Sports radio station 790 The Zone is reporting that Chipper Jones has a torn ACL and that he’ll be out for the year. Obviously this is distressing to me. But not for the obvious reason.
Yes, losing Chipper Jones — who has been back to his old All-Star self since June — is a big blow to the Braves’ 2010 playoff hopes. But the Phillies are going to get Utley, Victorino and Howard back, Billy Wagner looks shaky lately, Jonny Venters has been used so much that his arm is going to fall off soon, and Brooks Conrad hitting pinch-hit grand slams is not exactly a strategic plan on which you’d bet the mortgage. The point is with Chipper or without him, there were no guarantees that the Braves were going to win the division.
No, the distressing thing about this is that there’s a good chance that Jones’ career ended crumpled on the turf of Minute Maid Park and not with a tip of his hat in Atlanta on the final day of the season (or, wish upon wish, the playoffs). And it may be over. Jones has hinted strongly at retirement, and that was even without the prospect of a painful rehab.
The only thing making me feel at all good about this is that, if this is the end of Jones’ career — a career in which he was frequently and often unfairly maligned for his defense — it ended on a spectacular defensive play. That pick, jump and throw he made was a thing of beauty, and I’ll always remember it even if I want to block the landing out of my mind.