The Mets begin a three-game series against the Braves in Turner Field tonight at 7:10 pm.
Earlier this week, I got a chance to talk with Braves blogger Carlos Collazo of TomahawkTake.com to get a sense of what Atlanta fans are feeling heading into this series.
Vinny Cartiglia: Over the years, Chipper Jones has become a true nemesis to the Mets and their fans. While I love to hate him, I have a deep respect for what he has meant to this rivalry and the game of baseball. Can you describe what Chipper has meant to Braves fans? And, how have Braves fans reacted to what will be his last season in MLB?
Carlos Collazo: Chipper has always been the anchor in the lineup, on the field and off the field. … While many people expected Chipper to take a step back from his usual numbers, he has done nothing but spark the lineup so far this season. When he is healthy, he is still arguably the best hitter in the lineup. Braves fans have known since around 2009 or 2010 that Chipper’s time was about to be over. His age and his injuries kept adding up and we all know that he can’t keep playing forever. So, it wasn’t really a surprise when Chipper announced that this would be his final year. I don’t think people will realize just how big an effect he has had on the team until he is gone for good. His production in the three hole and at third base have been so consistent for so long that people just expect it. It will be a wake up call early on in 2013 for all of us.
Vinny Cartiglia: For me, the Braves have always been the Mets number one rival. Do Braves fans view the Mets in a similar fashion?
Carlos Collazo: The Phillies might be the Braves biggest competition right now, but the Mets are definitely our rivals. As much as I would like to see it, there is not as much intensity with the fans when Atlanta and Philly go head to head. Some Braves fans might have cooled off a bit with the Mets rivalry because of their ownership situation, but after being swept by the team in the first series it is definitely back. Most Braves fans and Mets fans I have talked to legitimately hate each others teams and I think it is fantastic. Rivalries are always good in sports. … With Chipper going through his last season the Braves-Mets rivalry will be as good as it ever has been.
To get an on-the-field update about the Braves, check out Ted Berg’s Know Your Enemy video Q&A with Craig Calcaterra of HardballTalk.com: