Sunday was one of those days that Tampa Bay Rays’ OF B.J. Upton would rather soon forget. Not only did he go 0-for-3, but when he did get on base with a walk, he got picked off. Then he flew out to end the game. But the worst thing that happened to Upton, was that he and Evan Longoria got into a heated argument in the dugout.
In the top of the fifth inning, Arizona Diamondbacks’ first baseman, Rusty Ryal, hit a line drive into the left center field gap. In most cases it would have been your standard double, but Upton jogged after ball and allowed Ryal to stretch the double into a triple.
It was pretty obvious that Upton was loafing after the ball and worse, when he did eventually get the ball, he lobbed it back into the infield. It’s this type of lackluster play that has plagued Upton throughout his career.
When Upton got back to the dugout, Longoria said something to Upton about the play and Upton didn’t take too kindly to what Longoria had to say. Upton had to be restrained in the dugout by Willy Aybar.
I can’t say I disagree with what Longoria did. While Carl Crawford might be the longest tenured Ray/Devil Ray, it’s Longoria who is the leader of the Rays. And as leader of the Rays, it’s his job to make sure everyone is hustling and is on the same page.
I hope this incident finally turns the light on for Upton. Upton has all the talent in the world, but has always seemed to just go through the motions. And I don’t want to hear the logic of “well he has so much talent things come easy to him, so it appears he is not hustling.”
That is nonsense. The guy is hitting .223 this season, so things don’t come easy to him.
After the game, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon said, “It’s just one of those moments that happened and now it’s up to me to handle it properly.”
If I were Maddon, I would bench Upton for a game. I doubt it will have an effect on Upton, but it is the right thing to do.
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