For the Atlanta Braves, the goal has always been to win a World Series for retiring manager Bobby Cox. Now its not just to win one for Cox, but now for ailing star Chipper Jones.
Jones will undergo surgery on Saturday (August 14th) to repair a torn ACL he suffered while fielding a ball in Houston earlier this week. He will miss the remainder of the season while he recovers.
After a dismal start to the 2010 season, Jones had picked up his production in the last two months, prompting manager Bobby Cox to say that Chipper was swinging the bat the best he had seen in two years.
The poor start prompted Jones to contemplate retirement. After a week long ordeal, he announced that he would wait until the end of the season.
Now Chipper, is relegated to lead team cheerleader, as he will not be able to contribute on the field as the Braves have their first real shot at making the playoffs in nearly five years.
As the Braves make the playoff push, some combination of Omar Infante and Brooks “Clutch” Conrad will replace Jones in the lineup. Currently, both are in the lineup as All-Star Martin Prado recovers from a broken pinkie.
How often though, can you replace a legend with an All-Star. Omar Infante made it to the 2010 All-Star Game as a utility player. Now he will get to prove his worth as he will likely continue to be in the starting lineup as the season winds down.
Now Chipper has a big decision to make, will his career be bookended by torn left ACLs (Jones tore the same ligament in 1994)? Or will he give it one year, just to prove to himself that he can come back?
Once a believer that with the success of the Braves this season that Jones would end his career after this season, I now expect Jones to return next season more than anything to prove that he can come back from such a devastating injury at this point in his career.
But as the second best hitter in Braves’ history Chipper Jones prepares to go under the knife, the team’s new 2010 goal is now clear.
Win one for Chipper (Jones), and win one for the skipper (manager Bobby Cox).