Chipper ready to say goodbye to Wrigley

(Getty Images)

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.” 

49 Comments

Corrected the date of the two-homer game against Zambrano/Wood. it was obviously 2005, not 1995.

Chipper is correct and I agree that Wrigley Field is an awful place for baseball. I first went to see Maddux’s first attempt to win game 300. The Ushers actually had the words “Crowd Control” stitched where a name tag would go……who does that???…..in what world is it appropriate to label the employees there to help the fans with seating in such a manner???? It told volumes!!!! They were loud and constantly yelled at fans; even during the game. The ticket takers were also grouchy and not happy to be helping fans enter. The year before, concrete had fallen from above and it all appeared to be unsafe that day with scattered netting visible….just horrible conditions. Maddux didn’t get credited with the Cub Win that day and it made me go to San Francisco to witness it…where everything was wonderful for fans. I was forced to go back to Wrigley Field to see Tom Glavine win his 300th Game after he didn’t win in Milwaukee on his first attempt. Miller Park had been great; but again, Wrigley Field was not just disappointing, but awful for fans. I love the city of Chicago; but Wrigley Field is not friendly and only confines the fans to whatever discourtesy the employees and stadium want to dish that particular day with all of it being unappealing.

And they even tore my ticket in half.

Mark I would love you to do a piece on what is going on with Jose Constanza. Freddi doesn’t seem to have much faith in him, but I really feel like he can be a sleeper. Prime career age and he is absolutely tearing it up in AAA ball again. I say we trade him and at least give the guy a chance or bring him up and get him some at bats. Who do you want pinch hitting Jack Wilson or Constanza….

I want Jack Wilson by a huge margin…it isn’t even close. Especially because Wilson actually adds some value to the team, where-as Constanza would simply be taking up roster space like a paper weight. He isn’t good.

Yeah that .220 avg last year and the .158 mark this year are just extraordinary. Does any realize that comparing these 2 guys is mindless. THEY PLAY DIFFERENT POSITIONS!!!. Helloooooo.

Never said he was good. But he is WAY more valuable than Constanza.

As a pinch hitter Constanza > Wilson by miles and miles. As a member of the Braves 25 man roster Wilson is the obvious choice. Just depends on how you look at Jason’s comment.

First off, miles and miles is a gross exaggeration lol. Neither Wilson or Constanza is good at the plate and I agree Constanza is the lesser of the two evils in that regard, but it’s not by miles. However, making the point that you’d rather have Constanza at the plate is pointless. If it were the case of just carrying a pinch hitter, I could name at least 15 guys in the minors I’d rather have at the plate than Constanza…so that doesn’t say much about his value.

Yeah hitting .350 at Gwinnett and hitting well against ML pitching last year doesn’t mean anything. And, if they were carrying Constanza as a pinch hitter, it would be one thing, but he would be carrried as a 4th OFer if anything. We are carrying Wilson, because he can teach the Rev defense and because we need a backup middle infielder. This is a moronic argument. there is no reason to even compare the 2 of them. So if “YOU” name 15 guys in the minors that you would select in front of him, it says absolutely NOTHING about his value. Or maybe less than nothing, it might be the biggest compliment he ever got. Go away Zippy.

Hitting well against ML pitching = being lucky that the weak grounders you hit were so weak that you could beat them out for infield singles at a highly unsustainable rate? Lol @ you…I think the fact that he is wasting away in the minors says enough about his value. Believe it or not, there are people who know a lot more about the game than you. Oddly enough, they get paid to make decisions for one of the most successful and respected organizations in MLB. Constanza was brought up last year as a NECESSITY because of injuries, and the only reason he stayed in the starting lineup as long as he did was because Fredi’s ignorantly follows the “hot hand fallacy”. Constanza is not a MLB caliber baseball player. He has no place on the roster. Jack Wilson does. To this point, they CAN be compared. Would we prefer to have someone else besides Jack? Of course…unfortunately, there aren’t any other viable options right now. Also, on an unrelated note…it doesn’t do much to help your credibility when you constantly refer to me as if I’m some alter-ego of Zidane.

Jesus Zippy, smh……

I’ll stick with my miles and miles comment. What Constanza showed last year and what he’s showing this year is way better than Jack and his .150 average. I love his D but offensively he’s a joke.

Well it sure has been a good start to the year for chipper and the braves. Our pitching should improve so things look good!

Freddie is one of the best defensive 1Bs in the game. Suck on that stat heads.

