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Monday, July 30, 2012

Neyer: Memo To Chipper Jones: Please Don’t Quit!

Memo From Ted Turner: Your game’s working perfectly, but there’s a part that’s not screwed on!

Chipper Jones is on pace to finish the season with 4.2 Wins Above Replacement, which would give him one of the five or six best last seasons in major-league history, and place him among the very best players to voluntarily leave the majors. He’s played in only 62 of the Braves’ 100 games this season, but still ranks among the better third basemen in the National League; rate-wise, he’s been among the league’s three best-hitting third basemen. He’s got a 136 OPS+, just a few points lower than his career mark (141).

The problem is, it would be difficult for Chipper to come back for one more season, because he’s told everyone he’s not coming back, and so he’s been gathering trophies and commemorative third bases and the like. Hey, maybe he did this on purpose. Maybe he thought he wanted to retire after the season, but was afraid that if he didn’t go through the whole farewell tour and wound up having a good year, he wouldn’t be able to resist coming back for another go-round in 2013.

I’m a baseball fan. And I will say, right now, that I won’t hold it against Chipper if he wants to come back. I won’t hold it against him if keeps all the swag, and I won’t hold it against him if he comes back next season and doesn’t play nearly as well as he’s played this season. I just want him to keep playing for as long as he’s still good, and he sure looks like he can be good for yet one more season, even after turning 41.

Repoz Posted: July 30, 2012 at 09:36 AM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, history, sabermetrics

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   1. AROM Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4195689)
He’s played in only 62 of the Braves’ 100 games this season


That's the stat that makes me think Chipper will stick to his plans. Playing baseball at his age can be very painful.
   2. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4195692)
I agree, if he keeps up this pace and he still wants to play, I won't hold it against him either way. Just make the decision early enough to give your team the ability to plan for next year, and don't make it an annual thing like Brett Favre.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM (#4195694)
arom

completely agreed. as someone who knows day to day aches and pains i can tell chipper is gutting it out each game. you can see how he moves. how he manages his movements. the grimaces that pass over his face quickly.

jones is clearly focused on going out on a high note. his body may well have nothing left after this season
   4. AROM Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4195702)
I'm one year older than Chipper, and I've found the 40 to 41 year age adjustment to be particularly tough. And I'm only playing once a week. Last year I was playing shortstop, even though most of my teammates are in their mid 20's. This year I've mostly played 1B, like an old man should.
   5. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4195707)
Right. Chipper's retirement plans were never about the quality of his play. Chipper is Chipper: he'll be able to draw walks and flick doubles into the left-center gap when he's 60. But there's a chance in every swing that all the tendons in his body will suddenly tear.
   6. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:40 AM (#4195713)
Assuming he isn't 100% settled (which he probably is), I wonder if making the playoffs--he hasn't been in them since 2005--would seal the decision in favor of retirement.
   7. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4195716)
His body gave out before his ability to hit did. There aren't many like that.
   8. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4195719)
don't make it an annual thing like Brett Favre.


Without looking this up, my recollection of Favre is that he basically decided each year would be his last until he realized he STILL had it. When he finally was washed up that last year in Minnesota, he actually did retire. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - a player publicly stating each year will be his last on the assumption that he's probably too old to perform at an acceptable level. Roger Clemens did basically the same thing.
   9. zack Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:50 AM (#4195722)
Without looking this up, my recollection of Favre is that he basically decided each year would be his last until he realized he STILL had it. When he finally was washed up that last year in Minnesota, he actually did retire. I don't think there's anything wrong with that - a player publicly stating each year will be his last on the assumption that he's probably too old to perform at an acceptable level. Roger Clemens did basically the same thing.


Then, after the 2nd time, just say "I'll see how I feel at the end of the season" instead of "This is my last season; begin fellatio". Hundreds of old stars have said and done exactly that. Everybody loves Teemu Selanne and he was planning to retire 3 years ago, but he keeps surprising himself that he doesn't suck and he can still take the grind.
   10. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4195728)
Chipper has stated many times that he's tired of the lifestyle and ready to move on. Being able to go out on his own terms is very important to him--especially given his injury history. I don't think he'll change his mind.
   11. bunyon Posted: July 30, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4195734)
I'm one year older than Chipper, and I've found the 40 to 41 year age adjustment to be particularly tough.

