No telling what the Marlins have in mind as a tribute for living Braves legend Chipper Jones when he plays his final game in South Florida on Wednesday. But, if it has anything to do with Livan Hernandez's 15 strikeout performance against the Braves in the 1997 NLCS, Jones probably wouldn't include it among his favorite parting gifts.
Jones said home plate umpire Eric Gregg's extra-wide strike zone that day at Joe Robbie Stadium still causes him to shake his head.
"Saw that on MLB (Network) the other day and I was like, 'Good Lord, I couldn't hit some of those pitches with a telephone pole," Jones said. "And Livan still thinks they were strikes. Talked to him the other day in Milwaukee and we were kind of reminiscing. He's like, 'Man, I could have pitched until I was 80 if I got that strike zone every day.'"
Jones, 40, is retiring after the season. No active player has played in more games -- or homered more times -- against the Marlins than Jones has during the course of his career, which began the same season the Marlins entered the majors.
Of his 40 homers against the Marlins, Jones said the one that stands out most was his shot off Ricky Nolasco on June 8, 2008, at Turner Field in Atlanta. It was his 400th career homer.
"Your milestones, they stick out in your mind," Jones said. "Obviously, 400 home runs, that's a lot of trots around the bases. That's probably the one that sticks out to me the most."
Jones said the end is starting to sink in as he makes his final visits to cities and ballparks around the majors.
"It's starting to hit home now," he said. "I've had a lot of last trips into cities this year, but the ones in the East are a little more special because I've got such a history with the Mets, the Marlins, the Nationals and the Phillies. I've got three more cities, and one last home stand. It's starting to get to me a little bit."
As for the Marlins, specifically, Jones said, "We've had some epic battles down here. The years that the Marlins ended up winning the Word Series, those were some pretty good teams. Seeing Joe Robbie, or Pro Player, or whatever the hell that stadium was called, packed for a baseball game -- with 75,000 or 80,000 people -- that's a memory that you don't forget."
Jones is not in the starting lineup for the Braves tonight. Either is Giancarlo Stanton for the Marlins. Stanton is dealing with soreness on the left side of his abdomen. He said it's not a big deal and expects to be back in the lineup on Tuesday. But manager Ozzie Guillen indicated that Stanton could be out a couple of days.
"It's something you have to be careful about because that thing can go for weeks," Guillen said. "I'd rather him to miss two games than miss the rest of the season, because that injury can really put you down for a little while."
Marlins: 1. Petersen, lf; 2. Hernandez, cf; 3. Reyes, ss; 4. Lee, 1b; 5. Ruggiano, rf; 6. Dobbs, 3b; 7. Solano, 2b; 8. Brantly, c; 9. LeBlanc, p.
Braves: 1. Bourn, cf; 2. Simmons, ss; 3. Heyward; 4. Freeman, 1b; 5. Prado, 3b; 6. Uggla, 2b; 7. Ross, c; 8. Baker, lf; 9. Hudson, p.
Umpires: HP -- Bill Miller; 1B -- CB Bucknor; 2B -- Dan Iassogna; 3B -- Vic Carapazza
Stanton had his own headline for John Buck's game-ending flyout in Sunday's 11th inning: "The walkoff that never happened."
Buck's shot was caught in the Bermuda Triangle, the deepest recess of the ballpark, by Cincinnati's Drew Stubbs.
When asked about it Monday, Buck chose his words carefully.
"My kid thought it was awesome I hit it so far," Buck said, with tongue in cheek. "I walked in the door and Brody said, 'Daddy, you hit it so far!' I looked at my wife and said, 'Did you tell him to do that?' I was able to find some happiness that he thought it was cool I hit it that far."
Obviously, Buck described his feeling as "frustrated."
"I knew I got it, but I know where I play," Buck said. "I hit it good. But I know how deep it is. It was probably disheartening to see the one spot where it could land and not go out of the park, or not hit a piece of the wall. That's where I decided to hit it."