It's easy to sit at home or in the stands and judge players for not performing up to the expectations that we the fans have for them. But we have to remember that after more than 145 games this season there's not a player on the field who isn't hurting in some way. The Atlanta Braves 40-year old third baseman Chipper Jones lays out the pain he plays through:
"I've had seven knee surgeries, so it feels like somebody is jabbing me with a knife in the knee joint with every step," says the future Hall of Famer trying to coax his 40-year-old body through the final month of a 20-year career.
"And sometimes the back just says, 'Nope, not gonna do it today.'"
Chipper's done what he can to get on the field as much as he can this year, and I'm glad he knows enough at this point his career to know when he needs a day off. The Braves are right there knocking at the door of the playoffs, and Chipper knows this team needs him at 100% in October. He's prepared himself all season for playing baseball in that final month. In many ways, the entire team has been coddled through the season in order to be fresh for the stretch run and the playoffs.
Let's hope that when that single-elimination game rolls around, or when those short do-or-die series are all that matters, that the Braves players will have plenty left in the tank to give any team a run for their money.