+1

And I'll second Harveys. I don't do much in baseball that resembles Chipper Jones but a) I played third, b) my name is Jones and c) I grimace like that when I do something physical.

Also, just to throw out there in case it's important, we're all agreed he's physically struggling to perform as well as he has. I'll hazard a guess and say his rates go down, perhaps sharply, in August and September.
   12. base ball chick Posted: July 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4195747)
there is something great about having a last year which is pretty darn good. for one thing, people remember you as having been pretty darn good.

look at biggio - his last 2 years were AWFUL and the owner wanted him there playing full time and leading off, even though he had no business doing either one, and now nobody remembers how incredibly good he actually WAS because it was all about - IF he gets 3000 hits THEN he will get into the Hall.

chipper looks (to me) as if he hurts everywhere and i would be beyond stunned if he decided to play next year. i sure can't see him as a bench guy or PH just to stay with a team
   13. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM (#4195784)
bunyon

actually i think chipper has missed the time he has so that he could make a final big push

would not surprise me to see the old timer go out with a bang in september

and if i may i relish being able to call someone else old timer
   14. Tanto Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4195841)
Everybody looks like they've got one more good year left, until they don't. I'd rather Chipper go out in pain but resembling his usual self than hurt and hitting .230.
   15. bunyon Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4195852)
You may be right, Harveys. If he has been pacing himself, he may have two good months left. However, if he's taken the time because he just can't go on those days, he'll either play less or play the same number of games less well.

I'm a Braves fan, so I'd be very happy to be wrong. I know his nubmers are good and I keep seeing him play well but his body language makes it hard for me to imagine he can keep it up.
   16. booond Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4195853)
actually i think chipper has missed the time he has so that he could make a final big push


It's looked more like bad knees combined with age-related rest that has him on the bench.

look at biggio - his last 2 years were AWFUL


I always think of Steve Carlton, in this regard.
   17. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4195877)
Chipper misses games because of aches and pains and because he gets every day game off, basically.
   18. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4195887)
I always like to see stars come back and play as long as they can still contribute.

As for aging... I'm 38 and what you guys are describing above hasn't hit me yet, but I expect it will soon enough. I still play softball twice a week, and I play tennis (singles) 2-3 times a week without a problem. The only thing I notice different from my 20s is that it takes me a few days to recover after my first softball game of the year. But after that I'm fine. I'm sure I'm not running as fast as I once did but I don't notice it.

Also, I've never stretched before any athletic competition other than long distance running. I don't say that's a good thing, but - for what it's worth.
   19. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: July 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4195889)
His body gave out before his ability to hit did. There aren't many like that.


Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Tony Gwynn
   20. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4195893)
I believe research shows no significant benefits to pre-workout stretching (at least traditional, static stretching).
   21. Srul Itza Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4195927)
I always loved that Chipper had that .300/.400/.500 line. At this rate, only the .400 part is in any danger, and he would really have to crater to fall below it. Assuming he scores the 5 more runs he needs to get to 1,600, he would be one of 7 players with a .300/.400/.500 line, 1,600 runs and rbis, and 400 home runs

Yeah, it's an odd "club" type of thing, but the combined high rate line and high accumulated statistics does show a great player.
   22. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4195942)
His body gave out before his ability to hit did. There aren't many like that.


Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Tony Gwynn


So...every no-talent schmuck that ever picked up a bat, basically.
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4195951)
nice touch by mlb having his last home game series against the mets

i am sure the mets fans are 'thrilled'

might have almost been worthwhile to have it in new york for a last go around of 'larry, larry'
   24. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 30, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4195965)
Everybody looks like they've got one more good year left, until they don't. I'd rather Chipper go out in pain but resembling his usual self than hurt and hitting .230.
I've been saying this in every Chipper thread this year: the man has never (really, never) had a bad year. Very pleased to see him so far going out as something more than a shadow of his former self.

That said, like Ray, I'm also 100% fine with a guy who plays until he can't play anymore.

