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My Most Intriguing Brave

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This post was originally featured on Right Down Peachtree, the sports blog of Atlanta Magazine. Because Atlanta Magazine no longer has an online sports section, I decided to repost it here.

ChipperIn 2007, Jay Busbee and I began what has become a tradition: we made a bet on whose favorite team would win the season series. Our wager pit Busbee’s Braves versus my Mets, with the loser having to pen a post on their favorite version of the winner’s team. Because the Mets and Braves played to a tie in ’07, with both teams winning 9 games, Jay and I decided we should both write for the other’s site. Ever the admirer of pure dominance, Jay wrote about the ’86 Mets and I, ever the connoisseur of awkward interest, wrote about the ’79 Braves.

Going in to the 2008 baseball season, Jay and I discussed another bet. Our bet was the same, but this year’s wager had a twist: the loser was to write about the most intriguing player on the opposing team. Truth be told, I was sure I was going to pull out the victory. The Mets were again favored to win the division and the Braves were supposed to be the fodder superior teams like the Mets ate for lunch. Unfortunately for me, however, sometimes the fodder feeds first. So without further ado, I present the most intriguing Brave in Atlanta history: Larry “Chipper” Jones.

According to legend and “The Mainstream Media”, Chipper Jones owns the Mets. Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the figurative, “I will destroy you because I can” sense. Stories have Chipper leading the charge and carrying the Braves almost single-handedly past the Mets every game, and twice during the playoffs. No matter who was pitching, or no matter what other Brave could hit the ball, Chipper would come through. Through rain, sleet, or snow, Chipper Jones was a “Met-killer” and New York’s most hated adversary since Reggie Miller.

But when myth is separated from reality, we find a different story. The legend of Larry Jones becomes no longer Chipper. Superman becomes just another dude with a cape.

(Speaking of, don’t you think it’s odd that both Superman and Spiderman both worked for the press? If that isn’t a case of the media becoming the story, I don’t know what is. But I digress.)

In 190 games against the Mets, the illustrious Mr. Jones has hit .329, slugged 39 home runs, driven in 123, and posted a .422 on base percentage. Of course, these are great numbers, but they are not too far off Jones’ career average of .310, 33 home runs, 110 RBIs, and a .404 OBP. Considering Jones has played 15 years, and there are 15 teams in the National League he has played against, Chipper has had just a little bit better than one full average season’s worth of numbers against the Mets.

What does not get reported, at least to my knowledge, is that Chipper Jones actually hits better against another team. You wouldn’t know from the stories, but Chipper Jones actually owns the Phillies. Of course, not in the figurative sense, but you knew that.

In the same amount of games he has played against the Mets (190), Chipper has torched the Phillies, hitting .341, clubbing 41 home runs, driving in 144, and has a sick .461 on-base percentage.

So where are the articles discussing Chipper Jones as a “Phillie-killler”? Do Phillie fans ride Chipper as much as Mets fans? Do they chant “Larry” when he comes to the plate?

Maybe I am out of the loop. Maybe I am the only person flabbergasted that Chipper Jones hits the Phillies better than he hits the Mets. Maybe he should have named his daughter Veterans or Citizen’s Bank.

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