Chipper Jones’ comments about retirement (udpated)

Before taking a few questions from reporters today, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones opened a hastily called news conference at his locker stall with this statement regarding speculation that he would announce his retirement. He did not read any prepared text or use any notes:

“What started out as a conversation about my future with the Atlanta Braves that should have been kept quiet, apparently leaked out. That’s unfortunate, for the circus that has ensued since then. So I apologize for that.

“I think it’s best that we concentrate on what we need to concentrate on, and that is the fact that this team is in first place, that we are trying to get into the playoffs. Any more talk of the ‘R’ word – retirement — will be reserved until the end of the season. Let’s let Bobby have his just due, let him get the attention that he deserves.

“Honestly, I have not made a decision either way. Let’s face it, we all know sort of which way I’m leaning, but I think it’s best that we put this all behind us. Somehow the cork got taken out. Well I’m putting it back in right now. So I’m not … I don’t want to hear any more talk about retirement until the end of the season. Once I get a chance to speak at length with my support group at the end of the season, then I’ll make a decision, and I’m sure you guys will be the first to know. You guys will probably know before I do.”

He then took several questions before a Braves PR official cut off the interview because the clubhouse needed to be closed as the game approached.

So door’s not closed for you possibly returning?

“No, it’s not closed. It was never closed. This is just me getting together with the organization, talking about my future, what the options are. Unfortunatly it slipped out that I was dead set on retiring. You know, quite frankly that’s not the case….

“I’m on a first-place ballclub, playing third and hitting third, which is exactly where I like to be. So I’m going to spend the rest of the summer concentrating on that, and trying to send Bobby off in the best way possible.”

Do you move forward with a normal workload, not taking a couple days a week?

“Granted, there are going to be times when the body doesn’t feel like going out there, and I’m going to be quite frank with Bobby. But I expect to be in there 90 percent of the time.”

Are you out of lineup today to take care of this, to do this press conference?

“No. I actually came to the park preparing to play. I was mentally ready. But Bobby wants to keep me fresh. I fouled a ball off my foot last night; it’s pretty sore. But I can certainly play, and I’ll be ready to come off the bench and back up Brooks any way I can.”

What’s been the reaction of teammates to all this the past couple of days?

“Good. I think they’re relieved. It’s really unfair to them to have to answer all these questions. Like I said, it was no one’s intention for whatever conversations I’m having with the organization, to slip out. You guys all know that retirement is a possibility in the very near future, and I think we might have jumped to some conclusions. I’m going to put a cork in it right now and I don’t want the guys to have to answer any questions: How do you feel about Chipper retiring? How do you feel about Chipper staying? The bottom line is that I’m going to be here playing third base for, at the very least, the next 3-1/2 months.”

Is health the biggest factor in your decision, or is declining production the biggest factor?

“There’s a lot of different factors that go into it. Obviously family is No. 1. How my body responds on a daily basis will tell me a lot. But I’ve got four boys at home, and they’re playing, and quite frankly I’ve missed a lot of first. I’m getting the  itch to be a full-time father, but that being said, I still love competition, I still love playing the game. And I still have two years left on my contract.” (smiles)

Why have this thing today?

“I was concerned with the firestorm that it started. Like I said, outside of my circle of family and the people that I talked to in that room – these are the only people that I’ve said anything to. I don’t know where it came from, but it got out, and now we have to address it. It’s unfortunate. It’s the last thing I want to be doing. But like I told John [Schuerholz] in our meeting just a minute ago, ‘I’m going to go put a cork in it now, so the guys and myself don’t deem it a distraction.’ Let’s get it over with, get it out in the open. I’m here, I’m playing the rest of the year. Any decision I make on my future will be made in the offseason.”

Why did you have the meeting Tuesday?

“It’s been an ongoing dialogue. It’s not something that was a first-time thing. That’s what I don’t understand. Off and on, I’ve had talks with John and Frank and Bobby for six months, so this is nothing new.

“This is just something that popped up out of the blue, and I wanted to get it over with now, and not talk about it anymore. Like I said, we’re in first place. I’s a slim lead in the National League East, and this is not a good time to have a distraction, so we’ll put a cork it in now and get past it.”

42 comments Add your comment

brave

June 17th, 2010
6:48 pm

How’s the weather looking for tonight’s game?