Because he made an over the shoulder catch? I’m not saying Freddie isn’t a good first baseman, but you really have a knack for taking small sample sizes that happen to support your claims and refer to them as valid evidence to PROVE your point…I for one don’t know how the defensive metrics are calculated and I don’t really know how Freddie ranks in them, but I do know that they factor range into the equation and Freddie really has little to no range at all over there. He can pick throws with the best of them, but that comes standard with most Major League first basemen. He did have a phenomenal catch tonight, and to be fair there is no way to factor things like that into the equation for an advanced defensive stat. However, even you can’t deny that Freddie has the mobility of a statue at first base. I believe this is what he is criticized for, and why the “stat heads” as you call them (odd that you threw out more insults out of nowhere, no one would have expected that) consider him an average first baseman defensively.

Has anybody noticed that the Braves are near the bottom in pitching and near the top on offense? So much for pitching wins championships. Maybe in the post season?

Anyhow, Minor probably has one more start before being sent down (if he does not improve). I wonder how many teams have options like the braves (JJ and Terhan) in the minor leagues. JJ had 4 bad starts before being sent down and I think Minor has done the same. JJ will start to ask for a trade if he keeps pitching well and does not get the call… He is a proven top notch pitcher (when healthy)

I really like this line-up. Chipper and Jhey batting at the bottom? cumon. They may look to move BMac if he does not start to hit better. I still like McCann as a hitter, but not much better than JHey. Plus, BMac’s lack of speed seems to come into play a lot so why not give JHey that extra AB…

Shaping up to be a great season. The only injury that would really cost them is Freeman, He is on his way to a 290/28/110 with a 900 OPS (as well as an All Star Birth)

See who had the best team average in the NL and AL last year. Hint they played in the WS.

So Junior you suggest we trade everyone who hits a rough patch huh? Bmac isn’t hitting well, so we must trade him…. Get a grip. He isn’t doing as bad as Uggla was last year at this time. He came back and had a monster second half. Why don’t you show a little loyalty and stand behind Mac even when he is down. He won’t be down all year. Just like Bourne is not going to hit out of his mind all year. That’s why they play 162 games. Lots of ups and downs. And as for JJ… Nobody wanted to give us anything for him this off season. What makes you think anyone is going to give us anything for him in AAA? Big deal that he has had a couple good starts down there. He hasn’t produced in the show. I still believe he should have just shut it down and had the surgery that he obviously needs to repair that knee.

I was hoping that he just meant move him down the order to get JHey more AB per game until Mac gets back to his awesome ways. That’s how I understood it anyway.

You are probably right. When I reread it I guess I mistook “move” as in the batting order for “move” as in trade. I guess I was on the whole trading JJ thing.

I could see moving Mac down in the order in time, but for now I think it is best to just leave him alone and let him get it worked out. I can see the benefit of taking some pressure off him by moving him down, but that could risk shaking his confidence. We are scoring runs right now, so no reason to make a change. If that changes…..

I’d like to get a feel for where Braves fans are with Mac and his contract. I love McCann, but with Yadier Molina signing the ridiculous contract he did in the offseason, it will make McCann, in my opinion, ask for way more than he’s worth. Unless he’s willing to take the home team discount, I am leaning towards letting him walk. Offensively his numbers are slightly above average and defensively he’s just average. With Bethancourt waiting in the wings and projected to be a stellar defensive catcher with offensive upside, wouldn’t it be worth it to spend the money on a player who will hit more than .280 and 25 hr’s? Or even to resign Bourne? With McCann and Chipper off the books we could so some damage in free agency. Especially if Bethancourt turns out to be who they think he is. What do you guys think?

I think McCann is a steadying influence on a very young team. That said, AL teams can go out on a limb because of DH potential and the fact he can bat every game. I would love to keep him, he is a terror when he heats up, but am preparing myself for the fact that he may not play out his career in ATL.

Of course Bethancourt isn’t really setting the world on fire offensively this season…

Moylan tweeted today that he is a week away. Barring a miracle this week with Minor, he should go down, Meds should pick up the 5th spot(god knows he has earned it) and move “Levon likes his money” or Hanging Chad into LR.Moylan can be setup to Lefty O’Flaherty(sounds like a fireman from NYC) and we are a lot closer to hitting on all cylinders with the pitching staff. It’s great we have relied on offense this long and quite successfully, but we all know that won’t go on forever. I mean how many 5 run deficits can you overcome in a season?

Get on the horn and call Frank!

Wow, you talk on a horn? I usually use a cell or landline. And who really gives a rat’s behind what QTip thinks? He hasn’t been on on the page since Robespierre? Keep defending him Zippy and we will all know what you think. Stupid is as stupid does. You know mama always said…..

