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Chipper Jones is feeling his age

Jan 10, 2012, 11:45 AM EDT

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Getty Images

Over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carroll Rogers has a Q&A with Chipper Jones.  There’s some stuff in there about how he’s lost a bunch of weight and is eating better, but I can’t in good conscience say that he’s In the Best Shape of His Life.  Because Jones — who has always come off as a frank, brass tacks kind of guy in interviews — knows that’s not true.  He’s old for a ballplayer and he feels it every day:

I’d be lying if I said the game wasn’t really, really fast for me right now. It seems like everybody is throwing 100 mph. The pitchers’ mound gets closer to home plate whenever you’re hitting, and third base gets farther away from first base. I can remember thinking to myself a couple times running down to first base last year, I’d put my head down and I’d run. When I was 25, when I’d look up the base would be a step and a half away. Now I put my head down and I look up, I’m not even halfway there. And it’s a little deflating and a little depressing.

Jones misses a lot of time now. He’s obviously not the player he was.  But he is growing old more gracefully than most guys who are fortunate enough to play baseball at age 39, simply by virtue of knowing that he’s getting up there.

 

  1. cranbery - Jan 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    An older Chipper is worth so many younger players. He is still #1 in my Book!

  2. crisisjunky - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    a little father to first now Chip, but a lot closer to Cooperstown.

    • Old Gator - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM

      Nicely put. Thumbs up.

    • anonyfan - Jan 10, 2012 at 6:48 PM

      I agree, done deal for Chipper, although there are those who still disagree. They perplex me.

  3. cur68 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    I kinda hope Larry hangs up the cleats after this season. He’s been in baseball for as long as I can remember and I’ll miss him, but he’s close to done. I’d like him to go out still productive and relatively healthy so when he walks off for the last time, he can do it without hobbling painfully like Dawson or Gibson. Good luck, Larry.

  4. thefalcon123 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Crusty, beaten down old Chipper Jones still had the second highest wOBA of any NL 3rd baseman last year.

    Third basemen with better careers than Chipper Jones:
    Mike Schmidt
    Eddie Mathews
    ……….yep, Chipper would probably fit here.

    • dw3dw - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      I will be curious to see how many baseball writers who have cited the “character clause” as a reason for disallowing “steriods cheaters” will overlook Chipper’s fairly sordid youth–adultery, child out of wedlock, etc. Chipper is clearly a HOFer but if you are going to insist on absolutes then I suppose some writers will ding him for his unsavory early years. Too bad.

      • Old Gator - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        Right, and of course none of those writers ever turned off the highway themselves.

    • frug - Jan 11, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      Even as a Braves fan I think I would have to put Brett above him. It’s close, but Brett’s glove gives him the advantage.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    No matter how many times Chipper Jones has given “it” to the Phillies dry. I still can’t help but like the guy. I respect him, because my team has feared him for half of my baseball watching days. I respect him because he was always better than he thought he was. I, a Phills fan have a man crush on Chipper Jones.

    And I’m not the only one.

    http://www.brotherlyglove.com/2011/05/13/the-phillie-killers-3b-chipper-jones/

    • natstowngreg - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      From a Nats fan’s perspective, ditto. Except for the man crush part.

  6. El Bravo - Jan 10, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I heart Chipper. STILL the prettiest swing in baseball.

  7. stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    A truly great player. I always compared him to Bagwell in my mind, and the stats are very similar. Surely deserves to be in the HOF, but he may just another one in the big pileup that develops over the next few years.

    • stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      “may be just”. Type slower, dammit!

    • xmatt0926x - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      I don’t think Chippper will get thrown into the Bagwell/assumed roider lot of players (assuming that was what you meant) in the coming years. Everyone’s doubts about Bagwell came from him becoming a muscle head during the roid years. I may be wrong, but I don’t recall Chipper ever really getting too big muscle wise. He got bigger of course as he aged as most do but he never turned into a ripped monster like some of those guys did. I think the Hall will welcome having someone like Chipper who doesn’t have the question marks around him. In the next 10 years there may not be too many supposedly clean players to elect. As far as I’m concerned a guy like Bagwell should be taken at his word that he was just a gym rat unless there is proof otherwise or at least much stronger circumstantial evidence.

      • stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM

        No disagreements with what you said, but actually I was just referring to the rush of superlative players coming up for consideration over the last five years. Steroids or no, I think it will be easy for some very good players to get lost in the shuffle.

      • stex52 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:42 PM

        “Next five years”. Type slower, dammit!

    • Roger Moore - Jan 10, 2012 at 3:06 PM

      The stats may be similar, but that’s to Jones’s favor because he was a 3B rather than a 1B. Of course he wasn’t as good a fielder at his position as Bagwell was, which gives up some of the edge, but it speaks well to his HOF chances.

    • 78mu - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:06 PM

      If Jones does not make get 85% in his first year it will be evidence that are too many voters are just not working hard enough to figure out who a real HoFer is.

  8. Kyle - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    As depressing as it may be, I still appreciate him offering this kind of perspective about the game. We don’t hear this kind of truth often enough.

  9. jckid21 - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Too many late nights tipping cows has that effect.

  10. mox19380 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I’ve never heard that perspective from an agin player. Pitches seem faster, throws seem longer, base paths seem longer. Gotta be rough on a former 5-tool player. I’m a phillie guy but always had a ton of respect for Chipper

    • aceshigh11 - Jan 10, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      Very true…the way he describes the sensation of being slowed by age (bat speed, running speed) is actually pretty poetic, at least for an athlete.

  11. foreverchipper10 - Jan 10, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    I don’t know where I will be in a few years but I can tell you this. When he is enshrined at Cooperstown I will be there wearing my #10 jersey.

  12. 78mu - Jan 10, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Would Jones have been as good if he had gone by Larry Wayne instead of Chipper? Is a hall of famer just as good if he has the name of the owner of the hardware store down the street?

    2012 might be the last year for two of the best 3rd basemen if Rolen and Jones call it quits. We were lucky to see them playing in their prime at the same time.

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