Player: Chipper Jones - 10 / 3B
Full Name: Larry Wayne Jones
Birthplace: DeLand, FL
Height: 6'4" Weight: 230
MLB Debut: 09/11/1993
Chipper: ‘Hunting is a little like baseball’
Braves third baseman’s other skills featured in ‘Buck Commander’ DVDs
By CHIPPER JONES
As told to Carroll Rogers
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Chipper Jones plays the game of baseball about as well as anyone who has ever played. His friends also will tell you he’s an outstanding hunter.
For Jones, the two sports have always walked hand-in-hand. And they still do. Read More >>
Oct 27, 2009 - He's one of the best switch-hitters ever to play the game...
- By Monte Burke / Forbes.com
The Braves third baseman talks about staying sharp, mentally and physically, during the offseason--and gives his prediction on the World Series.
Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is a bit of a throwback baseball player. He's played his entire 16-year career in Atlanta and will most likely retire as a Brave. He's one of the best switch-hitters ever to play the game, and the only one to boast a batting average over .300 (he's at .307) while slugging 400+ home runs (he's hit 426). The 37-year-old, winner of the National League MVP Award in 1999 and a six-time All-Star, is a surefire, first-ballot Hall of Famer, according to Sports Illustrated.
Jones says his off-seasons--which include fun as well as conditioning work--are a big reason for his continued baseball excellence. He spends a good portion of his time at Double Dime, his 9,000-acre ranch in south Texas, hunting deer, turkey and quail.
We caught up with Jones while he waited to board a flight from Texas to his home in Atlanta. He talked about how he spends his off-season, the state of the Braves and the upcoming World Series.
Forbes: How do you spend your off-season?
Chipper Jones: The first part of my off-season is really all about spending time with my boys and just being dad. I also spend a lot of time hunting on my ranches in Texas and Kansas. Those two things are really my therapy. As the off-season gets about two months old, I start to work out and begin swinging the bat a little to stay loose and get back into the game. I play some golf, as well, as a lot of the guys have charity events during the off-season.
Forbes: You say you find hunting therapeutic. How so?
Chipper Jones: I love the solitude of being in a tree with a bow and arrow. It's my time to relax, get away from the game and everyday life and go head-to-head with a huge buck in the woods. It's something I really enjoy and grew up doing. I think that's true with a lot of the guys who play baseball.
Forbes: Your ranch is very close to the Mexican border. Earlier this year the body of an illegal immigrant was found on the property.
Chipper Jones: Yeah, it was disturbing. I was shocked. We always knew our ranch was one of the paths that illegal immigrants would use from Mexico, but to have someone at the ranch find someone dead on the property [evidently from dehydration] was really unfortunate. It was sad, honestly.
Forbes: Do you keep in touch with teammates over the off-season?
Chipper Jones: I do. I see a lot of the guys at the different charity golf events, and I play golf and hunt with a few of them too. Rochey [Adam LaRoche] and I own the ranch in Kansas together, so I see him more than I might even like!
Forbes: How do you stay in playing shape over the off-season?
Chipper Jones: I hit the weights pretty hard after those first couple of months off. I really try to add mass and strength, because I feel as if I lose weight during the season. It's important for me to put on some extra muscle, while at the same time stay loose in my hips and shoulders. So, I also swing the bat and stretch quite a bit as well.
Forbes: Near the end of the season, you mentioned that you were considering retirement after next season. Now that that the season is over, do you still feel the same?
Chipper Jones: I was really frustrated with how the middle part of the season went for me. I have such high standards for myself and I will never settle for being a mediocre player. I will work extremely hard to make sure that doesn't happen again this year.
Forbes: The Braves were in the wild-card hunt this year. Give us your scouting report on next year's team.
Chipper Jones: We have a chance to be very competitive this year. We are probably one bat short right now, and I would like to see us get a right-handed presence in the middle of the lineup. Even if we cannot, I know we have the foundation in the lineup and a heck of a pitching staff, to make a run at this thing next year.
Forbes: Give us your World Series prediction.
Chipper Jones: The Yankees are so deep and so offensively sound. It is hard to bet against them. But--and I say that loudly--the Phillies are so resilient and so talented offensively as well. I really believe they can win if their pitching staff keeps them in games early and late. I believe that will be the key to the World Series. Regardless, we should have some real fireworks.
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