Bill, we all know you can do a better job than Wren, which is why I suggested you call him. I mean, with all of your sophisticated knowledge and ideas about what the team should do with this player and that player, he’d surely benefit from the call. I mean, if you were in charge we’d have Schafer manning center and Conrad starting at short instead of Pastornicky (belting about 55 home runs and batting a whopping .396 with a .600 OBP according to your full season projections based on minor league stats mixed with late game at bats versus relievers, who are naturally worse pitchers than starters…he’d be making 200 errors per season, but his offensive production would surely make up for it). Hey, at least you’d be good at making up hip nicknames for people like QTip and Mc(insert non-clever verb). Also, if you quote Forrest Gump after incorrectly referring to me as Zidane again (with another clever nickname…remember, nicknames win championships), it really drives home your points. What were your points again?? Oh yeah…1) Making fun of the phrase “get on the horn” and pretending like you don’t know what it means, 2) Belittling the billionaire owner of a Major League Baseball team that is currently leading the NL East and sits 2 games behind the Dodgers (a team this particular GM’s team in question beat 2 out of 3 at their home field) for the best record in all of baseball, and 3) Referencing a guy that has been dead for hundreds of years to somehow show your level of intelligence and sophistication to the two, maybe three readers of this blog who haven’t realized yet how pathetic you really are. Some pretty solid points there, sir. Quick, say something clever about Chipper or Heyward! Something like…Chipper hunted in the off-season without your permission so he doesn’t have the drive to play anymore (to the tune of a .300 average thus far)? Or how about calling Heyward a cry baby because he took 2 days off to rest an injury? He’s China Doll, right? (Cool nickname!)

Wow, Mr. Gump, you think about me an awful lot. You know, I don’t think about you at all.

Another nickname. Man, you’re the coolest guy on the blog, Bill. I wonder if it’s a disguise to cover up the fact that you have average baseball knowledge at best?

Ouch, it’s angry Zippy.

Woo hoo how bout them Braves!

Looking at radar it looks like a rain delay coming soon

MVP through 1st month and a half? I say it’s a tossup between MB, MP and FF. What a great top of the lineup, the way those guys are playing right now. And all 3 should be All Stars.

Watch the video of Freeman’s HR and at the very start you will see his eyes glance back at the last instance to see where the catcher is set up

From MLBTR: “One scout told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the work of the Braves’ hitting instructors and the performance of Kris Medlen has made the difference for the team so far in 2012. Atlanta GM Frank Wren agrees with that assessment.

Damn, that sounds familiar

“MLBTR is just a blog full of idiots.” – Billreef’s paraphrased quote about MLBTR when an article from the site was presented to aid an argument against him. Pot, meet kettle.

I’m just going to fill my own reply box with the obligatory 12 year old name calling and references to what Nate McLouth is doing this year. By the way, Brooks Conrad is 0-21 with nothing but a single walk this year. The good news is he hasn’t booted the ball in his 8 fielding chances yet.

If we can take 2 out of 3 from the rays then it will be a good weekend. Things really look good. Our line up is deep and our pitching strong. I can sense a world series this year!

Hey, we’re the same person according to Bill and his infinite wisdom. Pretty cool, huh?

Nate McCantHittheBroadSideofaBarn in his last 10 games. .063 BA, 1 hit. I Run.

What’s your point?

We all know McLouth sucks. No one said he was great. He has/had potential, that’s about it. “Last 10 games” is a laughable sample size though…funny how you pick small sample sizes to “support” your arguments but ignore any stats that counter anything you’ve stated. In this case it’s even more ridiculous, because you don’t have to try to slice a 10 game sample size to show how much McLouth sucks, but you did it anyway for some reason. (awaiting random rant about how Wren sucks and Medlen should be a stater, which is completely unrelated to this comment).

How ’bout something new, Mark?

Oh Zippy Monkey, you defended Nate all last year. You really don’t think anyone here remembers all that?

Zidane defending a player, and you claiming one to be a future perennial all-star (Schafer) and another to be a top notch starter (Brooksy) are two completely different things. I don’t know why you keep insisting that we’re the same person, it’s starting to get old and you’re continuing to look like an idiot. I for one agree that McLouth sucks, but he isn’t as bad as you made him out to be. And judging by his past MLB numbers before coming to Atlanta, no one could have projected him to be as bad as he was with us. However, Brooks and Schafer aren’t even close to as good as you make them out to be…funny how you keep bringing attention to McLouth and ignoring the others.

Geez Zip, give it a rest. Next thing you’ll be claiming your superior thinking on trading JJ again and again and again.

I’m pretty sure you’re just trolling now. There is no way you can still honestly believe I’m him.

Man, Kimbrel’s starting to hit his stride again. Huddy was phenomenal, too. RTampa Bay was overmatched.

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