Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happy B-Day Chip.

A huge born day shout to one of the last authentic throwback ball players in the MLB, Larry "Chipper" Jones. The man turned a cool double chai (that's 18 times 2- chai meaning life- still on my Judaism kick) and is tearing it up. I should be cautious with what I write, as he might be tearing up a hammie or an ACL too. As a little gift to himself, he hit his 7th HR of the season and collected his 20th RBI. Killing it on his b-day is nothing new, he's hitting .500 (18-for-36) with four homers, eight RBIs and 10 runs for his career on the 24th. Word is he also received a signed guitar from Rascal Flats. Note to self- cop their entire catalog. Maybe not. Thus far this season, he's batting .442 with an OPS of 1.217. It might not stay at this level, but unbelievable nonetheless. Full disclosure- he's on my fantasy team, so you know I have a rooting interest.

Let's make it clear. I am a Yankees fan. Always have been, always will be. And when the Yanks have teed off on the Bravos in previous World Series, I wanted nothing more than to see some scalping. But in a league of egos where loyalty is to the dollar bill, it's very uncommon to find a player that came up with an organization and has remained there for their entire career. Other than Jeter, no other superstar comes to mind. Chip entered the league in 1993 and 16 years later is still the face of the Braves. Coming from a small market, and not being such a public figure, it's easy to overlook such a celebrated career. The man is a guaranteed Hall of Famer. Peep his stats HERE.

1917 6984 1314 2155 429 34 393 1319 1161 1090 134 43 .309 .404 .549 .953

In NYC and other NL East cities, you might hear some scathing commentary on Larry Love. But it's all jealousy. The Mets should give the man a statue. I mean he named his son Shea out of the affinity he shares for that ugly stadium in Queens. In 83 games he's hitting .310 with 19 HR, 53 RBI, and 60 Runs. Not bad for a half season of games. Will the success continue at Citi Field?

The story behind my appreciation for Chip came in 1999 at the World Series. I got to the game super early during Braves batting practice. It was pretty empty, but you could hear the "Larrrrrrrrrrrrry" jeers. After taking some swings, Chip engaged the fan in the upper deck, having fun with it and fucking with him. I've seen close to every player come to the stadium and ignore pretty much everything that isn't on the field. It was refreshing to see an athlete, better yet an all-star, just have some fun and not take the game and the position too seriously.

And for all the Met and Philly fans that call my boy a racist, come on now. The dude's an ATL legend. Him and Joe Johnson are boys. And he gets biz with MC Hammer.

Where did Chip come from? The nickname "Chipper" came from family members who felt he was a "chip-off-the-old-block" of his father. Must be a Southern thing.


buckemdown said...

This post gives me a great opportunity to do some A-rod bashing - thank you Howie. You're absolutely right - Chipper is a class act throwback of a player that should be revered for what he stands for. This is the type of ballplayer that gives the game of baseball a good name (like you said, Jeter is in that class as well). He, and all others like him is what our youth should inspire to emulate. Which is why I can't understand how you can at the same time praise a guy like A-rod, who essentially stands for the complete opposite. Take this perfect example... All I can say is WOW. Not only was he making about 35% less than A-rod (do we really think that A-rod is THAT much more valuable??), but for the sake of his team he agreed to knock that down to about 60% (yes, 60%) of what A-rod is making! All of this while A-rod's selfish antics end up costing the Yankees an EXTRA $50MM. To me his ethics are deplorable. Atlanta, wanna make a trade?

Allen said...

Not to mention, in this new era of routine days off for players, Chipper always attempts to go out there despite nagging injuries. I would love to know the dynamic between him and the young guys on the team. He always seems like he's having fun out there. Chipper and Smoltz do it right. Smoltz is another lifer. Must be something in the ATL water. Or manybe they just love those strip clubs Damn I love the Braves.