As for aging... I'm 38 and what you guys are describing above hasn't hit me yet, but I expect it will soon enough. I still play softball twice a week, and I play tennis (singles) 2-3 times a week without a problem. The only thing I notice different from my 20s is that it takes me a few days to recover after my first softball game of the year. But after that I'm fine. I'm sure I'm not running as fast as I once did but I don't notice it.
The fact that you continue to play softball twice a week is probably partly why you aren't feeling any significant dropoff yet. Keep it up.
   25. bunyon Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4195984)
As for aging... I'm 38 and what you guys are describing above hasn't hit me yet, but I expect it will soon enough. I still play softball twice a week, and I play tennis (singles) 2-3 times a week without a problem. The only thing I notice different from my 20s is that it takes me a few days to recover after my first softball game of the year. But after that I'm fine. I'm sure I'm not running as fast as I once did but I don't notice it.

The fact that you continue to play softball twice a week is probably partly why you aren't feeling any significant dropoff yet. Keep it up.


I'm quite active. I don't think it will happen at precisely the same age for everyone, but for most of my 30s, I noticed I took longer to loosen up, took longer to recover, etc. But, once loose, I felt good and was, more or less, my old self. This year, I never really feel totally loose. Alarmingly often (maybe every tenth swing), swinging the bat hurts. I'm noticeably slower.

It probably isn't exactly age. I have a feeling I put on more weight in the last year than in the previous ten. I'm not super-heavy, but the weight needs to come down.

And my 50-something friends are not encouraging.
   26. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4196018)
   27. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: July 30, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4196056)
Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Tony Gwynn


Tony Gwynn's body didn't so much as give out as metastasize.
   28. bunyon Posted: July 30, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4196067)
Feel free to join us in the P90x thread.

Scotch.
   29. jwb Posted: July 30, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4196080)
I don't derive a lot of joy from watching a formerly great and still pretty darn good player perform while he is obviously in pain. Of course, the money/pain/lifestyle "Is this all worth if?" decision is still Chipper's to make. I think he's made it.
   30. jingoist Posted: July 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4196238)
I remember willie Mays playing in the Mets outfield in the early 70's; a mere shadow of his former self.
And Unitas' last year as a QB in San Diego at about the same time was truly sad.

Thank goodness Chipper isn't playing for the last possibile buck (he's already made way over $100M), unlike Mays and Unitas who truly needed the cash back then.

Never nice to see your hero's stumbling around.........

If I had Chippers FU money, I'd go and see what else life has to offer.

Good onya, Chipper!
   31. jwb Posted: July 30, 2012 at 05:27 PM (#4196276)
I was at the beginning of the end game for Johnny Unitas. It was sad. But I got to see Dan Fouts' debut, so there's that.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: July 30, 2012 at 07:01 PM (#4196360)
I'm one year older than Chipper, and I've found the 40 to 41 year age adjustment to be particularly tough.


I'm one year older than you, and found that the 41 to 42 adjustment goes much better if you quit drinking that year and start exercising more. I'm in better shape than I have been in the past 5+ years....Mind you I'm not playing any sports on a regular basis (except Bowling and I don't consider bowling a sport) so I don't have that comparison. Next goal is to run a PFT (physical fitness test---marine corps style, which is 80 situps in 2 minutes, 3 miles in 18 minutes, and 20 pullups...all are doable)

That said, like Ray, I'm also 100% fine with a guy who plays until he can't play anymore.


Agree 100%. If I was a player, they would have to drag me off the field. Who wants to go on with the "rest of your life" phase of life at 40 years old? I wouldn't even complain if I was a hofer who was reduced to a platoon/specialist role(see Vizquel) making pennies compared to days past.
   33. Bob Evans Posted: July 30, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4196402)
80 situps in 2 minutes

I could work on that

3 miles in 18 minutes

definitely in reach

and 20 pullups

O.K., n/m
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: July 30, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4196494)
and 20 pullups

