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Chipper Jones: “A bad motherf****r”

Oct 1, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Chipper Jones AP

Spencer Hall at SB Nation has a column up about Chipper Jones, his life, times and city. It’s not a biography — you know Jones’ story by now — it’s more about the essence and zeitgeist of Chipper, the teams he played on and the city in which it all happened:

You knew Chipper would work in Atlanta simply based on his face. He could have been the mascot for the Atlanta Crackers … Chipper looked like a walking definition of cracker: slitty eyes, swaggery, slow steps to the plate even as a rookie, and a fondness for Oakleys and sleeveless shirts.You knew he would work for so many reasons. He came to the plate to “Crazy Train,” the precursor to totalling a Camaro, or chugging a 12 pack of Natty Lite before a Jackyl concert, or hitting a baseball with the name “Chipper.” His real name was Larry Wayne Jones, the name of a serial killer, state agricultural commissioner, or budding candidate for the position of cracker baseball pope.

Hall goes on to talk about how, despite this perfect fit — which assumes a lot of stuff about the south and race I’m not sure I’d always assume, but that’s for another day — Jones’ is not the same local(ish) boy makes good tale, mostly because of the unfulfilled promise of the 1990s and early 2000s Braves.  How “the metaphorical trophy case” was never filled, and how it compares to the city itself, full of empty McMansions and development that seemed like inevitable successes, went bust just like the Braves’ hopes of multiple world championships in the Chipper Jones era.

Not gonna lie: I’m having some trouble with this one. Why? Because like so many fans who came to the team because of TBS, the Braves are not a local phenomenon to me. Outside of the airport and a few minutes on 1-75 heading down to Florida, I’ve never been in Atlanta at all. Heck, I’ve never even been to Turner Field.  To me and so many others, the Braves are a TV-and-watch-them-when-they-play-road-games-nearby thing, and thus the rhythms and the resonances between the city and the team are simply absent in my experience and the experience of so many others.

Which, by the way, goes a long way towards explaining why Braves fandom is the curious and seemingly passionless thing it often appears to be. If you didn’t grow up with a bunch of like-minded kids, if you didn’t pack into bars watching games, everyone cheering for the same thing and if you didn’t high five other fans on the way in and out of the park before and after big games, there’s inevitably going to be something missing.  They Braves mean an awful lot to me, but just like the bands I listened to with my headphones on in my room when I was growing up, they’re a personal thing, not a communal thing.

So I read this and I enjoy, if for no small reason than the prose.  But I have to admit: the idea of a city thinking about Chipper Jones as a thing is sorta odd to me. He’s always been a little man on my TV. Or that guy I met once at spring training or saw when he came to Ohio to play the Reds. Oh well.

Anyway, worth a read, especially Atlanta people.

  1. Francisco (FC) - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Outside of the airport and a few minutes on 1-75 heading down to Florida, I’ve never been in Atlanta at all.

    You’re telling me I’ve seen more of Atlanta than YOU? For SHAME! :)

    • El Bravo - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I’m in the same boat as Craig. The only time I’ve spent in ATL was in ’96, and the Braves were out of town for those Olympics…one day I hope to root for the Braves on TV at a bar filled with Braves fans. I’m assuming that requires a trip to ATL, but even so, I be those bars don’t fill with Braves fans too often. Hopefully they are packed with tomahawks this week.

      • El Bravo - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Brings a tear to my eye:

      • gogigantos - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        I always thought, or assumed,, making and ass of at least me,,, that El Bravo was at least from Georgia. Another of the TV fans, cereally? sigh

      • El Bravo - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:46 PM

        Believe it or not, many people grow up outside of major metropolitan areas, and therefore, have no true affiliation with any that are “nearby.” NYC was five hours away by car, Boston was six hours, Montreal was three hours, Buffalo was six hours away. So sure, I should be an Expos/Nationals fan I suppose, but instead I went L’Stad Olympique to root against the home team and for Ron Gant and co. In other words, suck it.

        El Bravo now resides in Chicago. I root for the Chicago teams too, but for baseball, the Sox and Cubs are a distant second as far as rooting interests go. The Bulls on the other hand, are my only team, but that’s b/c I never rooted for a bball team growing up.

      • mrwillie - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        The Braves are an interesting team as far as their fans and where they live. Yeah, you have the whole TBS thing but the Braves are also the only baseball team in the south, and if you live in the south you know that Florida doesn’t count. So you have a team that pulls its fans from multiple states, if not a whole region.

        I live a couple of hours up 85 in Cakalaky, but make it down to the ‘ol dirty ATL quite a bit, as I have family there. There are no shortage of Braves fans from where I live even though I am not even in Georgia. Same for most other states in the south. You’ll find no shortage of Braves fans in GA, TN, SC, NC, AL, LA, or MS. That’s why they call it Braves County, and ATL is pretty much just a couple of hours from any of those states.

        Then of course there is Atlanta itself and the fact that most people who live there, aren’t from there nor are they Braves fans. Most fans live outside of Atlanta and do no want to deal with the giant pain in the arse, that is getting to the Ted. That’s why there are so many Braves fans yet so many empty seats.

      • pepefreeus - Oct 2, 2012 at 6:07 AM

        Lots of us in VIrginia, too.

  2. illcomm - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    a braves fan n you never been to turner field. enough said poser.

