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Upton won’t play tomorrow

Posted Aug 16, 2008 by Marc Lancaster

Updated Aug 16, 2008 at 12:02 AM

ARLINGTON, Texas—Joe Maddon had the controlled-fury thing going following tonight’s game after pulling B.J. Upton in the bottom of the sixth for failing to run out a double-play grounder in the top half of the inning.

He said he hadn’t addressed the issue with Upton tonight and didn’t plan to because he doesn’t like to delve into such matters when he’s upset, lest he say something he regrets. He did say Upton definitely would not be in the lineup for the second game of the series and he was weighing whether further punishment was necessary.

For his part, Upton said he thought there were two outs on the play in question, but “obviously, I was wrong.”

Maddon was fuming because Upton was timed at 5.33 seconds from home to first on the play, when the average big-league right-handed hitter should be able to cover the distance in 4.3 seconds. This was what Maddon had to say, in its entirety, after the initial question was posed:

“You see how we’re playing right now, and everybody that watches us, you understand why we’re in the position we’re in right now, and it’s about continuous effort. I can’t make it any more plain, simple, obvious, black-and-white, whatever. There are no gray areas. I can’t have Aki run like he is and Pena and Cliff, who’s got two bad knees, etc., and then permit that. I can’t permit it.

“And furthermore, if we’re going to be a really good organization, it has to permeate the entire group. I’m not just talking about the major-league team, I’m talking from Rookie ball all the way up to Triple-A. So I hope that our minor-leaguers read about all this tomorrow also, because I want that message sent to them, too. That’s how we play.

“If we’re going to compete in this division for years to come, we can’t take anything for granted, and that’s what I’m talking about, is assuming. The assumptions. You can’t assume. For me, that has no place here, now and in the future, and I can’t make it any more plain than that. It’s very simple.”

Upton didn’t dawdle postgame, coming out to face the media in a forthright manner.

(How did it feel to be pulled after already having taken the field?)
“I mean, obviously it stung a little bit, especially like that. There’s not much I can say about it. He made the move when he wanted to make the move.”

(Does he need to run everything out from now on, regardless of the situation?)
“I’m going to have to, or he’s going to keep doing it and making me the example. I guess I can’t let him make me the example anymore.”

(Does he feel he’s being singled out by Maddon?)
“No. I guess I’m the only one not running them out, so…you can’t be singled out when you’re the only one not doing it.”

(Does he need to discuss the issue further with Maddon?)
“No. It’s understood. Hopefully it’s over with and it’s the last time I have to deal with it.”

So there you have it—another controversy marring a phenomenal performance by Matt Garza that produced all kinds of trivia on the Rangers’ end:

* This is their first time getting shut out in consecutive games (they lost 10-0 in Boston last night) since Sept. 2-3, 2004.
* This is the second time since this ballpark opened in 1994 that they have been shut out in consecutive home games (also 3-0 on Aug. 7 against the Yankees), with June 12-13, 2003 the other occurrence.
* Garza’s complete-game shutout was the first here by an opposing pitcher since Edwin Jackson did it Aug. 11, 2007.

Reader Comments

Por (Gary Bennett Jordan) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

We dont know to touch 2nd on the way back to first
We dont know to run fast to first after being benched for not running fast to first. We are trying to win the division and its all about BJ.
BJ Upton is flunking the IQ test big time!!!!
Lose the tude moron!!!

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Por (Sam Khalifa) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

When will this stupid sideshow drama end?

So now we are going to reduce our chances of winning tomorrow because of this silly game of singling out Upton? 

No praise for busting it for the bunt hit in the first? 

Clearly, Upton is not the only one who doesn’t bust it up the line when the result is obviously going to be an out.  If every other player on the team were held to the same standard, the lineup card would be empty tomorrow. 

Maybe it’s for the best.  Perhaps we are better off with “Heart and Hustle” Jason Tyner and Brent Abernathy, or tomorrow Justin Ruggiano, instead of BJ Upton.  I’m sure they run out every ground ball, one out after the next.

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Por (H.B. Gonzalez) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sad to say, but Upton still doesn’t get it! When he says, “I guess I’m the only one not running them out,...” as if it would be alright not to run if someone else didn’t run.(See, Young and Dukes) Any player not running hard and fielding his position with intensity all the time disrespects his teammates, the game and himself. Until he understands that it is his responsibility to play hard all the time because it’s the right way to play the game, it’s his job, and he will never reach his full potential as a professional until he does so, should remain on the bench and eventually removed from the team. The organization doesn’t need, “B.J. being B.J.”

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Por (Larry Siegel) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

B.J.
For this transgression I am sentencing you to watch 8 hours of video of Pete Rose playing. 

