Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Upton: ‘Probably the most nerve-wracking two weeks I ever had’
Posted Jul 31, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Jul 31, 2011 at 08:18 PM
SEATTLE All that talk about him not being concerned with the trade rumors? B.J. Upton was, well, fibbing.
The center field expressed relief when today’s trade deadline passed and he was still in uniform.
Upton stopped playing catch with Evan Longoria before today’s game to watch the Safeco Field clock strike 1 p.m. (4 p.m. eastern) as the non-waiver trade deadline was reached .
Upton raised his arms and yelled, “Word. I’m still here.”
“I’m just glad it’s over with,” Upton said after the Rays 8-1 win. “That’s probably the most nerve-wracking two weeks I ever had. I’ve always said I want to be here. I grew up playing with these guys, a lot of good guys on this team, a good organization, so I’m just glad it’s over with and we can move forward and continue to try to win ball games.”
Upton said he couldn’t escape the trade talk during the days leading up to the deadline and that they were hard to ignore while he was playing.
“Definitely a little bit tougher than I thought it would be,” he said. “You wake up and that’s the first thing you see is trade talks, and obviously I was in them. Come to the field and that’s all you see all over the place, you guys ask me the same thing every day, so yeah, it was definitely tough. I’m glad it’s over.”
James Shields, also rumored to be on the trading block, said he didn’t feel the same pressure as Upton.
“I know the business. I’ve been around for a little while,” he said. “I didn’t want to leave, that’s for sure. I still think we got a shot at making the playoffs if we keep winning games like we did today.”