Shane

June 17th, 2010
6:52 pm

NC Brad

June 17th, 2010
6:54 pm

First!!!!!!!! i’ve waited so long to type that. Chipper should go out however the heck he wants too 18 years of hall of fame ball. he deserves our respect. Lets keep Troy Frank!

Mike

June 17th, 2010
6:54 pm

YYYYYEEEESSSSS!!! Thank you Larry. We need you in the clubhouse.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

June 17th, 2010
6:57 pm

I assume the quote is reasonably faithful – have to admit I am impressed by the eloquence.

Reid Adair

June 17th, 2010
6:59 pm

Chipper may not have known who leaked his discussions about retirement, but rest assured one or more of the media members standing there knew who did it.

Hopefully they’ll respect Chipper’s request to let this issue sit until after the season. Unfortunately, for several reasons, I doubt it.

Quint in ATL

June 17th, 2010
7:00 pm

That’s the best thing you could say, Chipper. Just keep playing and keep your head up. You have given me and lots of other Braves fans many fond memories of exciting plays at third, left field, and especially at home plate. Thank you for your service to your team.

taxman kenneth

June 17th, 2010
7:02 pm

Does anyone actually think Chipper will walk away from 28 million dollars? I don’t think so. He will sit on the bench and pinch hit and still make his fat checks. He is not crazy enough to walk away from all that money because all of the high priced players are only in basebakk for the money now and he is no different from the rest of the high priced overrated players. We don’t have any more dedicated players like Aaron any more. I wish we did.

Brock

June 17th, 2010
7:02 pm

I agree with everything Chipper said. Even though he’s still a pu$$ in cleats.

The Abs Man

June 17th, 2010
7:05 pm

Translation: Braves and Chipper FAR APART on $$$$ buy-out package.

To think anything else is naive.

Redstick19

June 17th, 2010
7:14 pm

taxman-

you must not be talking about the same Chipper Jones that most of us know. I’m thinking of the one that constantly re-works his contracts and spreads out payment on said salaries so that the team can sign other free agents or make trades. Yes, he’s hurt a lot these days, but to question his loyalty to the team and the game is in poor taste and downright fiction. So, for which team does the Chipper you speak play? Because it surely isn’t the one that has given everything he can (and even some money back) for the Braves for 15+ years.

Redstick19

June 17th, 2010
7:17 pm

taxman-

and another thing… can you honestly say that you would turn away from $28 million if someone at your place of employment was offering it to you?

Trey

June 17th, 2010
7:32 pm

NC Brad – How does it feel to get that smug confidence feeling let up when you think you are first when you did not get first?

NO MORE BOBBY

June 17th, 2010
7:44 pm

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ron Mexico

June 17th, 2010
7:45 pm

Are you ready for me to come back yet? I know something about the “Dirty South”.

snyderman

June 17th, 2010
7:58 pm

How does Manager Larry Wayne Jones Jr. sound?

turkeycaller

June 17th, 2010
8:00 pm

Larry wanted to be a distraction. If he was any where near the faithful individual some try to portray him as,he would get out of the way. Jones if you aren’t going to retire then shut your damn big mouth and for once don’t be the hot dog you truly are. Cox is weak as water to play you if and when you want. There are deserving players who should get the opportunity before you Larry. They certainly shouldn’t have to sit just because you are a spoiled baby. When you and Cox leave , it still won’t be quick enough. You are the furtherest thing from a team player there ever has been. Be careful with that terrible injured ring finger. Something warm might helpso you know where you can put it.

J D Stuckey

June 17th, 2010
8:27 pm

I still would rather have Chipper at the plate in late August than ANYONE else on the team. I will never forget how he put the team on his back and spanked the Muts in ‘99. For all the haters out there let’s see your big league resume. Give the man his due, it is entirely possible he may have been discussing his “future” with the club to give the front office an idea what kind of $ they can commit to signing a bat at midseason and beyond. Just because it seems to be the norm to have a spoiled self centered athlete put himself before the team does not mean it is the case with Chip. Have some of you have been following his career at all? Class act all the way and 1st ballot Hall of Famer. Here’s to a great year, now is the time for all REAL Braves fans to support our team.

brandon

June 17th, 2010
8:37 pm

I’m just tired of this story. How’s Infante feeling these days? Who’s in the bullpen now? Is the TEAM a legit contender? Time for a new article. How about a weekly article on one top prospect per week instead of the Brett Fav…I mean Chipper Jones retirement debacle????

