Chipper: Some (e.g. him) must step it up

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. – Chipper Jones has a big, new tattoo and a big, new right-handed slugger behind him in the lineup.

At 37, the third baseman still has adrenaline pumping on reporting day, even if he was later than usual Monday on account of seeing his buddy Jason Aldean play a country-music concert in Augusta over the weekend.

“The excitement is still the same,” Jones said on the eve of his 18th major league spring training. “The dawn of a new season is exciting for everybody, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You’re anxious to get in camp and see the guys you’re going to live with for the next eight months.

“It’s like the first day of school. Everybody knows what it’s like the first day of school. This is a lot like that. You’re a lot more serious about things from a personal standpoint, but the excitement is there nonetheless.”

If the pieces come together as boldly for the Braves as that new ink-etched deer head on his upper right arm, they’ll be in business. Operative word: if.

“Different teams jell different ways,” he said after reporting to camp. “Hopefully this is one that jells very quickly, and we get production out of people we are expecting production from, including myself.”

The Braves added slugger Troy Glaus to bat cleanup and play first base, a position the former All-Star third baseman has played almost never in his career.

He could be a difference-maker if the former American League home-run leader’s surgically repaired shoulder and other body parts hold up for the duration. Glaus, however, has been more injury-prone than Jones in recent years.

“As long as we stay healthy and as long as we have that pitching staff, I feel good about it,” Jones said. “We know those guys are going to keep us in games, which is all you want.”

The Braves also need a big offensive upgrade from Jones, who followed a 2008 batting title (.364) with his worst season. He hit just .264 with 18 homers and 71 RBIs.

“It’s up to the offense to come out smoking and produce runs,” he said. “That was our big problem for the first 100 games last year. We got better at the end of the season. We got some late additions [including first baseman Adam LaRoche] that helped out tremendously, that aren’t here anymore. So some people are going to have to step it up.”

The Braves have missed the playoffs four consecutive years, and the once-perennial division favorites are picked to finish anywhere from second to fourth by most pundits.

“I would love for everybody in America to know exactly what we’ve got and how we’re going to be, and for us to be the favorite,” Jones said. “[But] there’s a lot of unknowns right now…. Is this team capable of winning 90 games with the talent that’s in here? No question. Is 90 games enough to make it to the wild card? Who knows?”

Photos from AJC.com: Chipper visits Marietta school | Chipper hits 400th HR | Chipper’s career

To interact with DOB, see his main blog entry http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-braves-blog/2010/02/22/coxs-first-day…ly-be-his-last/

41 comments Add your comment

JP

February 22nd, 2010
6:14 pm

First hahahah

JP

February 22nd, 2010
6:16 pm

Chipper has to be the man at the plate or we will watch at home in OCT again. We wont spend like the Stankees

BravesfaninWis

February 22nd, 2010
6:17 pm

BravesfaninWis

February 22nd, 2010
6:17 pm

No one was ahead of me when I typed “First” :)

Steve Brown

February 22nd, 2010
6:18 pm

Chipper worked his tail off during this off-season- he went huntin’ 57 times!! What a slacker.

BravesfaninWis

February 22nd, 2010
6:18 pm

That was by far the closest I have come to being first on this blog.

DOB, email me before hand and let me know when you are putting a new blog up so I can be first for once. :)

Bobby Cox

February 22nd, 2010
7:59 pm

we’d be a heck of a lot closer to 90 wins is ol’ Frankie would be the one to leave the club

MCook

February 22nd, 2010
8:02 pm

I made a comment I heard Chipper was in the weight room all winter…
He looks like crap.

Stinky

February 22nd, 2010
8:06 pm

“So some people are going to have to step it up”…said the pot to the kettle.

RomeDawg

February 22nd, 2010
8:32 pm

Hey Chipper,

The success of the offense rest squarely on your shoulders!

chem

February 22nd, 2010
8:52 pm

McCann needs to get Chipper in yoga classes.

