I leave town for a few days and the shit hits the fans with some of my teams doings in play and outside of the box. The Mets made a kerfuffle though, when there was news that hit that they would honor Chipper Jones on his retirement tour.
I can’t really find anything sourcing it for sure (the announcement certainly didn’t come from the Mets directly), but the reaction to it was quite strong. Mostly of the “let’s not do it” variety from the Mets fans population.
Let me tell you something. I’ve spent a good amount of time in my Mets fandom dreading when Chipper Jones comes up to bat at a critical time against the Mets, and I cringe usually because the story seems to set itself. Perhaps we dread him though being a Mets killer because we would see his team 18 times a year. And let’s be fair, the Mets usually beat themselves at those times, not the other way around (Sorry to bring that up, but ’tis true).
But let me go on record to say how much this rumored honoring actually doesn’t bother me.
1.) Larry Jones didn’t just kill the Mets. Did you know he had better career numbers against the Phillies? It’s just that when it counted, Larry would come up huge against the Mets. But as I said before, those Mets teams generally beat themselves with shitty bullpens and bad thought processes. Also, let’s be real the Braves were really really good in the 1990s. I always felt that rivalry was more of a big brother/little brother variety, like “Why are you guys always picking on meeeeeee?”
2.) Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn. These guys were not only baseball legends while they played, but were lifers with one team. Those guys are hard to find nowadays. When they retired, every single baseball park practically gave them a send off that would rival any of their own players I’m sure. It’s a respect thing. And Larry Jones is Hall of Fame material, with or without the Mets killing.
3.) It’s not like the Mets haven’t done shit like this before. They’ve honored Bobby Cox with a bottle of GTS wine, and Craig Biggio with a video montage prior to his retirement. It’s a respect thing.
4.) It’s a respect thing. Hey, you don’t have to like Larry. But you have to respect him. Kind of like the Yankees. Okay, maybe not. The Rangers fan base still uses “Potvin Sucks” as a chant for a guy that hasn’t played in like 30 years. It’s a RESPECT thing at this point. But at least Larry didn’t use PEDs or steroids or anything like that. He doesn’t beat his wife, use drugs or drive drunk. He just likes H00ters waitresses and sex. Nascar too probably.
5.) He gets it. Larry gets the rivalry. We talked about this on the KinersKorner.com podcast, and that there was some awards ceremony and Larry had to give a speech. He thanked the New York fans for reminding him what his real name was. Though I hated him for his “Put on their Yankee gear” quote in 1999, he came around and gave the fans here a nod in the rivalry.
6.) They’re not giving a statue, people. If they do honor him, it will be a video clip montage and his GTS wine. Some have pointed out that the Mets never properly honored Gary Carter, but they’d honor Larry. I disagree. The Mets have always done right by him. They didn’t retire his number, so what? He had two good years and helped win a championship. I get that. He also had admittedly better years outside of a Mets uniform.
Let’s be fair folks: maybe the Mets have a tough time honoring their history because some of the players just weren’t good enough. I mean, who will we put on a pedestal? Tom Seaver is the only player wearing a Mets cap in the Hall of Fame, and potentially Mike Piazza will be too. I guarantee his number will be retired one day, so what’s the harm in waiting another year to officially do so? My point is, we need to take a reality check here and realize that we’ve honored the players we could with our version of the ring of honor in the Mets Hall of Fame. For me, that’s good enough for the players who were good enough as Mets but not Hall of Fame material.
I have done my fair share of Larry Jones mocking, but he gets the rivalry and realizes his place. He’s comfortable with it. I’m comfortable with some kind of send off. Let’s be nice and give him his due, but also never let him forget his name again.