Jones hoping to move away from distraction soon
Once again, I have been reminded that Greg Maddux just had that way to at least provide the appearance that he was smarter than the average superstar.
Maddux spent his 11 illustrious seasons in Atlanta and then went elsewhere with the understanding that he would be able to walk away from the game without having to deal with the emotional element that would be present had he played the remainder of his career in Atlanta.
Tony Gwynn was one of the few legendary sports figures who spent their entire career with one organization and managed to retire without the hard feelings created by some sort of contractual controversy.
But far too often legendary figures have found themselves saying goodbye to a beloved organization with the hard feelings that Tom Glavine and John Smoltz felt when they realized their playing careers in Atlanta were complete.
Like Glavine, Ken Griffey Jr. returned to his original organization with the plan to enjoy a memorable goodbye. But before announcing his retirement last month, the beloved Mariner’s reputation was tarnished by a report that he was sleeping in the clubhouse.
Now as he prepares to walk away from his career, Chipper Jones can only hope that he is able to enjoy the kind of fitting October goodbye that Griffey deserved.
But given the fact that the Braves and Jones have to determine how to handle the $28 million that he is owed in 2011 and 2012, it’s hard to imagine that both sides are going to come away from these contractual negotiations feeling they got what they deserved.
While there’s very little reason to believe that Jones will receive every penny that he is owed, he will likely receive a respectable portion with the understanding that he will remained tied to the organization in some manner.
Whether he’s serving as an occasional hitting instructor and/or serving as some kind of ambassador for the organization, Jones will be asked to “earn” this money that the Braves agree to provide.
Jones’ hope that a resolution will be made before the end of this weekend might be a little optimistic. But at the same time, both sides will want to move away from this issue as quickly as possible with the hope that his impending retirement doesn’t remain a distraction throughout the remainder of the season.
After last night’s game Jones talked about how he regretted that his teammates have been forced to deal with the distraction that has been present since somebody leaked that he was meeting with Braves officials on Tuesday to discuss his future.
Jones met with team officials briefly in Minnesota last weekend and set up Tuesday’s more formal meeting. In a perfect world, these meetings would have remained private.
But with this being said, as long as the two parties are able to complete their contractual negotiations in a timely manner, this distraction will die soon. In fact, I think the subject was far less distracting to Jones’ teammates by the time they returned to Turner Field on Wednesday.
In fact, it might have been best that Jones’ future plans became public now and not in September, when the Braves are attempting to gain a postseason spot.
There will be plenty of emotions present at Turner Field on Oct. 3, when Jones and Bobby Cox will be scheduled to experience the last regular season game of their storied careers.
But while appreciating the goodbyes, these two would much rather focus on the possibility that they could be spending that final weekend focused on winning a division championship or at least sending the Phillies back to Philadelphia without a postseason berth.