How every Phillies fan should remember Chipper Jones. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Honestly, this is one of the stupidest things I've heard. Apparently, the Phillies are going to honor Chipper Jones at Citizens Bank Park tonight. Something about having a long career for one team in our blah, blah, blah - I just don't care.
There's no reason whatsoever the Phillies should be honoring Chipper Jones. Sure, he's been a good baseball player. Sure, he played for the Braves for his entire career. But why in the world as a Philadelphia Phillies fan should I give a rat's ass about that? Why should two of the best Phillies ever, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, have to waste their time giving a gift to this waste of human flesh?
OK, that last part is a bit harsh. Lumping Chipper in with other human flesh just isn't fair to human flesh. But I'll leave the Chipper bashing to others for now. This post is really about the nonsense of honoring another team's player (or manager) at the end of their career. There's just no reasonable argument for doing so.
Leave the sentiment to Chipper's fans in Atlanta (I'm sure he still has three or four out of the seven Braves fans in that town). The rest of the league doesn't owe the guy anything. Surely, the fans of the rest of the league owe him even less.
Baseball isn't the same as other forms of entertainment, where a band or performer has fans all over the country and needs to say goodbye to them. Baseball is a sport where there are rivals, bitter hated rivals. No, not in the sense that we wish harm on anyone, but absolutely in the sense that, barring exceptional circumstances, we don't like players strongly identified with teams that are our sports enemy.
To the extent that we care about this sport (and chances are that if you are reading this blog you care), Chipper has brought us actual real heartfelt misery over the years. And that's not an exaggeration. We feel the pain when he beats us. It stings. It's emotional. Not in the sense that we're going to have to start taking anti-depressants, but it impacts our emotions in real ways. That's his job, and he was good at it. But it surely has impacted all of us in negative ways and has for decades. I'm sure it's even worse for the players on the field. Why should I or they celebrate him?
Everyone is going to respond that it's about "respect" and "honor," but here those are just two words that mask a serious cases of Stockholm Syndrome. I can respect the guy's on the field accomplishments and that he's played his entire career for one team, but I'll do that for all of the two seconds it took to type that clause and then move on. Wasting the team's, fans', and players' time on a player who has beaten and abused us is absurd. And insulting to the passion that everyone has for the Phillies.
Moreover, there are dozens of players who retire every year. Why not honor them? After all, they probably inflicted less pain on the Phillies and their fans than Chipper did. And there's no doubt they're better human beings than he is (again, apologies to all humans for the categorization).
And would any of us be surprised if he pulled a Favre and is wearing a Braves uniform next year (and the year after that)? There's only so many Hooters restaurants he can frequent when he's retired on his own travel budget. I'm sure he'll get bored and need to get back on that away-game airplane to visit other Hooters all over the country. And with regular interleague play, the prospects will just multiply next year. So much to conquer, so little time.
The only silver lining here is that I am absolutely confident that the fans tonight are going to give Chipper the send-off he truly deserves. Utley and Rollins may be biting their tongues when they hand him whatever silly gift they have to on the field before the game, but there's no way the rest of CBP will do the same.
In fact, I hope the response is so loud, angry, and filled with negativity that the team (and others) realize that this crap of honoring retiring players from other teams has to stop. Barring an opposing player who has cured cancer or won a World Series or three for the team honoring him, this has no place in baseball.