The Lineup: Hall of Famers and Instant Replay

At Bat: Like the rest of baseball media, I have overlooked and/or forgotten the outstanding career of the one and only Chipper Jones. This piece should’ve been up a week ago once the Atlanta Braves’ season and Jones’ career came to a painful end in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first ever Wild Card playoff game, as the St. Louis continued their never-say-die motto.

While Jones would’ve probably enjoyed having a better performance for his last game – 1-for-5 at the plate and an error – the Braves third baseman is a shoe in for a spot in Cooperstown when the switch-hitting slugger is eligible for induction in 2018. It is not a question of if he’ll get in on his first attempt, but if he will get 100 percent of the votes.

From 1995-2005, the Braves were always in the postseason winning the World Series in 1995. Aside from eight All-Star selections and an NL MVP, Jones is one of the all-time great switch-hitters in the history of game batting .303 (2nd), with 486 home runs (3rd) 1,623 RBI (2nd) and 1,619 runs (4th). It is safe to say Jones brought a winning attitude when he was drafted and debuted for the Braves, maintained that same attitude in the clubhouse throughout his career and that that attitude will be forever a trademark of Atlanta Braves baseball.

I’d imagine it is only a matter of time until there is a statue outside Turner Field commemorating what he has done for the franchise and that he will one day return to the Braves for a position in their front office.

If you missed any of Jones’ farewell tour around the league as each team he visited for the final time honored him in their own way and the standing ovation he received right before his last at-bat – none more so memorable than his last one as an All-Star – shame on you. The only other player of our generation that will have a greater, more displayed farewell season is Derek Jeter.

On Deck: Even though Jeter has yet to announce when his last season will be, the other first ballot inductee was lost Saturday night as the New York Yankees shortstop suffered an extra-inning, season-ending ankle injury in the opening game of the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees’ captain and poster child will more than likely need surgery to repair ligaments he fractured on a play he made late against the Detroit Tigers. If the struggling Yankees offense wasn’t enough of a concern heading into this pennant series, losing Jeter is horrible news for the game of baseball.

I don’t care if you love or despise the Yankees for having an unfair advantage of figuratively being able to buy the necessary talent to contend for a championship year in and year out. Jeter is a role model for baseball’s youth and sets an example of how the game needs to and should be played by all players every day they go out and take the field.

Not to play the race card here at all, but it feels like to many of our foreign athletes don’t appreciate what they have playing big league baseball. At 38 years of age, Jeter still works his butt off and as a result had a great season as his extraordinary career nears an end. You don’t just become the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at-bats along with 13 All-Star selections by just showing up to the ballpark.

Jeter is the heart and soul of this organization and his enshrinement into Monument Park will be more a celebrated event than his one into baseball’s Hall of Fame. For all of us, I hope Jeter can bounce back quickly next year and have a nice farewell tour similar to that of Jones’ when Jeter finally decides to hang up the pinstripes.

In the Hole: It’s time to enter the 21st Century, Bud Selig and Major League Baseball.

The New York Yankees have officially been screwed due to your stubbornness and belief the game of baseball will change dramatically with the installation of instant replay. How does it feel watching the Yankees get single-handily ripped on a bad call by an umpire that could have been overturned had you allowed replay to be used on tag plays?

I have no respect for the Yankees money advantage over teams that don’t have the same financial assets, but what I don’t respect is when the game of baseball is being ruined right before our eyes in a time when the technology is at our fingertips.

Omar Infante was out by a mile and had you at least allowed replay to used for the postseason, it would’ve taken longer to just go to the replay booth and back.

The argument Tigers fans make is ridiculous as the Yankees didn’t score a single run that would’ve tied or given them the lead late in Game 2.

Here’s my counter argument: When a play is botched that badly by umpire and goes against the home team every single fan loses faith and the players feel that and can’t do enough to get involved in the game again.

Had the proper play been called – rightly by the umpire or through instant replay – the inning ends and the Yankees are only down one instead of three with six outs remaining. The fans and players both get excited on the inning-ending tag that maybe the Yankees offense finally comes alive to tie or even take the lead and be down 2-1 instead of an 0-3 hole in the series.

But the missed call allowed the Tigers to grab the momentum and suck all the life out of Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have been screwed out of a game like the Green Bay Packers were against the Seattle Seahawks.

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