Cardinals vs. Braves: How Classless Braves Fans Ruined Chipper Jones' Sendoff

Ron Juckett@ronjuckettContributor IIIOctober 5, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 05:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves breaks his bat as he hits an infield single to extend the game in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during the National League Wild Card playoff game at Turner Field on October 5, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Cardinals won 6-3 to advance to the National League Division Series.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It is never easy to see your favorite team get hosed, and boy did the Atlanta Braves get absolutely hosed by that infield fly rule call with one out in the eighth inning.

When Andrelton Simmons' pop fly fell between a stopped Matt Holliday and Peter Kozma, it should have been a single and a one-out bases loaded situation, with the offense trying to come back from a 6-3 deficit.

Instead, we saw a 20-minute delay, as fans threw debris and bottles all over Turner Field, forcing both teams to retreat to their dugouts while the situation and field cleared up.

There certainly is no question that the All-Star umpiring crew assigned to this game got the call wrong. In the close to 40 years I have watched baseball, I have personally never seen that ruling for anything that far away from the infield dirt.

As bad as that call was, however, the mini-riot that ensued was equally as embarrassing.

This should have turned into a night that celebrated one of the greatest Braves players of all time in Chipper Jones and the standing ovation he received stepping up to the plate was as warm and emotional as you could ever wish to see in sports.

With last year's September collapse and Jones clearly saying before this year started that this was his last season, this should have been the giant group hug between the city and the man who was so instrumental to their success for so long. His uniform number was cut into center field.

Instead of that last at-bat moment, which saw him reach base to extend the game, we will remember the botched call and the delay.

Should the fans have been upset? Without question, and they should have immediately voiced their very loud displeasure. If manager Fredi Gonzalez had decided to throw the fit that fans actually wanted to see and had been kicked out of the game, it would have sent the fans howling with delight through the rafters and perhaps spurred the Braves on.

For a guy that played so well and did it so elegantly, this was the worst possible way to end Jones' career.

As a team, the Braves gave their star one more chance to shine at home.

The umpires and fans, on the other hand, will make the fact that this was Jones' last game a footnote, and that is as sad as his retirement.