Chipper Jones: ‘I Still Want to Play the Game But I Want To Play It At the Level We Are All Accustomed To.’September 16, 2009 – 10:45 am by Jimmy Shapiro
SRI continues to work in new writers. This post is courtesy of Tim Gunter from 790 the Zone in Atlanta. Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves have had another disappointing season and are on the verge of missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. Chipper has had a mediocre season posting .269/.391/.436 line, which is well below his career .308/.407/.542. Is Chipper getting older and his production declining? Sure he is, but I don’t think he should let this affect his decision as his “mediocre” season, by his standards, is well above an average player. Chipper has shown in the past that he can bounce back and have another outstanding year.
As a Braves fan, it has been really hard to watch these last couple of years. After going to the postseason for 14 straight seasons, you could say Braves fans were spoiled and we took the postseason for granted. I couldn’t even tell you what having the Braves in the postseason feels like anymore and neither could Chipper. If Chipper were to retire tomorrow in midseason, I will be thankful for all that he has done for the Braves and the Atlanta community, but Chipper himself doesn’t want to go out like that. He joined 790 the Zone (WQXI) in Atlanta to talk about retirement, whether this season has been the most frustrating of his career, on whether the money has anything to do with this decision, on whether not going to the postseason the last four years has anything to do with the way he feels, and if he would retire in midseason.
Is there a press conference later today?
“No. Not later today maybe this time next year. I just want the reporters to at some point: You know I have got to play at a different level. If I don’t play at a different level then I will have no problem walking away at that time.”
On whether this season is the most frustrating of his career:
“Yeah I mean there is no doubt. I mean the last three months I’ve been…you know I got off to a great start hitting .330-.340 after a month and a half and just threw out the anchor. I have never struggled this bad, this long. There is nothing to blame because I have been relatively healthy all year. I wouldn’t want to do it now because people who I have talked to who are closest to me have told me that the fact you are struggling could be part of that and I don’t want that to be a factor. I don’t want to go home this offseason and prepare for another season next year and give it another year and hopefully I will bounce back and have a season like we are all accustomed to.”
On whether the money has anything to do with this decision:
“No. The money will not keep me in the game. My dad always said once you stop having fun playing the game, you need to walk away. I still have fun playing the game between the lines. The other stuff I can do without. I am still very competitive. I still want to play the game, but I want to play it at the level we are all accustomed to.”
On whether not getting to the postseason the last four years has anything to do with the way he feels:
“Again, it goes back to having fun. If I am not producing at a level that I am accustomed to, if we aren’t in the playoffs…certainly winning ball games and being out in front in the National League East. That’s all fun. The last four years have been frustrating. I will never walk away from a season and be more disappointed than I will at the end of this season.”
On whether he would walk away at the beginning of the season, a la Mike Schmidt:
“No, I will never walk away from being in the middle of the season. You start out at the beginning of the season and you got 24 other guys that are counting on you. For me, I don’t know what the situation was surrounding Mike Schmidt, but for me you make that commitment. Go through spring training to help those other 24 guys and win as many ball games as you can. You got to stick it out.”