ATL: We only get burned once

February 22nd, 2010
9:05 pm

I don’t know why we already presume Glaus as our cleanup. What’s wrong with McCann??

Dadeco

February 22nd, 2010
9:26 pm

It seems like there are too many ifs. The last few years we are depending on everything going right and that just doesnt appear to happen. If only Some of the Fillies get hurt and Glaus and Chipper have career yrs. Good luck Braves

GetwhatUpayfor

February 22nd, 2010
10:43 pm

All the if’s never work out. Its to big a gamble….but what the hell, Play ball!

atlbravesfan

February 22nd, 2010
10:50 pm

What did chipper jones get a new tattoo of????

atlbravesfan

February 22nd, 2010
10:51 pm

nevermind, overlooked that. ha

hmmmmm.........

February 22nd, 2010
11:16 pm

Well if we struggle we could always trade for Laroche again.

Braves Forever

February 23rd, 2010
2:50 am

Adam Laroche should be a Brave now!! I know he wanted a multi-year contract and the Braves will be sorry they didn’t give him a two year deal…

Braves Forever

February 23rd, 2010
2:52 am

Who did Laroche p— off in the Braves management????

Conyers Braves Fan

February 23rd, 2010
4:23 am

Braves Forever: In answer to your question: I recall a media quote he made right before or right after the season ended as to why the Braves had not made a contract offer. It was something like “what do I have to do…..hit .400 to make them want me”. Anyway, he probably just struck a nerve with FW or JS.

dap01

February 23rd, 2010
7:38 am

We went in to the offseason needing only a right handed bat in left field.

As of now:
We still need a left fielder.
We have a big “IF” at 1st.
We have a big “IF” in the outfield.

Great offseason.

Bobby Cox

February 23rd, 2010
8:02 am

Uh oh, Hoss hurt his thumb playing golf. No matter. He still in the 3rd hole all season. Get em, Hossie!! Now, where’s Nortie? N o r t i e ??

WonderDawg

February 23rd, 2010
8:13 am

Don’t think the Braves wanted any 1st baseman for more than 1 year, because of hopes of Freeman coming up in 2011. A lot of ifs this season, but fans have to be pumped about the near future. Many stars in the making will be here the next couple of years including the young pitcher who was to be the Yankees next star, Vizcaino. Wren got him along with hard-throwing lefty, Mike Dunn in the Melky trade. The future is bright!

Jack

February 23rd, 2010
8:28 am

Unfortunately, the Braves still have Bobby to screw things up.

Tailback U

February 23rd, 2010
8:35 am

If Chipper has a repeat of last year we’re sunk already.
For all the talk about the changes it is really about
one Chipper Jones. A couple years earlier and I would
not even been the slightest bit concerned. But now I
not only worry about the age factor but the ever present
concerns about his health.

Bob Horner's Blonde Mullet

February 23rd, 2010
8:40 am

Chipper bats .264 with 18HR and 70 RBIs last season. Is it evident now that he’s 37 that he needs to sit once a week? Stick Glaus ovr there (or Infante) and Hinske at first and rest the old guy once a week. I know it’s tough to do when he makes $13 million, but geez – he’s an aging slugger and he simply can’t play every single day. When he does, he bats .260 with no power

Jesse Stone

February 23rd, 2010
8:41 am

WonderDawg- Along with the rest of our moves, Vizcaino is a big IF. Many Yankee prospects have been overhyped. For all we know, this could be the latest one. I’m sure not many Braves fans had heard of him before the trade.

dap01

February 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

Bob Horner: I agree, Chipper needs to sit periodically, not just when hurt. He is much more productive.

Also, McCann needs to be rested more often. Ross is very capable.

PMC

February 23rd, 2010
8:47 am

It’s sort of unbelievable that this is his 18th spring training.

