Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meet Melvin

Poor Melvin Upton Junior. I can understand him wanting to do everything possible to reverse his now two year curse but he just doesn't seem to get that by being so public about so many superstitious changes it just brings all the more scrutiny and ridicule on himself. Better to lay low and not bring so much attention to himself. To his credit he has figured out how to report to Braves camp early with all the everyday players wanting to get a jump on spring training, unlike the first year when he was one of the last players to show up.

This past football season many players (like Todd Gurley) jumped on the bandwagon to add "JR" or "II" or "III" to their jerseys. Of course my favorite web site Uni Watch well documented the fad. I haven't been followly closely but it appears that Melvin may be the first MLB player to make the change solely for cosmetic purposes. And no one can fault a guy for wanting to honor his father or go by his given name – its common knowledge that BJ is just a nickname meaning Bossman Junior. No wonder Turner Field had UPTON #2 jerseys on sales last year.

Since these changes are so public you wonder if Upton has other public changes in store. It would be a great idea if he'd use his athletic ability to put the bat on the ball instead of being too selective at the plate. To stop arguing called strike calls with umpires. Melvin has built up an impressive resume of not being able to determine the difference between a ball and a strike. Drawing attention to his failures by arguing with the plate umpire just pours salt on the wound.

Perhaps Melvin shouldn't wear such flashy spikes. One more thing that makes him stand out when he should be keeping it on the down low. Of course I would love it if he would wear striped stirrups like he did in Tampa when his hitting dipped.

All this makes one wonder why others didn't follow Melvin's footsteps. He's not the first Junior to be known by a nickname. Larry Wayne Jones Junior had his share of struggles but never put JR on his jersey. Jones never wore flashy shoes, though he did wear stirrups to break out of a slump. Never stopped switch hitting. And even in the tough times Larry stuck with the name Chipper.

ROB: It is odd, but Upton is kind of an odd guy anyway. Remember when we had a pitcher in the late 70's named Eddie Solomon. One season he changed it to Buddy J Solomon.

I think Upton will have a bounce back year. First of all, as bad as his 2014 was, it was significantly better than his 2013. Between the combination of not playing next to his brother, working with Kevin Seitzer and playing for an under the radar team, I think Upton will come close to regaining his Tampa form. Imagine if Upton hits 20 HR's. All of a sudden, this club looks much different.

Did you see Heyward's quote about batting leadoff contributing to his decline in HR's. The numbers don't back up his assertion, but I do think it harmed his progress by moving him around so much. But I think his tinkering with his stance did more to rob his power than his mindset around batting leadoff.

ME: And we didn't even mention the whole eyeglasses thing. Upton is a little like an Otis Nixon who swings away instead of bunting and chopping at the ball. Constanza's hero must've been Otis.

Rowland's Office was always talking about Buddy Solomon.

The Cardinals will let Jason do what he does best and not expect him to do things he's not good at. But you are right – his own tinkering didn't help. Last year one of the Braves announcers kept mentioning it – Sutton I think. The Cardinals collectors are trying to get their hands on Heyward bobbleheads. I'm holding on to mine.

Tech's basketball coach drives me crazy. I heard Mark Bradley zinged him today after losing that lead last night.

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