    • foreverchipper10 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      I am a Braves fan who has been to Tuner Field once in his life.Two years ago against the Nats. See, I live in Pennsylvania so the Ted is quite a trip. That doesn’t make me, Craig or any other Braves fan around the country any less of a fan.

      • gogigantos - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        disagreeing, that’s all, just sayin,,,,,,,,,
        at least you been there once

    • nategearhart - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Dude, he isn’t from Atlanta. It’s not easy to get to see your team if you don’t live in the city. You DO know that for a long time, the Braves were just about the only team that most of the country could see on a regular basis on television, right?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      Poser? Like I need to prove to you how much I like the baseball team I root for?

      • stex52 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM

        Craig, why do you let that low-rent troll bug you? He’s not even very good at it.

      • El Bravo - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        Poser? Only if Craig sticks to the “Bryce fanboy” meme….I’m beginning to think he’s falling in love with the Nats!

      • thomas2727 - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        I grew up central Ohio during the days of the Big Red Machines and got poached by WGN and the Cubs since the Reds were only on local tv maybe like 10 times a season.

        At least the Indians were on WUAB like 50 times a season. I remember the tagline “50 on 43”

      • echolmberg - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        I totally had the same experience growing up in Buffalo NY and cheering for the Braves. For the first time in my life I went to Turner field this past weekend and it was somewhat surreal to have random people on the street ask about the game or talk to me about the Braves because I was wearing Braves gear. I don’t think that has ever actually happened to me before as a Braves fan, Bills or Sabres fans sure but that’s a completely different animal.

        Fans aren’t posers because they live far away from the city. It’s so much easier to be a fan of a team near by because of the re-encouragement from the other fans. Though now with podcasts, blogs and being a fan from 3 time zones away is easier now than ever.

    • hammyofdoom - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM

      Sorry but thats horse shit. I come from an area that is predominantly Red Sox fans, I’ve been a Red Sox fan since as long as I can remember, and I’ve never been to Fenway. That’s what happens when you grow up in rural Maine 4-5 hours away from Boston. Theres millions of sports fans that have never been to their home team’s field, and there always will be. I at least hope you were sarcastic, if not… “enough said, pretentious douche”.

  3. cur68 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Larry is pretty much magic, its true. Only magic can explain how a grown up who prefers to be known as “Chipper”, who has been shown to be publicly a lousy husband and is a guy without cartilage left in his knees could be as wildly successful as Larry has been. Larry’s life story will involve lots of chewing tobacco, not many sleeved shirts and waitresses. That’s movie gold right there. Good luck in the playoffs, Larry.

  4. randygnyc - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Seems kinda racist, on it’s face, to refer to a white guy as a cracker, under any circumstances. Can’t get past the racial epithet. Replace it with any other racist term to see how it works out.

    • El Bravo - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:49 PM

      Did I read the same article as you? Sure I know what the term means, but doesn’t it point out the farm club used to be called the Crackers?

      • stex52 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        At the same time, I would agree that if I came from Atlanta, I might not have bought too much into the whole tone of the article.

      • chumthumper - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:52 PM

        You gotta be older than dirt (which I am) to remember the old Southern Association and the Atlanta Crackers, Memphis Chicks, Birmingham Barons, et al before Atlanta went all big time.

  5. papichulo55 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I, too, enjoyed the article, but I think the author misinterpreted the comment. I would bet anything that the drunk on the train in Atlanta would call Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spann ‘bad m***fers’ too, because they were! Comment was more about Chippers game than his race or lifestyle.

    Good Luck, Chipper. We will miss you in NYC..

  6. gogigantos - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    thumb away,,,
    Is red neck white guy callin another a cracker along the same lines as on callin another a nigger?
    These vocabularies have so long not been part of mine that I just don’t know.
    Help me, please.

  7. gogigantos - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Would, does, Larry object to cracker status?

  8. gogigantos - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I like cheese on my crackers, Ritz are pretty good.

  9. indaburg - Oct 1, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Chipper always looks like he just rolled out of bed and drank a six pack.

    Craig, if you’re ever inclined to visit the motherland, I’d recommend staying about an hour north of Atlanta. Beautiful country, it’s the southern edge of the Blue Ridge mounains. It’s one of my favorite places. Rent a cozy log cabin and bring your girlfriend. You can work from anywhere, right? Maybe if the worst case scenario for you and your girl happens–Tigers vs. Braves–you can go to a game there. While personal things can be sacrosanct, there is something special about the communal experience with likeminded people. We’re social creatures, after all.

  10. greymares - Oct 1, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I personally would like to thank all you Brave fans and fans of other N.L. EAST teams becuse as i travel around the division to follow my team the Phillies i never have a problem getting a ticket at your home ball parks. actually as i visit any major league stadium the only hard ticket is in Boston. but unless it’s a pure financial thing which i understand totaly get to the park and support your team.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 2, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Greymare: Pssssft….I recommend you take in Cincinnati. You can sit virtually anywhere in the park for $30.00 – $35.00. Or…you can pay $7.00 for a ticket and move down.

  11. mississippimusicman - Oct 1, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    The title of this article got a song stuck in my head…
    “Kennesaw Mountain Landis was a bad motherf****r, He was seventeen feet tall, and he had a hundred and fifty wives; He didn’t do that much except he saved the game of baseball, He put two and two together and he noticed it was four; Now the treachery of Shoeless Joe can’t hurt us anymore; And he’ll always be remembered as Kenesaw Mountain Landis…”

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