Does B.J. Upton Deserve a Stronger Reaction from His Team?

Stuart SloanContributor IAugust 19, 2008

On Monday, B.J. Upton was thrown out at second base for literally jogging around the bases on what he assumed was a home run. He, once again, had a mediocre performance Tuesday against the Angels.

Upton struck out three times in four at-bats. One of his strikeouts came in a very critical point in the game. Trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Rays loaded the bases for Upton, who was called out on strikes for the first out of the inning.

Yes, he did have a single, which drove in the Rays' first run of the night, but he did have two at-bats with called third strikes.

Since this is not the first time for Upton to be displaying such careless play, Manager Joe Maddon has said it is out of his hands and into the hands of the team.

"It's the way it should be," Maddon said. "And it's how these things should be handled. I really want to move beyond all this. The focus needs to be on how well we are playing and the accomplishments of these guys in [Monday's] game."

Maddon was not the only one who addressed this with reporters. Cliff Floyd was very hurt by the event and told reporters he would "put his butt on the line" to fix the situation.

Should the Rays be sterner with B.J. Upton? He still made his money while on the bench for those two games. Yes, Upton will hear about this in "Kangaroo Court" but what about upper management? I doubt they want to see their club think they have a swagger about them THIS season.

They have earned respect in the league by taking the first two games from Anaheim, but don't let yourself take it lightly, these last six weeks of the season. If you slack'll slack into the playoffs. Play hard, 150 percent of the time.

Hopefully, B.J. figures out his mental lapses so that they can move forward and can continue winning. Things like this can bring a team down and cost them their playoff chances. A four-and-a-half-game lead can disappear in one three-game series in the AL East.

Boston is still strong, so keep up the work until the playoffs. Even if the Rays don't win in the playoffs, they will still have respect and won't be forgotten, more so than if they did not make the playoffs and were the what-if team.