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Jones chats with fans online08/11/2004 6:41 PM ET
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones chatted live with fans during an online chat. Jones discussed subjects ranging from moving from the outfield back to third base and his role as a team leader.
Paul_Buitron: What did playing left field teach you about playing third base and do you think it made you a better third baseman?
Chipper Jones: It made me appreciate missing third base. It didn't really teach me anything. Out in left it could get boring at times. I lost my focus in left a lot. That doesn't happen at third base.
James_Davies: Chipper, do you think you will win the NL East pennant, NL title, and even possibly the World Series this year?
Jones: I think we'll win the NL East. While I'd like to be optimistic going into the postseason, I'm also a realist. There are other teams with more talent. But as we've seen in the past, it matters who is the hottest at the time. Right now, we're as hot as anybody. We'll have to see if that's still the case at the end of September.
Base_Ball_4: How has being a mentor to Adam LaRoche affected the way you approach your own game every at-bat?
Jones: Every at-bat is a learning process for me. I hit before Adam in the order and I know he'll be asking how the pitcher pitched to me. I have to be able to relate that to him. If I can let everyone behind me know what to expect, that should be something they can use to help them and have every opportunity to be successful.
Susan_Durant: Chipper, what does an extended rain delay do to your mentality towards the game?
Jones: Rain delays stink because it's hard to turn the adrenaline back on. You'd much rather go out for your three hours and have it taken care of in those three hours. You go back in, change your shirt and get dry. Some guys take extra batting practice or look at their at-bats to stay mentally focussed. Other guys play cards and get away from it. I've done a little bit of all three of those things throughout my career.
Vince_Jarocki: Hey Chipper, what do the Braves need to do to have a successful postseason, and do you think the Division Series are too short?
Jones: I don't like the five-game format. I think it's a dangerous series for everybody. If you run into a hot pitcher or two, like we did last year with the Cubs, it makes it real tough. Heading into the postseason, we need to be hot offensively. Our pitching has shown they'll keep the opposition to a minimal amount of runs. We just have to score the runs to put us over the hump.
gator73082: How's your new adjustment in your batting stance working for you? Is it contributing to your recent surge?
Jones: It's definitely getting better. Any time you make a major adjustment, you're going to go through an adjustment period. Last week, I got some results and that was encouraging. This is a humbling game. Every time you think you're out of the woods, you get hit with an 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts like I did last night.
Vince_Jarocki: How have some of the younger players like Chucky T. (Charles Thomas) and (Johnny) Estrada impacted you this season?
Jones: Johnny has been a professional hitter from day one. Watching his approaches all year has been a pleasure. He won't overpower you, but he'll spray the ball all over the park. Chucky T. is a guy that plays with a lot of excitement. That's good for the older guys to see because some young guys quit working when they get up here. Chucky won't be one of those guys. He's very coachable and wants to hear what you have to say because he knows you've been through pretty much every situation possible.
chippersbabie6: Chipper, Who would you say is your closest teammate on the team?
Jones: Probably Smoltzie. We've been here the longest and really bonded over the past few years as we've taken the leadership roles. We play golf a lot on the road and during the offseason. There's nobody that knows what it means to be a Brave more than Smoltzie and I.
1chipper0: Chipper, you've been doing very well at the plate since the break, do you feel that 100 RBIs are now in reach by the end of the season? Good luck to you and the rest of the Bravos!!
Jones: I really don't think about it that much. To be honest, I gave up on that number a long time ago. With 50 games left, I pretty much need 50 more RBIs. It's not impossible, but it's a tall task. I'm working to get my average back up and help the team win every night.
1chipper0: Chipper, out of the three other teams that are currently in either first, or leading the Wild Card, who would you personally like to face in the postseason?
Jones: I think the National League Central has a lot of great teams that have the ability to go a long way in the postseason. If the Wild Card comes out of the Central, we'll probably have to play the Cardinals in the first round. With (Larry) Walker, I now like to call them the 'Yankees of the Midwest.' But their pitching can be scored upon. If that happens, anything can happen in the postseason.
mr_beisbol: Chipper who is your favorite opponent for the World Series?
