It’s Chipper Jones’ final regular-season series in Atlanta, and the Braves brought out the big guns in a pregame ceremony Friday, with Hank Aaron and Bobby Cox paying tribute to the future Hall of Famer.
Aaron gave Jones a third base with the words “Chipper Jones 1993-2012,” and his teammates got him a pool table. The bases and on-deck circles on the field were stamped with a special logo in honor of Chipper. Jones’ No. 10 was painted in the grass in center field.
Speaking to his teammates on the field before the game, Chipper said “I feel like every one of you are my younger brothers. You have done such a great job of coming back after what happened last year. I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”
Unfortunately, the game itself didn’t go so well for Chipper or the Braves. Jones went 0-for-4 and the Braves fell to the Mets 3-1. The team had just four hits off Jon Niese and company.
“I think I had a tear planted in the corner of my eye basically all night,” Jones said afterwards. “It’s pretty tough to hit when you’re misty like that.”
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?