started a forest fire outside his house in Roswell, got into some interesting discussions on Twitter, and caused some waves within the Braves’ clubhouse when he (correctly) predicted they would lose to the Dodgers in four games in last year’s NLDS. He’s nothing if not honest, but it may be better if some of that honesty is kept out of the public eye.
Apparently, any issues he had with the Braves’ clubhouse have since passed, since they introduced Chipper with a clip of him on the field giving some tips to B.J. Upton. They then cut to the broadcast booth, where Caray had to instruct Jones on where to look into the camera. Chipper then got rolling by asking about the exercise balls that Caray and Simpson were sitting on because … well, who knows why they were sitting on exercise balls.
Eventually, they got to talking about Upton’s swing, and Chipper started breaking it down. Unlike baseball outsiders like you or me or Chip Caray, who just see that Upton was late on (another) fastball and think it was because of his toe tap or something else that doesn’t really matter, Jones actually got down to the core of it.
On replays, Chipper highlighted a late hitch in his swing that delays the start of his hands moving to the ball, thus ending up with him getting the bat through the zone late. After about 20 seconds of insightful commentary of Upton’s struggles, Chipper demurs and admits that this must sound like “Chinese arithmetic” to some of the viewers.
I’m not sure if Chinese arithmetic came before or after calculus in high school, but I’m now upset I missed it because breaking down the baseball swing seems much more interesting than the Leibniz notation.
When Upton took a 2-2 pitch on the outer half of the plate deep to right field, Chipper immediately responded with “There you go” … well, before Curtis Granderson misplayed the ball and Upton ended up at third base. Chipper then broke down Upton’s swing, explaining what he’s looking to help fix and how that will help him catch up to pitches.
He finished up by saying, “Just go out and hit. See the ball, hit the ball … and have malice aforethought whenever you swing the bat.” After dropping “Chinese arithmetic” and “malice aforethought” in a three-minute window, I was sold on Jones in the broadcast booth.
His home run call on Justin Upton‘s mammoth home run, which was just a simple, “Uh oh”, was also kind of awesome. Realistically, Chipper will never be a mainstay in the booth even if he wanted to be, which he probably doesn’t. He referred to Freddie Freeman as “My boy”, would more than likely start talking about hunting too much, and that honesty would probably get the best of him.
But, at least for a few brief moments, there was actual insight on a Braves broadcast — and it was nice.
Walter Bergeson is an Atlanta Braves writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @WalterBSports or add him to your circles on Google+