I want to opine about Chipper’s historic career, about his place in the baseball canon, but there are so many smarter, more informed, better writers doing that right now and I don’t need to dilute the waters.
I want to be five years old again, just beginning to really understand baseball in all its intricacies, and watching my Atlanta Braves win the ’95 World Series. And I want to be six years old again and hate all my neighborhood friends for being Yankees fans.
I want Chipper’s career to be bookended by World Series titles. I want youth and exuberance to be shown on an equal playing field with persistence and experience.
I want to look back at my preseason predictions and laugh, both at my ambitious foolishness and at the wildly unpredictable nature of baseball in general, this season in particular. Still, I want to be smug and point out that I correctly predicted 94 wins.
I want to tell my grandchildren about being in the Ted when Chipper hit a walk-off and how the whole place came alive.
I want to believe that passion and devotion outweigh fatigue. I want to believe that the Braves deserve to win, even if their opponents work just as hard or have just as beautiful stories.
I want to stand in the bleachers and hear “Crazy Train” played in the bottom of the first.
I want to say what if? What if he didn’t injure his knee in ’94? What if he didn’t tear his ACL in 2010? But asking what if doesn’t make anything better.
I want to ask Chipper if he plans on using that nifty surfboard.
Above all, I want more. Like a child that’s had enough—too much, perhaps—but can’t understand his limits, I want more. I’ll always want to see another at-bat, another homerun, another leaning barehanded throw to first. I want to see Chipper go toe-to-toe with inevitability and come out on top. I want the odds to pile up against him like an insurmountable tower, then crumble in his wake.
I don’t want to say goodbye. I want to say thank you. I want to Chop.