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BJ Upton Cites New Motivation For Potential Turnaround
Atlanta Brave BJ Upton got a hit last night as the Braves completed their sweep of the Cleveland Indians with a 3-1 victory. Upton wasn’t the story of the game, Brian McCann’s 3-run home run and Kris Medlen’s 7 scoreless innings that helped it hold up took the spotlight, but Upton’s hit was important in its own right. It marked just his second one since August 9th. He’s now 2 for his last 38, but progress is progress–before that he was 1 for 37.
After the game BJ had this to say: “After talking with the Bossman and a few other family members, I think I’ve found something. Apparently, the object of ‘baseball’ is to get on base and score runs. For years, (former Devil Rays owner) Vince Naimoli screamed at me whenever I got on base or stole a bag to get into scoring position. I never understood why until I got to Atlanta; we aren’t supposed to get on base here in Atlanta and we’re pretty successful. But, I’m starting to think being on base may not be such a bad idea. I like stealing bases.”
When asked about his organization’s philosophy on getting on base, Braves GM Frank Wren spoke fondly of BJ Upton. ”That’s why we targetted this guy in free agency. For years in Tampa, he was one of the very best at striking out and we saw the downward trend in his OBP’s the past few years and that really fit what we were trying to do.”
Vince Naimoli could not be reached for comment as he is currently trying to sell his $10 MM mansion in the Tampa area. (Click here if you’re interested.)
Upton’s .265 OBP is the worst in the NL and his .183 average is the worst in baseball (min 350 PA). But again, there’s hope. Apparently, someone in the Braves organization or an enlightened Upton family member has convinced Upton that if he wants to steal more bases, he’s got to reach first base more often. Whatever his motivation, Braves fans and members of the organization hope that BJ finds his way to first base more often over the final month and into the postseason.
Note: None of the quotes here are real and BJ’s motivation for not getting to first base more than 26% of the time is still entirely unclear. This post is more a proposition to someone who knows BJ: convince him to reach first base so he can steal bases. He clearly doesn’t understand that getting on base leads to winning games. Or maybe he just doesn’t care about winning games. But, we do know that he likes to steal things. (Exhibit A: $12.45 Million this year from the Atlanta Braves).