LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.—I sometimes wonder how strange it will be to someday see the Yankees without Derek Jeter, or to see the Lakers without Kobe Bryant, or the Patriots without Tom Brady.
Chipper Jones is helping prepare me for that day. Jones might be a notch below on the superstar meter as the trio above, but he played for the Braves longer than the three above have been with their respective teams.
When on Friday, for the first time in 21 years, the Braves opened spring training without Jones, his retirement really began to sink in. Though Jones’ production declined as injuries mounted in recent years, this is a man who will be every bit as difficult to replace as will Jeter, Kobe or Brady.