Jones: The Indians were my favorite because we won.
chipperzgrl: Hey Chipper! my name is Jacquelyn and I was wondering when you made the transition from high school ball to your next level of play, what did you do to help you adjust to your new surroundings?
Jones: I tried to blend in as much as possible and worked as hard as some of the other draft picks did. I think once your peers see you working as hard as everybody else they tend to respect you more. Being a first-round pick, I came around a lot of prejudices. But once they saw I was willing to work hard it turned a bunch of those skeptics into admirers.
Sheryl_Massey: Hey Chipper! I am so glad the Braves are up at the top, especially after everyone said they'd never make it this year. I never doubted for a minute. What is your favorite memory with the Braves? I am sure there are many. Thanks! Keep up the good work.
Jones: There have been so many. Obviously the 1995 World Series. Also, the big series I had against the Mets to wrap up the MVP in 1999 was huge. Winning 12 consecutive division titles and watching the likes of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz was awesome. All of those are great moments.
vickjr1: How did the Braves get out of the slump before the break?
Jones: Same formula that has worked throughout the years. We had good starting pitching, solid defense and timely hitting.
tinkerafb: Hi, Welcome back to third base! I was wondering why you don't wear your socks up high anymore?
Jones: I have some bad ankles and have to wear high top spikes to support those ankles. The pants up around the knees doesn't make for a good fashion statement with high-top spikes.
cbloc: Who's your favorate football team?
Jones: Florida Gators and Pittsburgh Steelers.
rodster23: Chipper, I think your such a great role model for kids. My question is, how do you stay to grounded with all the media?
Jones: A lot of experience. Over the years you get burned and learn from it. You have to be guarded in what you say. Some personal issues became very public a few years ago. So I've learned to just focus on the game itself and my contributions to the team.
Cary_Irvin: Who was your favorite team as a child?
Jones: Los Angeles Dodgers.
drew237: I understand that earlier in the year, after your hamstring injury, there was talk about moving you to first base. Is there any chance we will see you occupying the 3 spot?
Jones: I doubt it. Bobby is pretty set in his ways. I'd rather hit third, but it seems like I've been demoted to the ranks of bodyguard for J.D. Drew. I've accepted that and I'll do it to the best of my ability.
1chipper0: Chipper, how has the hammy been?
Jones: It's getting better. I feel it every once awhile when I'm coming out of the box or when I'm running the bases. But it's not nearly as bad as it was when I was playing the outfield. That was a big reason for the move back to the infield.
Base_Ball_4: Chipper, have you had a chance to talk to Mad Dog (Greg Maddux) on the phone since his 300th win?
Jones: I haven't. But I will soon. I know he was getting bombarded the last few days. I want to let him get those out of the way. So then when I do talk to him, I can give him the proper response that is warranted.
sthrnbell82: Chipper, how did you keep your spirits up and positive while nursing your injury during the first half of the season?
Jones: It was tough. Watching and not being able to contribute when on the DL, is real tough. I knew I had to stay positive. My role is more than being a player. I also have to be a leader. So I helped a lot of the younger guys out as much as I could when I wasn't able to play. At the same time, I concentrated on my rehab and trying to get better.
Jones: I'll take one more question and then I'm going to go get ready for tonight's game.
bethany: What is the best part about being an Atlanta Brave?
Jones: Playing for Bobby Cox is number one. He's the ultimate manager to play for. In this organization, you know you'll have a chance to win every year. Being a part of this run has created a tremendous amount of pride within this organization. When I retire, I'm going to be very proud of things that were accomplished here in Atlanta. It was certainly great to be part of the equation. I'm very grateful to have been here for it.
Jones: Thanks for taking time to chat today. I had a lot of fun and look forward to continuing our bid for a 13th consecutive division title.
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