I have become a bigger fan of his over the years too. At the very least it seems like Chipper really cares about winning. I hope he can hit around .300 and drive in a lot of runs this year.

ann lewis

February 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

sounds like business as usual. don’t you wish you had Frenchy to blame again. Time for this bunch to go. I hope Frenchy leads the field with the Mets. Go Braves

DogTheMan

February 23rd, 2010
8:58 am

We have tried n the past to resurrect players wh ohad nothing left. BJ Surhoff, Raul Mondesi, to name two. Why can’t we go ahead and admit we are a low budget team, pinning our hopes on players who may or may not be past thier prime. Let’s give Heywood a chance and start putting pieces together that are not bargain basement hopefuls. WE ARE A .500 TEAM!!! Chipper will get hurt, Hudson will need a shrink and then get hurt and balls will continue t drop into center field.. ENUFF SAID!!

Joe Simpson the Great

February 23rd, 2010
9:16 am

Chipper is to old to be getting Tattoos.

bwash21

February 23rd, 2010
9:22 am

LaRoche ended up signing a 1 yr deal w/ AZ for 4-5 Million. He easily would’ve done that w/ us for 4 Million. I can’t believe we’d want injury proned Troy Glaus at 2M instead. 1/2 the games, 1/2 the money. I hope Freeman is ready to play at Turner Field.

No use for Choker Jones

February 23rd, 2010
9:27 am

I hope Chipper expects more of himself than what he has done over the past few years.

I get so tired of him acting like he is so put out with the media or anybody everytime he is interviewed.

I will never forget the time my 6 year little boy met him. He was in such amazment that Chipper was in 5 feet in front of him. He had a baseball he wanted Chipper to sign. Chipper ignored him. I mean he would not even look at at him. When I asked Chipper to sign his ball he huffed and puffed, rolled his eyes and eventually signed it. He never looked at my son nor did he say anything to him.

I say trade him while we can get something for him

Braves73

February 23rd, 2010
9:34 am

I think every team/player feels very “optimistic” in spring training that “this” will be the year. I am not so sure that this new lineup will produce in a manner that our genius GM planned. If you look closely, we basically are hoping that Glaus stays healthy (which he hasn’t done throughout his career), play first base (which he has never done consistently), and hit 30 + homers. Anything less than that would be a failure. The rationale here is that we gave away a solid run producing first baseman (Adam Laroche who signed for…somewhere between $4 to $5 mill for two years), excellent fielding, and could have fit the Braves budget…not to mention good friends with Chippy.

I see this move as Wren trying to show what a “genius” he is by going bargain basement on an injury prone,out of position1st baseman. He did the same with the bullpen and he will certainly pay (ironic) for not fielding the very best team for the money.

collegeballfan

February 23rd, 2010
9:40 am

All teams are subject to the “if” equation. Some just on injuries.
The Braves have a lot of “if’s” this year. But not on the pitching side. There is enough talent there to overcome injuries.

NCbravesFAN

February 23rd, 2010
10:13 am

Braves73- Your acting like we expect Glaus to play 162 games, hit 35hr and win a gold glove. We dont need or expect that. Give me 140games .270, 25, 80 for 1-4 mil and that is a STEAL.

Laroche wanted 30 mil for 3 yrs from us. He turned down the same from San Fran a week or so before he got stuck with Arizona on a 1 year deal.

We didnt need to invest in a second-half only, left handed swinging, long term contract wanting First baseman (OR DAMON!!). We have other needs, did we fill them all? No, but we didnt give up any top prospects nor did we block any from making their way to the big club! I am happy with the offseason and look forward to a great year!

Jesse Stone

February 23rd, 2010
10:44 am

I can’t be happy with another offseason of not addressing our needs. Happy with mediocrity? Not me.

Jared

February 23rd, 2010
3:05 pm

its certainly not great… but how many players in MLB would be thrilled with .264, 18, 71…

I, for one, am glad I won’t have to watch another .240 first half from Laroche this year. Braves aren’t offering any 1B more than a year because of Freddie Freeman. They’d be stupid to do that, which means you people that expected them to are, well, stupid.

DD795

February 23rd, 2010
6:29 pm

Macon boy

February 23rd, 2010
8:55 pm

ann lewis…………….Frenchy is a quitter…………….

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