Former Braves Chipper Jones enjoying retirement

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When the Atlanta Braves played a recent Sunday night game in cold, wet conditions on a travel night, Chipper Jones smiled as he watched on TV.

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Lucy C. Laney High School's Khadijiah Cave accepts her medal as an Outstanding Female Athlete, which was presented to her by WDRW Channel 12's Sports Director Kevin Faigle during the G.A.M.E.S. Awards Banquet at the August Marriott Convention Center on Tuesday, May 7. 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Lucy C. Laney High School's Khadijiah Cave accepts her medal as an Outstanding Female Athlete, which was presented to her by WDRW Channel 12's Sports Director Kevin Faigle during the G.A.M.E.S. Awards Banquet at the August Marriott Convention Center on Tuesday, May 7. 2013 in Augusta, Georgia. Sara Caldwell/staff

“Golly,” the retired Braves superstar thought at the time, “those guys must be miserable.”

In the first year of retirement, Jones spent Tuesday night in Augusta as the keynote speaker for the Augusta Sports Council’s Greater Augusta Medals for Excellence in Sports (G.A.M.E.S.) banquet at the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center.

An eight-time All-Star who won the 1999 MVP award, Jones played 19 seasons with Braves, posting a .303 career average with 468 homers, 1,623 RBI, 1,512 walks and 1,409 strikeouts.

One of the game’s greatest all-time switch hitters, the third baseman is expected to be a shoo-in, first ballot Hall of Famer.

“I don’t really worry about that,” he said. “I walk away from the game with my head held high. I had a great career. I had a great time doing it. I have no regrets. I’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

Jones, 41, said he missed baseball briefly when he threw out the first pitch on Opening Day in April. But after undergoing seven knee surgeries, he said his knees couldn’t take another season. Besides, the father of four boys, whose ages range from 7 to 15, said he stays busy with his sons.

“I just didn’t have the desire in me to do it anymore,” he said. “It wears on you. It takes a toll.”

Since baseball season started, Jones has kept busy. He attended the Final Four in Atlanta and then came to Augusta for the Masters Tournament. He also played in Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s golf tournament and served as grand marshal Sunday at the NASCAR race at Talladega.

“I’ve gotten to kick a bunch of things off my bucket list,” he said, adding he has no plans on becoming a coach or manager in the near future. “I’ve lived out of a suitcase for 23 years. I’m ready to settle down and do some things.”

Now that he’s in retirement, Jones said he’s enjoyed watching his old team play.

“Up to now, they’re pretty streaky,” he said. “They’re going to be that way. When they’re good, they’re going to be really good and hit a lot of home runs. When they’re bad, they’re going to be really bad and strike out a lot. Hopefully, the pitching can solidify things.

“The one good thing about having a stacked lineup is on most nights somebody’s going to get you. They’ve done that more than the opposing pitcher has got them.”

G.A.M.E.S. WINNERS

ALL-AROUND MALE ATHLETE: Gold–Joseph Ardrey (Richmond Academy), Silver–Brendan Douglas (Aquinas), Bronze–Clint Hardy (Greenbrier)

ALL-AROUND FEMALE ATHLETE: Gold–Natasha Dicks (Aiken), Silver–Amanda Murphy (Augusta Prep), Bronze–Christina Nicole Thomas (Westside)

AMATEUR STAR (MALE): Orlando Perez

AMATEUR STAR (FEMALE): Nikki Boudreaux

COLLEGIATE STAR (MALE): Matt Atkins (USC Aiken)

COLLEGIATE STAR (FEMALE): Ashley Watts (Paine College)

OUTSTANDING MALE ATHLETE: Gold–Ahmed Hill (Aquinas), Silver– Frank Booker (Westside), Bronze–Eric Collins (North Augusta)

OUTSTANDING FEMALE ATHLETE: Gold–Khadijiah Cave (Laney), Silver–Nicole Fuller (North Augusta), Bronze–Taylor DuPree (Greenbrier)

RISING STAR (MALE): Ron Coleman (Butler)

RISING STAR (FEMALE): Lindsay Wallace (Davidson)

OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Augusta Christian football

OUTSTANDING COACH: Mike Freace (Westminster, girls soccer)

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wildman
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wildman 05/08/13 - 04:50 am
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Gold

DuPree deserved Gold! What a great kid.

razordog
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razordog 05/08/13 - 10:34 am
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Outstanding High School Team...

If these awards were for "Greater Augusta" what happened to Curtis Baptist? Didn't they recently win a boys high school basketball championship for the GEORGIA Independent School Association (GISA)? Their award was won in Georgia, and Augusta Christian won their football championship in SOUTH CAROLINA (SCISA).

Riverman1
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Riverman1 05/08/13 - 11:22 am
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Great looking young people!!!

Great looking young people!!! Sports have a positive lifetime effect on so many.

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