He’s not joining Alex Rodriguez in the booth, but another Hall of Famer will be analyzing games for ESPN.
ESPN has hired Chipper Jones to broadcast 20 games as a color analyst on their “Wednesday Night Baseball” broadcasts, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report on Saturday.
Jones is replacing David Ross, the former Braves catcher who left the position at ESPN to take over as manager of the Chicago Cubs.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but if I hadn’t played baseball, if I had gone to college, I would have majored in communications,” Jones told the website. “I wanted to be a broadcaster. I really have fun talking the game. I feel like I have something to impart upon the people tuning in, and I have fun doing it. I get the chance to do it on probably the biggest stage you can, maybe next to ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ (on ESPN).”
Jones, who belted 468 home runs and had 2,726 hits in his illustrious career with the Braves, said he is confident his vast major league experience will come in handy in his new role.
“If I had to sit in the ESPN booth and talk about religion or politics or astrophysics, obviously I would be out of my element,” Jones said. “But this is something that I’ve lived my whole life. I’ve stood 60 feet, 6 inches from the best in the world, and I’ve played third base for two decades, and I have a lot of input and a lot of knowledge on the subject. I know it takes a little something to be able to get your point across, but that doesn’t intimidate me.”
Jones, who was the No. 1 overall pick of the draft by the Braves in 1990, also said seeing former teammates transition to broadcasting gives him more belief that he can follow suit.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that my way is the way, but I feel like I can do a lot like Smoltzy (John Smoltz) and Glav (Tom Glavine) and Frenchy (Jeff Francoeur) and those guys, who have become pretty good at their craft in trying to get across what it’s like to be in the game.”
According to the report, ESPN got a taste of Jones’ potential last year when he was invited into its “Wednesday Night Baseball” booth during a broadcast in Atlanta by Ross and play-by-play man Jon “Boog” Sciambi. Sciambi used to do play-by-play for Braves games with SportSouth and FSN South from 2007-09.
As for Rodriguez, he will have one less person in the booth with him as ESPN decided to move Jessica Mendoza out of the “Sunday Night Baseball” booth, The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported.
Rodriguez only will be calling games with Matt Vasgerian, with Buster Olney returning as the dugout reporter. That means the pressure will be higher on A-Rod, who will be the prime focus of the network’s flagship baseball broadcast.