I have to admit I am, and have been a big BJ Upton fan.
I mean, the kid, who is just 24 and entering his sixth season, and fourth as a full-timer, has all the potential in the world, and skills he displayed proving just that at a broad level during the 2008 World Series when he and his Ray-mates almost ran the table.
And, well, Mr. Upton lost his play during arbitration the other day, making him one of the few losers of such a hearing I have seen over the past few years, let alone this year.
That is because most players simply negotiate and agree to terms, rather than try to prove the point. And, I know enough folks who have been involved in arbitration, and have seen enough post-hearing discussions to know it is a rugged process, particularly for the players.
So, what was the cred that mad Upton and his posse decide that needing and extra $300K was worth being put through the ringer for 10% of what he wound up getting?
It is true he was dynamite during the 2008 Series, but, that year was a tough one as Upton went .273-9-67 following a year when he was .300-24-82. True, Upton suffered injuries during the bulk of '08, and following his post season power surge, which featured seven homers and 15 RBI, it was really thought BJ would kick it up and become the dominant player we all expected.
Well, .241-11-51 were the totals, including 14 caught stealing (the year before he led the league being caught 16 times) and a huge drop in OBP from .383 in '08 to .313 in '09. That also included a drop in walks from 97 to 57, with a rise in whiffs from 134 to 152.
Not too pretty. So, what was it that made Upton think it was worth arguing publicly that he was worth the extra bucks coming off some disappointing totals?
We simply are, for better or worse, a greedy culture. It was indeed former President Ronald Reagan who decided "greed was good," supported by the fictional Gordon Gecko in Wall Street.
Personally, I think money and players' and owner's profits, to name just a few, are so ridiculously out of proportion that it is laughable. I mean, I do understand a free market, and, well, money is indeed a nice thing to have. But, how much is really necessary?
Is Upton going to suffer on $3 million a year? I certainly hope not.
For, as I noted years ago when Barry Bonds was getting divorced, and his wife insisted that she needed something ridiculous, like $50,000 a month to live in the style in which she had grown accustomed.
Not that I don't think she should be more than entitled to a share of Bonds' fortune for supporting him at being successful, nor should their children wind up on the short end of the stick, so to speak.
But really. If she cannot cut it, say on a measly $20,000 a month, well, like Upton (who will get over $200,000 a month) they each have problems that money alone will not solve.
Too bad, too, because everything either party had to be happy, which does not necessarily have anything to do with money, is right at the fingertips of both Sun Bonds and BJ Upton.
Ok, enough of the soap box.