O.K., n/m


The Marine corps cheats, you are allowed to do a kip/kick to get your body in motion. As long as your knees don't go above your waist you can kick your legs up to make it easier to do a pull up. When I went into bootcamp I was able to do 7 pull ups in shorts and tennis shoes, by the time I got out and learned how to do the kick, I was able to do over 50 with full camo and combat boots on. I haven't tried it in years, and have added 20-30 pounds to my frame so it might not be that easy(and had/need shoulder surgery which is going to make my next job really fun as I'm going to be climbing cell phone towers) but I think I can get it to 20 with a little bit of effort. Now that is a perfect score, you get five points for each pull up, you get 1 point for the first 60 situps, and 2 for each after that, and you lose a point for each 10 seconds over 18 minutes. 285 is considered excellent, I never scored below a 292 while in the corps. Hoping to keep that trend up when I do this in September.
   35. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: July 31, 2012 at 01:53 AM (#4196712)
Now that is a perfect score, you get five points for each pull up, you get 1 point for the first 60 situps, and 2 for each after that, and you lose a point for each 10 seconds over 18 minutes. 285 is considered excellent, I never scored below a 292 while in the corps


Wait. Explain that again? To score a 291, you'd need, say, 40 pullups and 105 situps, while running three miles in 18 minutes? I don't see how anything is a perfect score on that scale; you can always do another pullup.
   36. Dan Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:00 AM (#4196717)
Presumably he meant you get 100 points base for the running portion, minus 1 per 10 seconds over the 18 minute mark. Each component gives you 100 points if you do it right, for a perfect score of 300.
   37. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:25 AM (#4196721)
3 miles in 18 minutes

definitely in reach


I call shenanigans on this. I run 5 days a week, am 47 and was a 35 flat 10K runner in high school. 3 miles is just under 5K and I'm not sure I could do this any more. So unless you are seriously fast and run a lot, no effing way you can run 3 miles in 18 flat. If you attend any local fun run with less then 1000 runners, you would finish in the top 2 of the 40 and over group with an 18 flat time. So you'd have trouble with 80 sit ups in 2 minutes, but can burn 3 miles in 18 minutes...this makes no sense.

   38. vivaelpujols Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:27 AM (#4196722)
I suppose he could just play home games, so he wouldn't have to do all the travelling ####.
   39. cardsfanboy Posted: July 31, 2012 at 02:30 AM (#4196723)
Presumably he meant you get 100 points base for the running portion, minus 1 per 10 seconds over the 18 minute mark. Each component gives you 100 points if you do it right, for a perfect score of 300.


Yes, sorry, I didn't explain that part.

I call shenanigans on this. I run 5 days a week, am 47 and was a 35 flat 10K runner in high school. 3 miles is just under 5K and I'm not sure I could do this any more. So unless you are seriously fast and run a lot, no effing way you can run 3 miles in 18 flat. If you attend any local fun run with less then 1000 runners, you would finish in the top 2 of the 40 and over group with an 18 flat time. So you'd have trouble with 80 sit ups in 2 minutes, but can burn 3 miles in 18 minutes...this makes no sense.


It's been a while, but I do think that the Marines give you another minute on the run if you are over 35 years old, so I think the base is 19 for people our age.
   40. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: July 31, 2012 at 05:45 AM (#4196750)
19, the new 18?
   41. Bowling Baseball Fan Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:24 AM (#4196756)
I can't imagine what my body will feel like at 40. I'm 36 and it takes a while to get started at any tournaments. What cardsfanboy does may not be at the sport level, but what I do is very much sport. I hurt like a MF'er after a weekend on the lanes continuously. Baseball is worse in that its just an accumulation of tiny little bruises, scrapes, bumps, and muscle fatigue over years and eventually a couple decades. Throw in the occasional torn tendon an surgery, you get old quick. I'm gonna miss that machine of a player. I will shed a tear on his final game.
   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: July 31, 2012 at 07:53 AM (#4196762)
And my 50-something friends are not encouraging.


That's not our job.

Last year I was playing shortstop, even though most of my teammates are in their mid 20's. This year I've mostly played 1B, like an old man should.


I never moved down the defensive spectrum. I just stopped trying to play with kids.
   43. flournoy Posted: July 31, 2012 at 08:08 AM (#4196767)
So you'd have trouble with 80 sit ups in 2 minutes, but can burn 3 miles in 18 minutes...this makes no sense.


I'm not sure that's true. I'm a mid-17s 5K runner, so I would have no trouble with that run. I don't do sit-ups nearly as often as I should, and never try to max rep for two minutes, so I don't have any idea whether I could manage 80 in two minutes. It sounds doable, though. Granted, I'm not in my 40s, so things are different.

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