Chipper Jones’ Hall of Fame-caliber career came to an unsatisfying end Friday night, thanks in part to a controversial call in the Braves’ 6-3 loss to the Cardinals.
And guess what? Jones foresaw the whole fiasco.
On Sept. 21, Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution his feelings on potentially playing in a one-game wild-card playoff to determine who plays in the NL Division Series and who goes home. "Anything can happen in one game — a blown call by an umpire, a bad day at the office … at least in a two-of-three-game series you have some sort of leeway," Jones said.
As it turned out, a controversial call did help send Jones home and ruin the Braves’ chance to play the Nationals in the NLDS.
With the Braves trailing 6-3 in the eighth with one out and men on first and second, Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons hit a pop fly to left that fell between Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday. However, left field umpire Sam Holbrook called the infield fly rule right before the ball dropped — halfway out into the outfield.
Instead of bases loaded and one out, Atlanta was left with men on second and third with two outs. The fans were so upset they began littering the field with debris, causing an 18-minute delay. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez protested the call. Atlanta’s next batter, pinch-hitter Brian McCann, walked to load the bases, but Michael Bourn struck out to end the inning.
"There’s a lot of guys in there trying to lay blame. And I just kinda kept my mouth shut, ’cause, you know, ultimately I feel I’m the one to blame," said Jones, who had only a ninth-inning infield hit and made an error that led to a three-run inning and erased Atlanta’s 2-0 lead.
"That play right there turned everything," he said of the error. "And that’s what I’m most disappointed in."