Recently I posted on my twitter (@JakesBravesBlog) that I haven’t posted from my blog in so long that I shouldn’t even consider myself a blogger anymore. As my life got busier and I developed more responsibilities my blog has sadly been something that I have neglected the most. However, with Chipper Jones announcing his retirement at the end of the 2012 season I decided to make time to share a story from my childhood that involved him. Here goes:
I have been a Braves fan literally my entire life. Being born the son of Tony Tilley meant that I would inherently love four things: 1. God. 2. Family. 3. Waylon Jennings’ music. 4. Atlanta Braves baseball. When most families sat at the kitchen table to have supper, mine was in front of the TV watching the Braves on WTBS. I had fortunately come along in a time when loving the Braves was easy. I didn’t have to live through those dreadful years like my father and his father before him.
In the year 1995 I was eight years old. Like most people who followed the Braves I was very impressed with the rookie named Chipper Jones. I remember wearing the high socks in little league, just like Chipper. There was one night though where Larry Wayne Jones Jr taught me a lesson that I’ll never forget. My mom and I were shopping at the mall and I saw an Atlanta Braves shirt and on the back was the big red “10” with “Jones” right above it. I had to have it! I begged my mom for it and after some thought she looked at me and said “Well I can buy it for you and it can just be your gift from the tooth fairy the next time a tooth falls out”. My face was blank. I guess she could judge my reaction and her response to it was “You did know that there’s no tooth fairy, right?” I had no idea until that moment that there was no tooth fairy. I lied and told Mama that she wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know. However, learning that Mama and Daddy were the tooth fairy didn’t really bother me that much. I was going home with a new C. Jones shirt! As an eight year old it was about time I knew anyway.
I wore that shirt to my first braves game in 1996. I wore it again the next season and got to see Chipper hit a 3-run jack in it. I wore it a lot. As time went on I obviously outgrew the shirt. It has since been passed down to my younger brother and my nephew. Every time I see one of them wear it I think about that time in the mall. Growing up a Braves fan in the ’90s meant growing up a Chipper Jones fan. Throughout the years a lot has changed with our team. Fulton County was leveled, Maddux retired, Glavine retired, Smoltz (kinda) retired, even Bobby has moved on. But the one thing that has been constant has been number 10. I for one am going to miss him!