Yesterday, Evan Longoria did what many of B.J. Upton's fantasy owners have wanted to do all season: He got in Upton's face and told him to quit dogging it. Longoria was pissed because Upton was poorly postioned in center field when Rusty Ryal clocked a drive to left-center. Worse, Upton made a hemi-gluteal effort to cut the ball off and what was likely just a double turned into a triple. Longoria shared his feelings about the play in the dugout after the inning. See the video below:
Upton showed more effort going after Longoria than he did Ryal's drive to the outfield. Of course, he only gave maximum effort after he was safely restrained by Willy Aybar and had Matt Joyce standing between he and Longoria. My dad had a word for guys like this: pussy. My dad also a word for guys who sported incredibly bad haircuts like the one seen on Evan Longoria: son.
Part of me feels for Upton. He was the number 2 overall pick in 2002 and has been hyped as a four-and-a-half-tool guy for years. He's not a five-tool guy because his defense was never considered great. He started out as a second baseman prospect but that went so poorly, he was moved to the outfield. For all the misadventures on the field, Upton's ability to hit for power and his speed have never been doubted. Fantasy baseball jakes like myself have been waiting on Upton to mature for years. He's just 25, so it might still happen but the prospects aren't looking good. After his breakout 2007 campaign (.300/24 HR/22 SB in just 129 games) it has been a steady decline. Only his speed has remained. This season he is hitting just .223 and is getting worked by teammates, Joe Maddon, his manager, and the local papers.
To make matters worse--and I'll bet this played a role in his explosive reaction to Longoria's dugout critique--the Rays were playing the Diamondbacks when this happened and, no doubt, his brother, Justin, the Diamondback's left fielder saw the whole thing.
As a Sox fan, I love it. In fact, the worst thing that could happen is the Rays do something sensible and trade his half-ass to another team and improve the clubhouse morale. If Upton is as bad as it seems, this could hurt the Rays and put a significant drag on the team. The Sox, as beat up as they are, will take it.
Of course, the national media is piling on and my sources tell me Carlton Fisk called Upton after the game, telling him, "If you don't play the game right, I'm going to kick your ass."
Deion Sanders could not be reached for comment but I have reached out to Upton and suggest he demand a trade...of Evan Longoria.