Braves Fan Since "80

June 17th, 2010
8:56 pm

Chipper should be batting 9 if he were in the lineup tonight (behind Hudson) he is no leader….. about the go out anyway he wants….how many years did he play for free with the Braves? Would the Braves have signed him to the contract he has if he had said… I am going to play 100 games a year and bat under 250 and lead the infield in errors…. He would have been playing with Andruw. Andruw never was a defensive liability…. we have yet to replace his defense and only Glaus his pop…. Chipper play ball or go home and shut up….those are the terms like it or not!

Michael Procton

June 17th, 2010
9:25 pm

No surprise here. These days, when the going gets tough, Chipper gets going.

JRW7

June 17th, 2010
9:42 pm

Is 4 homeruns worth $14 million these days?

Rhino

June 17th, 2010
10:17 pm

Chipper can do whatever he wants. He’s given the Braves a hometeam discount so many times over the years. Give him a break. He’s a hall of famer and an Atlanta icon. I wish he’d go straight into a coaching role.

http://www.rhinorant.com

jadarm

June 17th, 2010
10:41 pm

Hey, I’m like 88th ….or something like that.

BravesLover

June 17th, 2010
11:04 pm

You walk away, there is no pay. That’s my Johnnie Cochran imitation. Buyout…no way jose. You make more than this teacher in one day than I’ll make in a year. Your meal money is more than my daily salary…and they feed you guys a feast at the ballpark. Show some guts Braves and don’t pay a cent for him to walk. The writer’s make Chipper sound more intelligent than he is when shown on tv. Ride of off in the sunset with your gnp of a small country. I’d rather watch young guys who are hungry and hustle every play.

ScottBravesfan

June 17th, 2010
11:31 pm

Braves fans are idiots. Good luck finding a 3rd baseman next year that gets on base 40% of the time. Those don’t grow on trees.

And Taxman, how old are you? You must be delusional because Hank Aaron played for the money as well. Everyone in every professional sports league on Earth plays the game to get paid. It’s their freaking job. Do you take less money at the local Diary Queen because you love making Blizzards? Of course not you are going to try and make as much money as possible. There are only a handful of people in this world that can play baseball or any sport at the professional level. They deserve as much money as they can get because the owners all make a ton of money. And Chipper Jones has taken less money to stay in Atlanta. He could have left in 2000 to play for the Yankees and make a lot more money but he was loyal to the Braves and Bobby Cox. I didn’t see any other players redoing their contracts so the Braves could go and sign Tim Hudson to a contract extension back in 2005, but Chipper did. So show some respect.

what goes around

June 18th, 2010
12:27 am

Chipper has done what has been asked of him and more. He has been loyal to the organization unlike Glavine and others. He has played in the outfield when he was asked to help the team unlike Smoltz who had to approve his role as a starter or closer. He will also step aside when he feels the game has passed him by unlike Smoltz who was always full of himself and all about the cash- and even Aaron who limped around in Milwaukee for more money after he should have retired. He has also refrained from being critical of an organization that has deserved criticism.

Chief Pitchanono

June 18th, 2010
1:20 am

I think unless Chipper’s production really improves this will be an on going thing the entire season. Lets just hope he gets productive and can help the team, if not I hope he steps up and forces Bobby to use him as a platoon/bench player, I think in the end thats probably where he will help the most this year. I don’t think money is the issue here, Chipper cares way too much about his career numbers to stick around for that long watching them fall,

wjones

June 18th, 2010
7:13 am

taxman kenneth

“June 17th, 2010
7:02 pm
Does anyone actually think Chipper will walk away from 28 million dollars? I don’t think so. He will sit on the bench and pinch hit and still make his fat checks. He is not crazy enough to walk away from all that money because all of the high priced players are only in basebakk for the money now and he is no different from the rest of the high priced overrated players. We don’t have any more dedicated players like Aaron any more. I wish we did.”

