At age 40, this is the final season in the majors for Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. Unless of course, it isn’t. It has been quite a ride for Jones. He has been able to stay relatively healthy this season and the unquestioned leader of the Braves is batting .292 with 14 home runs and has helped the Braves clinch a playoff spot already. The talk in the National League all season long has been about the Washington Nationals but Chipper Jones and the Braves refuse to go down without a fight.
Chipper Jones joined WCNN in Atlanta with Buck and Kincade to talk about clinching a playoff spot, on the excitement of a come-from-behind win to clinch, on the veterans getting to play in the playoffs for the first time, what he expects to see from the team to finish out the regular season, whether he thinks there is a favorite in the National League and him being fresh to finish the season.
On clinching a playoff spot:
“We had a blast last night. I’ve been asked so many times have we ever had a clincher like last night? I’d be hard pressed to to find a more dramatic ending to a clinching game. And to be right there in the middle of it was a lot of fun.”
On the excitement of a come-from-behind win to clinch a playoff spot:
“I think that’s why you saw the elation of clinching and maybe a little over the top is because of the way we won the ball game. Being down a run and then leading off the inning with a double and having Freddie (Freeman) go lefty on lefty to dead center to end the game, it’s a highlight he will never forget his entire life.”
How exciting it is to get see some of his veteran teammates get to play in the postseason for the first time:
“It’s good for them. So many conversations over the last couple of years with Uggs (Dan Uggla) have centered around the fact that he hasn’t had a chance to play in the postseason. Now those guys get that opportunity and really happy with them to give him that experience.”
What he expects to see from the Braves to finish the season:
“I think you’re going to see guys going at it hard and we either catch the Nats or they close us out. Certainly don’t want to have to play one cutthroat game seven in order to advance but we can certainly go out and put some pressure on them next week if we do our jobs and win ball games.”
Whether he thinks there is a favorite in the National League:
“I think the Nationals have established themselves as the front runner and they have the best record in the National League. Cincinnati has played awfully well and I think not having (Stephen) Strasburg, Washington kind of came back to the pack somewhat. They still have a very good ball club, don’t get me wrong, so we have our work cut out for us regardless of who we might play in the first round.”
On the way the team has been playing lately and the confidence the team has:
“Everybody knows that we’re capable of beating anybody on a nightly basis with any pitcher in our rotation. It doesn’t matter the pitching matchup just go out there and give us a couple of opportunities to see the opposing pitcher, we’re going to give him some run support and they know it’s a sprint to seven innings because if we get to the eighth and ninth with the lead then we turn it over to (Eric) O’Flaherty and (Craig) Kimbrel and it’s pretty much game over.”
On looking as fresh as a daisy:
“I would say the daisy is wilting but you have to put on the good face every day when you’re in here because it’s all hands on deck right now and I know a lot of people are looking at me for leadership and how would it look if I didnt go out and bust my can every night when we’re coming down the stretch? I’m going to be out there and hopefully the guys follow my lead and we can get some wins.”