Like many Rays fans over the years, I have had a love-hate relationship with BJ Upton. He has been an incredible baseball talent that seemed to have brainfarts a little more often than others.

But Upton has also been a very quiet player. The only emotion we ever saw was yelling at umpires. And for the most part he just went about his business. He never sought the spotlight, and we rarely heard from him outside of postgame interviews.

But after seeing his emotion following his final at bat [see video here]. And after reading some of his quotes (see below), I wish we had gotten to know him better while he was still here.

BJ Upton has proven over the last 48 hours that for many years, we loved the wrong Rays outfielder more. I have never missed that other outfielder. I am going to miss BJ.

Here are a few of his quotes since the season ended…

Completely overwhelmed by all the love and support right now. My only regret is not being able to bring the fans a World Series title.

We had our ups and downs together but the good times and the bad made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change it.

I will always remember last night. All that support and emotion meant the world to me. Thank you all for the love #raysalwaysinmyheart

A true class act.

 
 

32 Comments

  1. cg says:

    Agreed. I say BJ is hands down the Ray I took most for granted.

    The 2008 ALCS is how I’ll always remember him. Particularly that game 3 blast over the monster. His stroke was impeccable. (that felt odd)

  2. Bob says:

    The Rays don’t and can’t do it often, but a learn term deal for BJ once they see what the market is would not be a bad investment. He is a rare talent and should have a very nice career……

  3. Gus says:

    No need to knock Carl here. Carl WAS an easier player to root for. More consistent at the plate, a better base runner, the more established player who looked like he was killing himself on every play.

    BJ was at times vexing in his plate approach (even this year, his opb was .298, 32 points behind everybody’s favorite target, Carlos Pena) and his running style took time to understand that he’s a strider who is killing it while making it look easy (the Usain Bolt of baseball players).

    But as I said the other day — he really is the Rays’ Doug Williams. The guy who was (along with Shields and Longo) the catylst for the turnaround who (most) people grew to appreciate over time. I suspect that absent a hometown discount, Upton, like Williams, will have a moment of brilliance in a Championship game somewhere else but his career may never reach the heights it did in Tampa Bay. You only get your prime once. I think we just saw it, but you never know. I think we know were some guys can top out; with BJ I’d be reluctant to predict that, as his power numbers in 2012 were very, very interesting.

    6 years ago, you could have never foresaw the moment where BJ was weaping in the dugout and lots of Rays fans were feeling the same way about his possible departure. That says a lot about Upton and a lot about the fans too who as a fan base have grown into a small, but knowledgable group of people who appreciate baseball played in a pre-steroid kind of way.

    The place he should go in pure baseball terms is Boston –they could pay him $, his swing is perfect for the monster, Elsbury is a cancer and he can cover the ground in a sneaky large CF there. Will never happen because of Crawford, though, which is somewhat ironic.

    Wherever you end up, keep the socks high, BJ. That may be the key.

    • Dave L says:

      The Doug Williams of the Rays was spot on.

      On so many levels.

      Upton is the ink blot player.

      Never the weakest link by any stretch but the guy so many focused thier frustrations and “if I were him” fantasies about his every movement, facial expressions, percieved motivation or lack of

      Kind of interesting

  4. s says:

    BJ Upton was a #2 overall pick in the draft. He has rarely ever lived up to expectations. Take a look at his career, you could easily make the case that the only two times in his career that he played at his expected level was the playoff run and the second half of this season which was a contract year.

    That’s sad that it takes monumental motivation for BJ to perform. I truly feel sorry for the team that locks him into a long term deal, without the motivation, the production will be questionable.

    Class act? Yeah whining and cursing countless times at the umpires for ringing him up is really classy. A fine and a two game suspension for going after an ump, once again classy. Getting into disputes with teammates that call you out for not hustling, that’s classy. Being benched for not giving 100% is also super classy. If there’s one person on the Rays roster that I wouldn’t want my 12 year old to emulate, it would be BJ Upton. His on the field antics are without a doubt the worst in the history of our team, yet you somehow call him classy?

    Please enough with the BJ pep rally. He’s never shown any consistency and might never live up to being a #2 overall pick. The thing that you hear over and over is his defense, yet is it really all that? His arm is a complete farce and cancels out his range. He’s had two or three highlight throws to the plate in his entire career, and a ton of off the mark throws that are quiet simply horrible. His base running is also terrible for someone with his experience. So for every positive, there’s at least one negative.

    I truly think that management dropped the ball in not trading him, and I hope that the draft pick we get for the qualifying offer pans out. BJ Upton, even with a good 2nd half of the season, is at best an above average CF. The stats don’t lie and he’s far from an incredible baseball talent and far from elite.

