Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Chipper Jones: Watch for home runs in Braves' new stadium


It wasn't quite Old-timers' Day, it just seemed like that.

The Braves' celebration of opening SunTrust Park Friday night including bringing back a number of important figures in franchise history. Among the familiar faces: Hank Aaron (who threw out the first pitch), Bobby Cox (who started the "Chop"), and Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones (who participated in a pre-game "Braves Walk" and were present for their retired numbers being unveiled).

Jones, whose autobiography, "Ballplayer," written with former Journal-Constitution staff writer Carroll Rogers Walton, has hit the New York Times bestseller list, said he was thrilled to be in attendance, likening it to when the Braves moved into Turner Field in 1997.  Here are five questions with Jones from before the game:

• On memories of 1997: "It was a race. It was a race to see who would get the first base hit. It was a race to see who would score the first run and who would hit the first home run. All of these guys are excited to put their name possibly in a record book."

• On his belief that SunTrust will be a hitters' ballpark with a lot of home runs hit: "I did a commercial here a couple of weeks ago. I walked in through the center field breeze way and it was like I was walking into a blizzard. Everything was just being sucked out of the park. I think the ball will carry really well, especially moreso than at Turner. There weren’t too many cheap homers at Turner Field. This place, I don’t think you’ll have to crush one to get it out of here."

• On what's better, being an acclaimed writer or an acclaimed ballplayer: "I’ll take being an acclaimed ballplayer. I have to thank Carroll Rogers Walton. It was two, two and a half years of getting all the content for the book. She put it together nicely. Obviously getting on a bestseller list is a huge deal. And she really had to put the screws to me to get me to agree to do this book. If you’re going to do a book like this, it’s one thing to talk about all of the good times, but you have to expose some of the warts that happened along the way as well. That was tough. But apparently it’s been well received."

• On the Braves' clubhouse and all of the amenities: "The amenities that these guys have now, I probably would’ve spent a lot less time on the DL. It’s phenomenal."

• On his favorite feature in the new stadium: "The hot and cold tub."

COLUMN: Julio Teheran, best the Braves have, struggles but wins on opening night

EARLIER: Bobby Cox, who built Braves' first time, likes their future (eventually)

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.