Chipper is back with Braves, but not to stay (and not to play)
Chipper Jones arrived in Braves camp on Saturday, but there will be no comeback. Jones retired at the end of the 2012 season, and he said he has had absolutely no second thoughts.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Braves love to talk about how young they've gotten, about how athletic they've gotten.
"You get the old guy out of here, you get more athletic," Chipper Jones said Saturday.
The old guy was back but not to stay.
The old guy had a pretty decent year in 2012, but by his account he never once thought that retiring now was the wrong decision. From the time the Braves lost that wild-card game to the Cardinals until he threw a ceremonial first pitch on Saturday at Stetson University, he said he didn't even pick up a baseball.
"I nearly threw out my arm throwing out that first pitch," he said.
Chipper is back, but Chipper is not coming back to play. He arrived in Braves camp only for a short stay, and he arrived to find a locker in the coaches room and a fungo bat with his number on it.
"I don't even want to put that uniform on," he said.
He wants to hang out with the players, hang out in a clubhouse where his word will still go a long way but in a clubhouse that must now belong to someone else.
Jones is 40 years old, soon to turn 41. He had a winter of banquets and celebrity golf tournaments.
He was one of the stars of the show at the big baseball writers' dinner in New York, and that night he made a joke about a comeback.
There will be no comeback.
"I have no ambition to go into the weight room and spend the hour or hour and a half it would take," he said.
No, he's retired. He seems to be happily retired.
He's back with the Braves, but not to stay.