Will he or won’t he?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2010

As I’ve written in this newspaper many times before, Brett Favre is one of the most tired topics in sport.

The constant “Will he or won’t he” wears on my nerves, as I’m sure it does many people.

At a certain point, the player starts to overshadow the game, which is almost never a good thing.

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For all of those reasons, I can understand why many people are calling for Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones to go ahead and make up his mind in regards to retirement.

In 2009, Jones posted career lows in home runs, runs batted in and slugging percentage, while also hitting just .264, his lowest batting average since 2004 and the second lowest of his career.

He made it clear that if his struggles continued in 2010, it could be the end of his baseball career.

Well, things haven’t gotten any better for one Larry Jones. Coming into last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Jones was hitting .234 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .366 slugging percentage.

If the season ended today, Jones would have the lowest batting average and slugging percentage of his career and the second-worst on-base percentage, behind only his rookie season of 1995.

So, rather than having him contemplate retirement for the rest of the season, there are those out there who want Chipper to make a decision now, rather than later.

But, I can’t bring myself to agree with this line of thinking. There was a time when I thought the Braves and Jones should go their separate ways, but now that the possibility of Jones spending his entire career in Atlanta seems assured, I want Jones to take all the time he needs.

Imagine if Jones announced his retirement today, and then proceeded to get his swing back on track. What if he went on a tear like the Chipper of old?

Should he then be forced to keep his word on retirement?

Unlike Favre, Chipper’s retirement decision appears to be largely performance-based.

For Chipper, he still wants to be in uniform. He just doesn’t know if he should keep on going.

A retirement announcement would be like a white flag from Jones. He would be throwing in the towel four months too early. He would basically be telling the entire world he can’t cut it anymore.

So much of baseball is psychological that I can’t help but think that would hurt Chipper’s performance even more.

Plus, the chemistry and camaraderie for this Braves team is undeniable. Chipper is the veteran leadership this team so desperately needs.

For now, let Chipper and the Braves focus on sending Bobby Cox out on top.

The rest can wait.

Nick Duke a sports writer for The Messenger, and he can be reached at nick.duke@Troymessenger.com or on Twitter at Messenger_nick.