Finally, the great day has come: This weekend will be the last chance Chipper Jones, one of the most merciless Mets-killers of all time, will ever have to torment the Mets in front of their fans in New York.
The Atlanta Braves are in town for their final visit of the year, and Chipper is coming, too. He has said that he's retiring at the end of the season, and if he really means it, this visit to Citi Field is his last hurrah here. (He will have one last chance to kill us, in Atlanta, near the end of the month.)
But forgive me if I'm a tad suspicious. I've seen the retirement-and-unretirement scenario play out enough times to know that it can happen with Chipper, too. In football, for example, there's Brett Favre. In baseball, the unretirement of the Yankees Andy Pettitte, a notable Met-killer, was not welcome news.
So, even though Chipper is hobbling around on gimpy knees, he is still hitting over .300. And whenever he plays against the Mets, he always finds a way to make life miserable for the team and its fans. I wouldn't be surprised if he uses this weekend to torture us just one more time, lest we forget him.
Not to worry. No real Mets fan will ever forget him. We'll never forget, for example, that he named his son Shea. Sure, now he argues that it was just the sound of the name that he liked. But that's a tough explanation for any Mets fan to swallow. We'll always believe that he chose this name for his son to remind us all cruelly of how well he always hit at Shea Stadium.
My often-repeated hope is that Shea Jones grows up to be a Met and torments the Braves for a couple of decades. Meanwhile, his father is back in town, and my advice to Terry Collins, the Mets manager, is the same advice that too many Mets managers have ignored, and paid for it: "Why would you EVER pitch to Chipper Jones? I'd walk him intentionally, even with the bases loaded."
That would still be true if he unretires at age 65. Even if he has to be escorted to home plate in a wheelchair, there's no doubt that he'd still hit homers against the Mets.
So long, Chipper. Enjoy your retirement. And don't even think about making a comeback. You've killed us more than enough already.
Pictured above: Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves waits to bat against the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Sept. 5, 2012)