Baseball fans who spent the past 48 hours in front of their computer clicking away in hopes of putting of Chipper Jones in the All-Star game via the National League's Final Vote can take a break now — or if they're an Atlanta Braves fan, they can turn their attention to voting in Michael Bourn. That's because the former seven-time All-Star, and everybody's sentimental choice to make one final All-Star appearance before his impending retirement, has been officially named to National League team for the eighth and final time.
Both the Braves and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien broke the news via Twitter late Tuesday afternoon. Jones will be replacing injured Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who will be forced out of the Midsummer Classic with a hamstring ailment that has twice landed him on the disabled list since May 13. However, Kemp is still scheduled to take part in the Home Run Derby on Monday night.
But the overriding story here in that Jones, who announced his plans to retire at season's end this past spring, will get the moment he so richly deserves, and the moment fans so overwhelmingly desired.
"I've savored each and every one of them." said Jones in reference to his previous All-Star selections. "It's a tremendous honor. Making All-Star teams, in a certain sense, is a popularity contest. But when you go to a bunch of them, you separate yourself as the elite of the elite. Everyone who dons a Major League uniform is an elite ballplayer. But when you get to an All-Star Game, that puts you in a different category."
Jones also spoke about how much his selection means to his family, as this will be the first time his four young sons will attend the festivities with him.
Very cool indeed.
And now the door is open for one of the other four men involved in National League Final Vote to have their own cool moment. I suggested on Sunday that the voting would be interesting because of the Chipper Jones vs. Bryce Harper dynamic. However, at last check, David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals actually held the edge over Harper for second place, so now it will be interesting to see who prevails in that battle.
Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill (of two cycles in two weeks fame) and the aforementioned Braves outfielder Michael Bourn round out the list.
Guess which one on the four Jones is throwing his support behind?
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