Late Thursday, while the rest of the baseball world was still wringing their hands over the AL MVP announcement, something more important happened.
Guys, I think B.J. Upton might be cheating on us.
Upton met with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field yesterday, and it’s unlikely they were talking about Chipper Jones‘ winter movie list.
With the assumption that Josh Hamilton will be too expensive, the Braves appear to regard Upton as the most attractive outfielder available on the free agent market.
But… but… but we saw him first! DIBS!!! DIBS!!!
Thankfully, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman seemed to admit what just about everyone already knew to be true. Upton is going to be a Phillie. And the sooner the Braves get that through their thick heads, the better.
…the Braves are not the only National League East club interested in Upton. The Phillies are believed to be making a serious push to land the 28-year-old outfielder.
Whew. There, I feel a little bit better. That caveat makes all the difference.
It’s funny to think how much attention a player with an on base percentage under .300 and 168 strikeouts last year could be so highly coveted by so many teams. But when you look at his age, (he’s still just 28), his combination of speed and power (Upton has stolen at least 31 bases and seen his home run totals increase in each of the past five seasons), the fact he’ll likely be cheaper than Josh Hamilton, has more potential upside than Angel Pagan, and is two years younger than Michael Bourn, you can see why teams are fighting over Upton like he’s the neighborhood “Tickle Me Elmo.”
What’s most shameful is how brazen B.J. has been about his tour of shame, tweeting about it yesterday with absolutely no conscience whatsoever.
I’m really blown away by the love other cities are showing me right now. Can’t wait to see how this pans out. #intrigued
— BJ Upton (@BJUPTON2) November 16, 2012
Intrigued? You’re intrigued by Atlanta? What exactly is it that intrigues you? The Tomahawk Chop? The sparse attendance? The ridiculously humid and scorching hot Atlanta summers? The absolute lack of passion by anyone in that city for their professional baseball team?
I’m willing to bet that after the Braves lost to the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card game this year, there wasn’t a single act of violence or car set on fire within the city limits. Do you really want to live in a place where that’s a reality?
Don’t you want to play someplace where the fans actually care (i.e. overreact and panic) about their baseball team?
One thing I will say about Upton is that he sure seems loyal to the fanbase (such as it is) that helped rear him.
I def include tampa in that last tweet… The love y’all show me is overwhelming
— BJ Upton (@BJUPTON2) November 16, 2012
Yeah, that’s very nice, B.J. And I’m sure the 363 or so Tampa Bay Rays fans warmly received and appreciated your kind words.
Happily, Ken Rosenthal this morning tweeted some good news concerning Upton and the Phils.
Sources: #Phillies met with B.J. Upton earlier this week.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 16, 2012
So, it looks like B.J. isn’t totally eschewing the Phils, which is a very nice thing. Hopefully, Ruben bought him a very nice steak.
Look Beej, here’s the deal. The Phillies are on the way back. They merely took a one-year vacation from the postseason. You know you want to play in a city with passion, a place that cares about their team, in a stadium that is routinely sold out.
You remember the 2008 World Series. You remember how nuts that was. You can help make it that way again.
Oh, and Ruben Amaro is probably going to throw a bucketful of money at you. All you have to do is say “yes.”
And frankly, that is what is going to decide where B.J. Upton plays. If the Phillies really want him, they’ll simply outbid everyone else and get him. This little “show me the love” tour won’t be the factor that decides where B.J. Upton will play for the next five to six years.
Still, it’s difficult to see our future center fielder getting all dressed up and having dinner with baseball executives from other franchises.
But we’re all adults here. We can handle it.
I feel so betrayed.