Braves legend and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones returned to Atlanta and threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of the NLDS Thursday.
If you thought the fact that the pitch was received by Homer the Brave – the team’s mascot – was curious, well that’s because it was.
Reports have surfaced today that Homer was pressed into the service of catching because the Braves players were boycotting Chipper’s first pitch.
Apparently a decision was made not to associate with Jones during the ceremony as a result of his prediction on a local radio show that the Dodgers would win the series in 4 games. Which turned out to be 100% correct.
Who appointed Atlanta as sheriff of the baseball disrespect police? This revelation does nothing for a club who’s reputation for oversensitivity was highlighted by its response to a couple of homers celebrated by young players at the end of the season.
Now they are shunning one of the most decorated players in their organization’s history for going on to the team’s flagship station and giving an unbiased opinion on what he thought would happen in the series. Grow up.
So Jones didn’t give the expected “rah rah” lip service. Big deal. He’s been rooting for the club all season long on his twitter account (and if you don’t follow @RealCJ10 you should).
The Braves refused to catch the pitch because they felt disrespected. But if they had a real respect for the game, at least one of them would have swallowed his pride to dignify a retired local legend.
Instead, this is what Chipper got.