Now that he’s back with the Braves in a coaching and advisory role, Chipper Jones wants the Atlanta part back, too. The former Braves third baseman decided to move back to the Atlanta area after a year and a half living a majority of the time on his ranch in southwest Texas.
And he could put an offer on a house as early as the end of this week.
“I came to the realization that this isn’t home for me,” Jones said by phone this week from his ranch near Carrizo Springs, Texas. “I like it out here, and during hunting season I could totally be out here. But it’s not where home is. Home is Atlanta. It’s always going to be Atlanta. I’ve lived in Atlanta for 20-plus years. I’m happiest there.
“I’ve got a job now. I got my boys. I’ve got family, friends, the ability to entertain myself — whether it’s going to a sporting event or going to a movie or taking my bride out to dinner or playing golf with my buddies. It’s home. It took me coming out here to realize that.”
Jones and his wife, Taylor, plan to drive to Atlanta on Thursday to begin their housing search, likely in the Roswell area, where he lived previously, and close to where his sons Trey, 15, Shea, 11, and Tristan, 10, live with their mother, Sharon.
“I miss my boys,” he said. “I miss being within a few minutes of them and being able to see them when I want.”
Jones, 43, said he started thinking seriously about moving back to Atlanta full-time when the Braves hired him as a special assistant to baseball operations, which was announced in mid-December. His role is still evolving, starting with the two weeks he’ll spend working with Braves hitters at the end of spring training. But he wants more. He had been considering co-owning a condo in Atlanta with his agent and best friend, B.B. Abbott. But when he thought more about it, he wanted the full-time move.
“I don’t want to just be a face that shows up every once in a while,” Jones said. “And I know that’s the way it’s going to be if I’m living out here. There are going to be times when Freddie Freeman is going to call me up and say, ‘I need you to look at me, I need you to analyze footage.’ Jace Peterson might say, ‘Hey man, can you come down and give us a third set of eyes?’ I want to be there for them. I want to be a phone call away. I want to be a 30-minute drive away. I don’t want to be five states and 1,500 miles. I’m taking this job seriously.”
Jones originally decided to move to Texas to help his parents with the ranch and rejuvenate their deer-hunting business. He feels that’s well in hand now, and it’s something he can continue doing by flying out to host hunts six weekends a year from October through January.
Now that deer-hunting season is ending, Jones was left living 10 to 15 miles away from the closest town and with his wife having to drive her 5-year-old son Bryson an hour each way to kindergarten every day. Putting him in school in Atlanta will be much simpler.
The hard part will be leaving his parents, Larry and Lynne Jones, who live a couple of miles up the road on the ranch.
“That was a hard conversation,” Jones said. “But they understood. We were excited about coming out here. We tried to make it work. During hunting season, I’m more than happy being out here because I’m up at 5:30. I’m up all day and we’re scouting, we’re hunting, we’re guiding, we’re busy. And it’s easy. But now everything’s done, and all there is is four hours on the road every day to take Bryson to school and there’s not much going on out here right now. I’d rather be in Atlanta full-time. And I’d rather come back and forth when it’s time for me to be out here.”
One option Jones had when contemplating working for the Braves was to commute from his lake house in Blue Ridge during the summer months. But he doesn’t like that idea as much as being back in metro Atlanta.
“There are probably 10 different factors (that went into this decision), but at the end of the day, when you lay your head on the pillow in Blue Ridge or you lay your head on the pillow in Texas, I don’t feel like I’m home,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m home when I lay my head on the pillow in Roswell.”