Chipper Jones. Personally the first thought that comes to mind is how much I despised Chipper throughout his long career. As a native Houstonian, Chipper Jones and Andrew Jones gave the Astros fits over the 90′s and in the playoffs year in and year out. I hated watching Astros games late in the season or in the playoffs when we knew we would be playing the best. Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones is one of the greatest power switch hitters that has ever played the game of baseball. As a natural right-handed hitter Chipper spent 4 years training himself with drills and extra swings to train himself to hit just as good left handed as he did right. As a result he would hit .300 from both sides of the plate throughout his career. Chipper not only hit for average but hit with power from both sides of the plate and in a stacked lineup that included Fred McGriff, and Andrew Jones. With the offense the Braves were bringing to their lineup every day its no wonder they reached the playoffs so often. On top of having one of the most dominant and consisting starting pitchers as well in Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz all potential future Hall of Famers. My opinion is that Chipper will end up in the Hall of Fame one day when his time is due. Chipper had a great glove as well playing third base and even throwing out Houston Astros great in Biggio’s final career at bat which happened to be a ground ball to third base. The 2012 season Chipper Jones spent each road trip as a farewell tour saying goodbye to all the stadiums that had he had been despised at by opposing teams for so many years. Do to the immense respect Chipper acccumlated over his career and despite him playing for the opposite team just about every city he visited he was presented with a unique gift by that team and given a standing ovations after standing ovation each at bat he had in that series.. His greatness and the standing ovations given by fans of opposing cities symbolize where he ranked in popularity and talent not only in the era he played in but how he ranks all time as a great player. I’m glad Chipper is finally hanging up his glove and cleats and it was a pleasure watching him for so many years. Chipper Jones…one of the greats…What is your favorite Chipper Jones memory?
I believe pitching is the end result of preparation and hard work in the off season. I feel off season conditioning and a good long toss program should enable pitchers to keep balance and good mechanics from the first pitch to their very last. Pitching on the mound should be a mental game of perception in which the hitter perceives the pitcher as a passive strike thrower, when in reality the prepared pitcher is an aggressive power pitcher with a game plan and goals of how to approach and get every hitter out before that hitter steps into the box. I believe with a good game plan pitchers should maintain mental toughness regardless of the “stuff” they have that particular day and be able to take each outing and particular pitch as a learning experience and “live in the moment” as if every pitch were their last. Conditioning and agility and core strength of a pitcher I feel is essential to getting up on the mound and being successful as it will enable the athlete to know he is capable of at any moment throwing the pitch directly in the location desired not to the hitter but through the catcher with the proper stride length and body balance/velocity desired and with the best mechanics to protect the arm as possible. Through mirror drills, bullpens, and long toss the pitcher should be able to know their own body and be able to make adjustments on the mound to throw at minimum 2 strikes to every 3rd baseball delivered.Pitching on a mound in a game situation is nothing more of a mental game of getting ahead with a first strike on hitters, and further becomes a chess match of keeping the hitters off balance and throwing the most optimal pitches to get either strikeouts or ground ball outs. Depending on the pitcher I feel any given day there should be more groundouts than flyouts and with a good defense/infield a starting pitcher should have no problem throwing 6-7 innings. The goal of the getting the first strike on hitters is to never be predictable from one pitch to the next, yet remaining confident when the count is not in one’s favor. Pitching on the other hand can be as simple as throwing a baseball through a tire for target practice. Whats your take? Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment or reply.