By: Barry Garret
Chipper Jones will be hanging up the spikes at the end of the year. This could be the end of an era in sports, an era in which players give 100% on every play, every game. This was an era where it was more about love of the game than money or championships.
I am not dumb enough to believe these players did not want to win championships, but they played for more than that. They played for their teammates, they played for their cities. I don't think we will ever see players in any sport spend their entire career with one team.
I began to ponder this and I had to ask myself, who is to blame for this? The owners? They are just running a business. The players? They are not totally to blame either. I came to the realization the blame lies with us, the fans. We live in a time where we are consumed by money and championships.
In this time we live, we don't care what it takes we just want to win, and make the most money. It's a win at all cost mindset that we have. This is a pretty sad thing when you think about the most iconic figures in sports. What is it we remember most about them?
Mickey Mantle, he was a Yankee. Ted Williams, played for the Red Sox. Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles. Dan Marino, Dolphins. Larry Bird, Celtics. Manic Johnson, Lakers. Of course their are exceptions. Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan(but who remembers he even played for the Wizards).
This win at all cost mentality has cost a lot of players that same kind of stature. This is why we drove Lebron out of Cleveland. We told him if you don't have rings you will never be one of the greats. We have told our players make all the money you can. This is why Pujols left St. Louis, where he was loved. These players like Chipper are a dying breed.
When I was a child I watched sports because I loved the game, now I have developed a win at all cost attitude myself. I have watched Chipper play his whole career with the Braves. It is only now that I appreciate his dedication to his city and his teammates. His dedication to the game. Players today don't seem to posses these same qualities. Unless we change our attitude, players like this would become a thing of the past, just like playing and watching for the love of the game.