Two things:

1. Yes, I think it is very possible that Chipper will “walk away from 28 million dollars”, provided that the people who got him the contract aren’t cheated out of any money. I can see something worked out where he becomes a non-player employee, the money is deferred over several more years, opening up the payroll for the Braves to sign more players next year. I can definitely see this happening.

2. Take a look at Aaron’s last two years in Milwaukee. Now tell me he was doing more than picking up a paycheck. He was a great, great player, and I don’t begrudge him the money (if someone pays you, more power to you, I say), but to annoint him as St. Henry is a little much.

Ricky

June 18th, 2010
7:19 am

@ NC Brad

June 17th, 2010
6:54 pm
First!!!!!!!! i’ve waited so long to type that.

******************************************************************************
Why the heck did you wait so long dude? Seriously, life is too short, go for the gusto…..!!!
Anything else on your bucket list…………….?

Fear The Turtle

June 18th, 2010
8:47 am

How many times do we have to hear “Put a cork back in it”

Melky way

June 18th, 2010
10:33 am

Bobby should realize Chipper is no longer a 3 hole hitter The way Glause is hitting,he should hit 3rd and mccann 4th,Chipper at best should hitt 5th or 6th.Bobby,please move him out of the 3 hole.

Braves Fan Since "80

June 18th, 2010
12:42 pm

Defend chipper all you want but that hometown discount has been repaid in full….. On base 40% of the time you say, subtract the GIDP, the errors and I will take Conrad who has been nominated for 2 web gems to Chipper’s 1 and that was a hot shot that washit right at him….. If the guy were Melky you guys would want to skewer him…. Melky way would be a better three hole option than Jones. Braves need to address KK and Jones to have a shot at the NL Championship. We will not win the division with Jones….. He hopefully will not get hot in July
CHIPPER was great and he got paid…..Fans Management owe him nothing but respect. Respect his wishes to walk away and be offered a spot, not negotiate his release…. Truth be told management told him to shutup or leave, Nobody would beg for his services….he would not get picked up as a AL DH His weak D is better than his Offense…. Chipper is played and in his best years he never brought the spark of nixon, crime dog, Bob Horner,TP (MVP at chippers age) dale murphy (MVP) he was simply a better hitter. Would you rather have Chip over Evans, TP, or Torre at 3B? Chipper is the great Hype

Braves Fan Since "80

June 18th, 2010
12:43 pm

Braves fans are idiots. Good luck finding a 3rd baseman next year that gets on base 40% of the time. Those don’t grow on trees…….. Must be a NYM fan

Diehard

June 18th, 2010
1:31 pm

I’m tired of Chipper’s ego. Just plain tired. When he starts putting up Martini #s, I’ll get excited again.

dk

June 18th, 2010
2:01 pm

Does chipper ever stay to the end of the game when his not playing? never see him come out and shake the hands of his fellow players!!!!!!!! greatest braves comeback in history where was larrry? On 400 headed home!!!!! Time to go !!!! This team has no room for a spoiled brat!! They deserve better!

David Justice

June 18th, 2010
3:02 pm

retire racist scum bag!

Juan Gonzalez Garcia Riverez

June 18th, 2010
3:05 pm

Melky way

June 18th, 2010
3:10 pm

Brave fan I Know you were not reffering to me All I said was he needs to move down in the line up IDIOT!You must be the Met fan!

turkeycaller

June 18th, 2010
5:24 pm

Larry, If you just have to stay how about playing a little ball? I’m not talking about this whining play when I want to BS. Play some real baseball if you really think you can. But the truth is you are as washed up a piece of overpaid plunder as this game will ever see. You and Cox will be the death of a pretty damn good club if given the opportunity. I don’t even see how you hunt without babying up about something. Of course you just sit in a shooting house and wait for deer to eat bait. Not a real hunter and not a real ball player or teammate either. This year is not about you Larry. This team will make sure of that. Jerk.

BUBBA GUMP

June 20th, 2010
2:25 pm

Bones Jones………………Get some relief ointment on and stay out there

John in Chattanoga

June 20th, 2010
8:19 pm

My god, wake up fans. I work in professional baseball, I see what these guys go through every day. To suggest that Chipper hangs around for the paycheck is silly. He’s a pro’s pro. When he feels the time is right, he’ll hang it up, no matter the 0’s due him.

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