Was the call made by Umpire Jerry Meals a bad call? It appears that way, according to most fans, as well as the announcers for that game who clearly stated that they thought the call was terrible.
I, on the other hand, believe it was the correct call. In my playing days of high school and college, the rule was that if you turned to make an attempt to second base you could be called out.
The question is: What exactly determines an attempt?
Watching the video and knowing a player's instinct, I believe he started to make an attempt. In the highlight, you can see a small loop towards second, as he is looking at the baseball on the ground.
As a player, you are taught to run through first base and look over your right shoulder to find the ball from a wild throw. Upton found the ball and his natural instinct told him, "Go."
He did not take off for second, but there was a slight motion towards second base. I believe Jerry Meals made the right call and give him credit for having the guts to stand up later when asked by ESPN about the call.