When the Braves hired Chipper Jones as a special assistant before this season, they brought back one of the franchise's all-time greats. He should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2018 and knows more about hitting and competing than almost anybody.
From a personal standpoint, Jones' retirement left a void in the clubhouse for a candid athlete who wasn't afraid to share his thoughts with the media on any subject or feel the need to run every quote through a filter. Also, he knew what he was talking about.
Those are a few of the reasons I phoned Jones to get his thoughts on the 2016 Braves. He recently put his Texas ranch up for sale, moved back to Atlanta and now spends his time with "one foot in" the organization and the other in retirement. An edited transcript of our 30-minute conversation can be found on MyAJC.com by clicking here.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
• On his advisory position with the Braves and whether he sees himself in the front office one day: "Having played so long, living out of a suitcase for 23 years, the big league lifestyle doesn’t appeal to me that much anymore. ... So if I were to get back into the game, it would be doing exactly what I’m doing, but maybe at a more advanced level. Front office work has a little more appeal to me than getting back in uniform."
• On this year's team: "I thought the club would swing the bats the way they’re swinging them now. I thought they would score more runs and, you would imagine, win more games. Unfortunately the offense sputtered coming out of the gate, the pitching was respectable to very good at times and now it seems the two are reversed. I don’t know if I would say disappointed – frustrated is the word I would use."
• On the work of John Hart and John Coppolella: "There were mistakes made by the previous regime. I give John Hart a ton of credit for coming in and realizing what the deal was and trying to fix it right away, and Coppy has followed him. I can’t tell you how exciting it is when you have a proactive general manager who’s not going to sit on his hands and let things fester. ... The previous regime would never admit to a mistake and would let it fester, and did not have the ability to get out of the hole. Coppy has shown and illustrated, ‘You know what? We made a mistake with (Hector) Olivera.’ He got out of it. And I don’t think Olivera, especially here in the Bible Belt with what happened in Washington, was ever going to play here again."
Again, for the full Q&A, click here. Enjoy.
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