    God luck to you BJ, I hope that a change of scenery is what it takes for you to finally live up to expectations. Is he replaceable for a lot less money? Without a doubt. This sounds exactly like all the “we need to keep Crawford” BS a couple of years ago. NEXT man up, time to move on!!!!!

    • Jason C says:

      Are you serious? Correct me if Im wrong but I believe he leads the majors in CF assists over the last 4 years or so…not sure of the exact timeframe. That sounds like he may have more than 2 or 3 highlight throws. I also love how rising up in big situations is a negative for you. He’s easily a top 10 CF over the course of his career and will probably move into the top 5 as he grows and matures..unfortunately for another team likely. I’d love to have Upton back…maybe 4yr 30mill? Nice hometown discount but still a good bit of money..

      • s says:

        BJ has had a great year but show me any other year in which he was in the top 10 in assisrs. You are a stat guy, his DWAR is simply average to poor. Numbers don’t lie, his defense is overrated.

        Cork, gimme a break. Hes been benched and chewed out by more than one teammate for lack of hustle and now youre gonna somehow say that it was an issue?

        • s says:

          Sorry. Wasn’t an issue.

          Overrated defense
          Horrible baserunner
          Bitches as the umps on.a regular basis
          Questionable effort

          All of this from a #2 pick. Underachiever to the max. BJ is a gigantic risk for a high dollar long term deal. If the FO. thought that he had huge future and was worth the risk, then he would have already locked into a long term deal. They’re not stupid.

        • Mike says:

          2008 (2nd *tie) and 2007 (10th *tie).

  5. Rob says:

    We have had season tickets in left center for a long time, and one of the primary reasons we didn’t move to another part of the park is because of Upton. He often interacts with the fans and in many cases, he has acknowledged us with a head bob or a peace sign when we would talk to him in between pitches. Actually, I don’t know if it was a peace sign – he would stick out two fingers (index and middle) and wag them back and forth – was that for his uni number or was he just saying hi? I’m not really sure, but it was definitely to the fans and he sort of did it on the sly. Once in a while other players will interact with fans like this, but I have never seen it to the degree or frequency Upton does it.

    Gus, I’ll never forget when my wife yelled, “Keep the socks high” to him and he smiled, looked directly at us, smiled and gave us a thumb’s up.

    And I really appreciate that he always threw the warm-up ball into the stands in the 1st and 9th innings – I don’t know any other center fielders who do that every night. I think he truly enjoyed the fans and I will miss the man as much as the player.

  6. s says:

    nice job on deleting my post cork.

    • s says:

      here’s what mysteriously was deleted.

      BJ Upton is a complete waste of talent that only shows up with monumental motivation. Examples – playoff run and the second half of this year which was a huge contract year. The team that signs him will be hosed when he reverts back to his old self.

      If there was one player on this team that I wouldn’t dare classify as classy, it would be BJ Upton. Constant bitching at the umps, suspension for going after them. Altercations with teammates over lack of hustle. Getting benched for not giving 100%. If there was a Ray player that I wouldn’t want my 12yr old to emulate, it would be BJ Upton.

      He was a #2 overall pick and has underachieved for most of his career. He’s at best an above average CF. His defense is overrated due to his arm. He’s had two or three highlight throws vs tons 10 of WTF throws to the plate. His baserunning knowledge is horrible for someone of his experience.

      Good luck BJ, I hope that the change of scenery will be enough for you to finally meet your potential, because we only saw glimpses of it with the Rays. If you were as great as Cork is making you out to be, we would have offered you a long term extension after the playoff run or other teams would have made us an offer we couldn’t have turned down. Funny how that didn’t happen.

      Enough with the BJ pep rally. He can be replaced for a lot less money. Next man up.

      • Beth says:

        Wow, we really needed to read this twice! Hope you got that out of your system.

      • Cork Gaines says:

        Upton has never played under a long-term contract. The last three years he was playing for arbitration contracts. So in essence, this was his 4th straight “contract year.”

        Trying hard was never Upton’s problem. All players take the foot off the gas at times. Upton’s problem occasionally in previous seasons was that he took his foot off the gas at the wrong times. I have always called them brainfarts. Maybe this year was a fluke. Maybe he will go back to being his old self. Or maybe he has learned and adjusted and made himself a better ballplayer.

        • s says:

          Ask yourself why what is considered to be the best front office in baseball never pulled the trigger on signing him to a long term deal. Toooooo many red flags.

          • Rob says:

            From what I have read they did try to sign him to a long term deal after locking up Longoria, but Upton wouldn’t negotiate. He didn’t want a long term deal knowing a bigger payday could be had in his first year of FA.

