Chipper Jones couldnt wait to exchange his bat for his bow.
A month into his retirement, Jones already has taken hunting trips to Oklahoma and Kansas, where he killed a deer, and is now headed to Nebraska.
(Were) off to a good start, he said.
Jones has hunted about as long as he has played baseball. Hunting is a passion that often consumed his offseasons during his 19 years with the Atlanta Braves.When baseball ended, often, appropriately enough, during deer season, hunting began.
Hes enjoying himself, longtime teammate Brian McCann said Saturday before his Rally Foundations annual celebrity softball game to raise money for childhood cancer. Hes hunting and spending time with his kids. Hes loving it.
Sometimes Jones trips take him on a tour of the Great Plains.
Sometimes he goes to his familys 9,000-acre Texas ranch called the Double Dime, named that because both Jones and his dad wore No. 10 during their playing days.
Jones has been able to parlay his love for hunting into hunting shows. His first was called Buck Commander, which followed Jones and former teammates Adam LaRoche and Ryan Langerhans and country music artists Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean on their pursuit of deer.His second show, called Major League Bowhunter, is shown weekly on The Sportsman Channel.
No coincidence, the shows logo bears a remarkable resemblance to the MLB logo.
When Jones thrilled his fans by joining Twitter (@RealCJ10) in late July, his second tweet was about the Braves.
His third?About hunting, specifically his new show: For u hunters out there, I'm no longer on (Buck Commander) full time, tho u will see me on some shows. Major league bowhunter is my new baby on sportsmans.
Jones retired after the Braves season ended with a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild-card playoff game on Oct. 5.He made a costly fourth-inning throwing error in his last game, a poor conclusion to a final season in which he hit several clutch home runs, had a five-hit game and singled in his final All-Star game at-bat to go with many other special moments.
Jones hit .287 with 14 homers and 62 runs batted in this season and is considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer as one of only five players along with Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams in MLB history with at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 walks, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBI with career batting average of .300, a .400 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.
He hasnt missed baseball yet but expects he will in about four months, when Jones wont do something hes been doing since the early 1990s.
When the Braves report for spring training, he wont be with them.
Usually, around the end of January, I start getting the itch to go back and start playing, Jones said at the softball game on Saturday. Thats probably when I need to go on a trip somewhere. Ill just have to get away and not read the newspaper and not watch TV, and just kind of let them get started without me. Im sure Ill make an appearance down in spring training, just to play some golf and hang out for about a week. After that, Im going to leave it up to them.
He spent Saturday morning coaching two of his four boys flag football game before playing in McCanns celebrity softball game.
I didnt think Id be strapping on these cleats quite so soon, but here we are, Jones said.
His swing hadnt deserted him in a month Jones hit three home runs in the home run derby.
His love of the hunt gave himself and the Braves a scare last November, when he hurt his right knee after falling into a hole while hunting in Kansas. Jones heard a pop and thought for sure he would miss a good portion of his final year, but the MRI showed no serious injury.
On Major League Bowhunter, Jones and hunting partners Matt Duff and Jeff Danker video their hunts, supplementing them with overviews of the area theyre hunting and graphics of wind direction, their approach and their target area.
Jones said Danker also has killed a deer on the show.
Bowhunting is the ultimate, Jones said on his shows website, and I find so many similarities with baseball in that you can always learn new things that can improve your odds of success if you just soak up all the knowledge you can and learn from all your experiences!