Chipper Jones' three-run walkoff home run to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-7 on Sunday night will go down as one of the main highlights when editors compile and produce the video for the Atlanta Braves third baseman's farewell tour in 2012. It was a great, great moment.
Also, as the 40-year-old puttered around the bases and into a mob of teammates waiting at home plate, another very cool scene was unfolding a few hundred feet away in the Turner Field bleachers. That's where Emily Wynn, a 15-year-old softball player from Columbus, Ga., was celebrating the homer with her mother, sister and the other loyal Braves fans who stuck around for a ninth inning that began with the Braves trailing by four runs.
The main difference between Wynn's group and the rest of the fans who were going crazy?: She was clutching Chipper's home run ball, which she had caught on the fly without a glove but with a shoulder and elbow injury that has kept her off the high school softball field this fall.
(Emily's mother) Kelly recalled, "I think it was Emily who said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if Chipper hit one out?' I'm thinking, 'There's no way that's going to happen.'"
Emily wondered to herself, "What if he hit a home run right to me?"
Jones came through. And so did Emily.
"When he swung, it was like slow motion," Kelly said. "The ball came to us in a pretty high arc, and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh! We're about to get hit by this ball[.]'"
Emily, however, forgot about her injured arm — and the two fingers she broke last year — and reached up with her bare hands for a clean catch.
Wynn was later approached by Braves' security officials and was escorted to a spot near the team's clubhouse where Emily generously agreed to give the ball back to Chipper in exchange for an autographed ball and some caps.
But if there's any downside to the story, it's that Wynn and Jones never met during the transaction. Maybe Chipper had a good excuse — media responsibilities? medical treatment? — but it'd be nice for him to invite Wynn back for another game and the photo opportunity she regrets not requesting. That's not too much to ask after her great catch and willingness to give a cool retirement tour memento back to the future Hall of Famer.
UPDATE: Yickitty! Jones posted the following on his Twitter account Tuesday night.
Hey Emily Wynn! Get back here to the Ted, so I can properly thank you and congratulate you on a fine bare handed snag. I need a pic with u!!
Big BLS H/N: Talkin' Chop