    • Cork Gaines says:

      Nothing was deleted. If your comment was from a computer you have never used before (while commenting) or if you used a new email address, the comment is held for moderation and must be approved. It is a necessary step to keep the spammers out. Your comment has now been approved and is visible.

  7. CC says:

    I love a good BJ.

  8. Lroy10 says:

    Thank you Bossman Jr.

  9. don says:

    All this praise reminds me of an eulogy, every asshole that dies is the greatest guy in the world….”class” is not the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of Upton on the Rays….Upton is gone so what, he was an ok baseball player(.250hitter at best)… with as many faults as he had good things going for him…will the Rays be worse without him I doubt it, will some other team be better with him…Maybe if they can keep his mind in the game and get him some Hitting (contact) help..otherwise $60 mil +/- for this “person?” …sorry no shot for this “player”

  10. CRRaysHead90 says:

    Alright, that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Gotta bring him back even if it breaks the bank.

  11. s says:

    Cork,
    Show me a single little league coach that would tell his players to hustle like BJ Upton. Show me one that points to BJ’s effort and attitude toward the umps as a great example for kids. Class act my ass.

    Funny how the dbacks are also tired of his brother BS also. He went from star to cancer shortly after signing a high dollar contract.

    Our FO was scared to death to lock BJ into a long term deal. They had plenty of time to make this happen, yet it never did.

    • Dave L says:

      Damn s

      Your hate is finally exploded

      You gave up on this team in July.

      You said our season was over

      I have sat in the stands many a time where you or your soul mates rejoiced in every play in which BJ didnt make spectacular play or just made a routine out.

      Or when he made a good play you or your type gnashed thier teeth and still tried to drag him down.

      Let it go s

      His numbers, his productivity, his late season runs, his WS showing up when no one else did.

      You can’t deny it.

      Grow up as a fan.

      Release your hate.

      He was never our MVP.

      But he was never the problem or weak link in any area.

      Your posts are becoming hysterical

      • s says:

        You’re right dave we should break the bank to sjgn him. What a joke. Even during what is considered to be a good year in BJ terms, his OWAR & DWAR are very veryerage. They surely don’t come close to justifying anywhere near what he’ll make.

        What hysterical is that you guys think he is some kind of allstar and cant be replaced with someone making half his salary. I love that some of you claim hes an elite CF yet his WAR surely doent show that.

        • Dave L says:

          When did I say we should even sign him? I just said we will miss his production terribly which we will. We should not sign him if his number gets too high just like Carl. You claim we can replace him cheaply, we can’t. You say his WAR is bad where Cork pointed out he was like 15th in the AL of all position players since 2008 in WAR. You think people are deleting your posts which is hysterical. You gave up on our team in July and wanted to trade everybody.

          You come here and deliver your final turd bombs to BJ if that makes you feel better fine. You dont like him we get that. But saying he’s easily replaced at a lower salary is absurd.

    • Rob says:

      Posted this above but thought I would add it again as it might get lost in the thread:

      From what I have read they did try to sign him to a long term deal after locking up Longoria, but Upton wouldn’t negotiate. He didn’t want a long term deal knowing a bigger payday could be had in his first year of FA.

  12. Out-of-State Mike says:

    Now 29, BJ is finally showing the maturity we expected from him when he entered the majors at 20. He’s a better than average CF. More to the point, there’s noone available on the market who can replace what he delivers. I don’t see a hometown discount in the offing, and I’m sure he’ll land a nice contract somewhere. Jennings and Joyce can step up and together make up some of BJ’s production. But I don’t see Fuld as a starting LF.

    • Dave L says:

      His hometown is is Virginia beach Newport News. BTW

      A real hometown discount is like Cal or Mauer. Thats a thing of the ancient past Mike for good (players $$) or bad (fans)

  13. Greg says:

    I think the emotions of that last game can make you sentimental for BJ despite the fact that he and Rays fans have had a love-hate relationship. Cork could probably run some stats on how many times BJ has made “the good” and “the bad” in his hangover post. If I’m being honest, I’ve been angry with BJ a lot more than I’ve been celebrating him. But I recognize he’s a very good center fielder and he’s one of our producers on offense despite all the Ks and the low batting average and OBP. So he’s very difficult to replace no matter how we feel about him. I actually expected a lot more anger toward BJ because he’s always been a flashpoint through the years but I guess it’s pointless now (and the commenters here always tend toward the classy).

  14. Ric King says:

    He is lazy, cocky , he only cares about himself. And he will be a Bust for the Braves.

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