Well, partings are ever going to be bittersweet.
And so begins the last voyage of Chipper Jones, pausing at the grey havens of Turner Field for a few final days before the uncertainties of the last chapter are written, basking in the glow of fellow campaigners both in and out of uniform. We hope, we believe, we pray there will be much more to the story ere the end, but fate is fickle, and nothing is certain. It’s worth reflecting for a moment on the kismet that made Chipper a Brave in the first place – Scott Van Poppel defying the draft system and the Braves publicly. Faced with the possibility that this uber-prospect would make good on his promise to attend college the Braves chose….wisely. I will leave Jones’ career summation to some worthier soul, but I think it not an overstatement the Braves great run during the majority of his tenure was founded that day.
Of the game itself, there is little to tell – IWOTM, but Niese is a pretty fair pitcher regardless, and he put the Braves in full-fledged hibernation mode punctuated only by Freeman’s homer in the 4th. Still, Hudson soldiered on brilliantly, half an inning, half an inning, half an inning onward, yielding but one hit through 6. But in the deciding frame, Murphy laced a double to left. Wright really cracked one to right, with Heyward making a spectacular sno-cone catch to momentarily keep the run from scoring, but Murphy advanced to third anyway. Hudson intentionally waked Ike Davis to set up the double play, Hairston obligingly struck out, and Lucas Duda did what sluggers do, and got into one but good to right. Niese held serve in his half, and the Mets almost tacked on more in the eight, but for a nifty double play started by Jones – it was nice to see him get a least one highlight on an oh-fer evening. Regrettably, Bobby Parnell is also quite good at this pitching business and unceremoniously dismissed Freeman, Uggla, and Ross to wrap it up.
You can’t win them all, and the team has performed spectacularly down the stretch, but it was a bit of a letdown not to make more of a go of the whole affair. In any event, keep calm and carry on. There is work to do yet, and two more home games to root for ol’ #10.