Being average is not being in a slump

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 16, 2002

All The talk lately about the Atlanta Braves has been the fact of the sudden resurgence in production at the cleanup spot. Well, its true Chipper Jones finally broke out of his slump, and is again hitting the home run ball that eluded him for much of the year.

The thing is, has he really been in that big of a slump? He hasn’t been hitting those massive home runs that we have came to expect from him over the years, but he still has been driving in runs.

How can you say a man who leads the team in on base percentage at .426 is in a slump. He has the highest batting average on the team at .321, and he is first on the team in slugging percentage at .506.

So he went 103 at bats between May 9 and June 10 without hitting a home run, he still has 73 runs batted in which leads the team.

He’s

tops on the team with 26 doubles, and third on the team in home runs with 16. He also leads the team with 77 walks. For someone who was supposed to be in such a slump those numbers don’t look too bad.

The sudden change is that now he is performing like the superman that we are all used to. He was performing at an average rate for a major league player

before, it was just not what everyone had come to expect from him. The thing is if you are going to start performing at a super human rate the end of August is not a bad time to do it.

After a game against the Cardinals when Chipper hit to enormous home runs he had this to say. &uot;Anytime a guy is swinging the bat well it’s a combination of things, but part of it is I am seeing the ball better. When I get my pitch I am not missing it, and I am getting it with the the fat part of the bat, and that’s a big thing. Early in the year I was getting the pitches to hit I was just having trouble getting the fat part of the bat on it. I don’t really know what changed between now and then, I just know I am going to try and ride this wave as long as I can&uot;

Well, I am sure fans are enjoying seeing him hit the long ball again, but as long as he makes the plays, and drives in runs does it really matter how he does it? As long as he is producing in October will anyone care how exactly it gets done. Whether it is the walk off home run that wins the world series, or a bloop single that scores the winning run from third they still win don’t they.