Chipper ready to say goodbye to Wrigley
Barring a playoff matchup, this afternoon will be the last time we see Chipper Jones hitting with the Wrigley Field brick positioned behind him. But those of you who follow the Braves closely probably know Jones will not be shedding a tear while bidding adieu to this historic ballpark.
A couple weeks ago, Jones told Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, “I will be in the front row when they blow up Wrigley Field. The ballpark is awful.”
There is something special about entering this 98-year-old stadium. You have the ivy, old-time scoreboard and thoughts about the day that Babe Ruth might have pointed toward the center field fence before hitting a homer during the 1932 World Series.
Then away from the playing field, you have an incredibly small visitors’ clubhouse and all of the other amenities that verify this stadium is indeed 98 years old.
Jones’ reasoning for disliking this historic stadium might also have something to do with the fact that he entered Wednesday having batted .220 with 10 homers and a .685 OPS in 200 career at-bats here.
When asked about some of his greatest memories at Wrigley Field, Jones vividly remembered all of the details of the two-homer game he produced on Aug. 22, 2005.
“I had a two-homer game off (Carlos) Zambrano and (Kerry) Wood in the same game,” Jones said. ” That was a really cool game because I think we were coming down to the end. (Tim Hudson) pitched a (heck) of a game. I hit a two-run homer off Zambrano in like the third or fourth. Then Huddy gave up a two-run homer to Derrek Lee in like the sixth and then I hit another two-run homer off Wood in the top of the eighth or ninth. That was special taking Zambrano and Wood deep in the same game.”
These details were nearly spot on. Jones hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Zambrano and Lee actually tied the game with a solo homer off Hudson in the seventh. Then in the top of the ninth, Jones hit another two-run homer off Wood to give the Braves a 4-2 win.
Then of course Jones remembers the two-homer game he enjoyed in Game 4 of the 2003 National League Division Series. Unfortunately, memories of that game also rekindle visions of the dominance Mark Prior and Wood displayed during that best-of-five series.
“Two homers, sending them back to Atlanta for Game 5 and a Kerry Wood (butt) whoopin’ again,” Jones said. “But at least we had a shot.”
Jones’ presence in Wednesday’s lineup further proved his surgically-repaired left knee is improving. This marked the just the second time this year that he has been in the starting lineup for three straight days.
With Hudson on the mound for this afternoon’s series finale, Jack Wilson got another start. Because of Hudson’s high ground ball percentage, Wilson will likely continue to serve as his “personal shortstop.”