Memories, Like the corners of my mind … Misty water-colored memories Of the way we were …
Chipper Jones makes his final trip to New York to play the Mets this weekend. I’m seriously wondering how the reception is going to go. On the one hand there is probably no player as hated by Mets fans over the past 20 years — and Jones has never shied from taunting them — but there also tends to be this whole grudging respect thing that happens to old adversaries.
If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll be three days of merciless “LARRY!” taunts, followed by a nice but not necessarily enthusiastic ovation at the end of Sunday’s game. As for the gift the Mets will give him — because apparently every team is required to do this for reasons that elude me — I would suggest a paternity test, so that Mets fans might, once and for all, accept that Chipper is their daddy.
Anyway, Dave O’Brien has a nice piece up over at the AJC today walking us back through the Chipper-Mets memories. Reminding us — as so many people I talk to seem to have forgotten — that the mammo four-Chipper-yicketty sweep of the Mets by the Braves in September 1999 took place in Atlanta, not Shea Stadium. I bet if you asked 100 Braves and Mets fans about that, most would say it happened in New York, such is the legend by now.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.