The Chipper Jones Master Class on Class

chipper2.jpgI don’t care for the incessant chattering between the Phillies and Mets. It’s unbecoming the behavior of champions. When my Atlanta squadron were winning 14 consecutive titles, rest assured you would not hear such tomfoolery or folderol coming from the mouth of a Brave. Heaven forfend the very thought!

I tend to think that such blathery is a Northern trait. I’ve read that, during the War of Northern Agression, Union soldiers shouted the most vulgar epithets at our brave Confederate fighters. I’ll wager that most of the prisoners at Andersonville were incarcerated for the types of offenses against the English language that one can hear in any pool-hall or sea-port saloon above the Mason-Dixon.

But I also recognize that the Atlanta squadrons I’ve been privileged to play with have a little something called class. It would not befit a team called the Braves to be anything but classy, lest they offend the memory of those noble red-skinned savages who gave us our moniker. Yes, those godless heathens might have been felled by smallpox blankets, but no microbe or pus-filled bubules could ever defeat their brutish spirit!

Class is elusive in our philistine age. So allow me to enlighten the benighted masses as to how a person can carry one’s self with class. Because if there’s anything Chipper Jones knows, it is the art of the classy gesture.

First, one should respect a worthy adversary and its partisans. When another squadron plays the game in the correct manner, you are obligated to say, “Hale fellow, well met! Would that we could meet far from the field of proverbial battle!” A firm handshake would signify that there are no hard feelings, and assures your opponent that you are not concealing any brickbats behind your back.

Second, assure that you are surrounded by men of character good and true. Nothing saps the lifeblood of a sporting team more quickly than when that team calls upon the services of mercurial men, or layabouts, or men who attempt to gain an unfair advantage.

It should go without saying that a gentleman of class pays proper respect to the fairer sex. I would never cotton to a man who would dare treat a woman in a churlish or uncouth manner. I would not care to tread on the same playing field as such a man, and certainly not to be led by one, either. In fact, were I to run across such a so-called man, I would feel duty-bound to challenge him to a duel in a manner of our mutual choosing. I am partial to fisticuffsmanship in such cases, but am not averse to pistols at 20 paces if the situation merits such dire means.

Above all, make sure that your squadron-mates do not drink sasparilla! This demon drink has corrupted many a youth–beware its thorny tendrils!

I also find that class is much more easily attainable when one has had several “movements” a day–at the very least, five or six. Remember: an empty colon is a classy colon.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with the words of one of the classiest men to put on a baseballing uniform, Jonathan Rocker.