Philadelphia – Chipper Jones’ has had four kid-sized royal blue No. 10 National League All-Star jerseys hanging in his locker all weekend in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
That’s enough to add to the anticipation he already feels about playing in his eighth and final All-Star game Tuesday in Kansas City. Getting to take his four sons, Matthew, 14, Trey, 11, Shea, 7, and Tristan, 6, for the first time will make it all the more special.
“It’s going to be a blast, can’t wait,” said Jones, who was out of the lineup Sunday against the Phillies to rest his sore knees but was available to pinch hit and will be available to play Tuesday in Kansas City in front of his boys.
“They’re jacked up, man, ready to go,” Jones said. “I’m sure they won’t get much sleep tonight.”
In past years, Jones has gathered up his All-Star teammates and flown them on his chartered private jet to the game, but this time he’s going back with the team to Atlanta to get his sons, who are flying back from vacation in Miami, and they’ll fly to Kansas City on Monday. His parents are meeting him there from their ranch in Texas.
Another person Jones is eager to spend some time with in Kansas City is Hall-of-Famer George Brett, who’ll be the grand marshal for the players’ parade Tuesday leading to the game. Jones is just three RBIs shy of breaking Brett’s record for all-time RBIs by players whose primary position was third base. Brett had 1,596 RBIs in 21 years with the Royals. Jones had 1,594 entering Sunday in 18 years with the Braves.
Jones last saw Brett at the 2008 All-Star game in New York, and actually lived beside him one year in spring training when the Royals trained in Baseball City near Orlando. Jones grew up watching Brett as a kid.
“I liked his style,” Jones said. “He was a down and dirty, gritty ballplayer. Sweet swing. Could hit anybody and every time I happen to see him play, he would get a big knock to a win a game.”