It is irrelevant whether you are the only one or not committing this offense. Set an example for your present and future teammates.  Run all the bases as though your life depended upon it.  You’ll pick up additional fans and it may just have a positive impact on your future contract negotiations.

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Por (Jay Kay) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Joe M. is right when you see Cliff Floyd hustling for an extra base and giving his all, BJ should do it also. Aki ran to 1st yesterday as if he were Jason Bartlett with speed and determination. The RAYS are a young team, but if you mold them the right way now they’ll be in the race every year for years to come. Good Bye NY & Boston!!!

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Por (Jack Dickerson) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Rays would be foolish to keep Upton around next year.  He doesn’t want to play here, and probably doesn’t want to play at all.  Benching him just allows him to get paid for nothing, which suits him fine.  Yes he has some good plays, but I’ve been watching his half hearted playing all year, usually in his 3/4 running speed after fly balls in center field.  Rocco is back although he did drop one that should have been caught.  By the way, Garza pitched a 1 hitter, not two hitter.  They scored Rocco’s drop as a hit when it was clearly an error.

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Por (marc) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

How about in the off season we trade upton for matt holliday who is going into his final year of his contract and that will give us a big right handed bat to protect longoria and get this piece of prima donna garbage out of tampa. GET UPTON OUT OF TAMPA!!! He brings the entire franchise down.

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Por (Doug) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Sam, a double play is not an obvious out at first. The man covering second may not be able to get the throw off, or he may throw it in the stands. And if Upton thought there were 2 outs and no play at first, he should be benched for not being focused and keeping track of important aspects of the game.

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Por (Doug) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m tired hearing how BJ doesn’t want to be here or how he is bringing down the team and how he should be benched more often. If one remembers correctly he was the one at the begining of the season that was adimant about the rays making the playoffs. I don’t hear anyone complaining about his amazing defense and jaw dropping catches. so he doesnt run out a couple of groundballs who cares. i have noticed other rays do it too including cliff floyd. why don’t you ask garza about what he thought of upton being taken out.

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Por (jeremy) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

these comments are rediculous.  You people have either never played the sport of have some sort of personal disdain towards BJ.  Please stop, you make yourself look like fools. “GET UPTON OUT OF TAMPA” haha, please.

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Por (Gene) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Jack, it was Justin, not Rocco, but your point is well taken.  Sam, it was a lack of huste by Aki that started this, so it is not BJ that is being singled out.  He said that himself.  Since called out once, Aki has not repeated, BJ has.  You are right about his bunt, had he not gone lazy on the DP, he would have been praised for his execution and hustle.  He and only he is responsible for the consequences of his actions.  Had Rocco not gotten injured, he would have been traded long ago.  As others have said, it is not about BJ, it is about the team.  If he can’t figure that out, he will end up sitting next to Barry Bonds in a bar in Arizona watching the World Series.

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Por (Terri Cahill) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

singling out Upton?  I think not.  It was all started by Aki - look at him now - he gives 100% every time.  Upton is fast, maybe he could have beat that out to first base…he makes the comment “Oh I thought there were two outs” - he should hustle no matter what. Hinske and Floyd are coming through - they give it their all. Pena too - they all do - it seems BJ just doesnt seem to “get it”.  Joe M is correct in the way he handles Upton. Another comment he made regarding the last time he was benched was “I just work here” when he was asked about being benched previously - he doesnt sound like he cares.

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Por (marc) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Jeremy from st. pete.  I won championships in HS and college in baseball. Then got drafted by a major league team and played for 1 year but didnt have the natural talent like BJ does. I had to hustle and bust my ##### everyday just to get noticed. Dont tell me i dont know what im talking about because you have no clue what the organization preaches nor what it takes to win in baseball.  Baseball is a max effort sport just like football and there is no place for guys who think there better than what they are like Upton.  He has all the ability in the world but he is lazy and thinks he is the greatest thing to happen to baseball. I wish i was as talented as him because i would have made it and played like Pete Rose did everyday.

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Por (Roberto Martinez) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Its all about being a pro and respecting the game.Just think about the example this guy is setting for our little leagers.If madden let him get away with this he would be setting a bad example .So mr upton you are not as good as you think you are there is allways somebody better than you so play ball ,winning ball not wimping ball

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Por (RICH) on August 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

LETS ROLL WITH THE POSITIVES <> UPTON HAS SOME WEAKNESSES LIKE BASE RUNNING FOR SURE BUT HE WILL IMPROVE <> LONGO HAS TOO MANY K’S BUT WAIT TILL 2009 <>
WHO IS THE ONLY PLAYER TO DRIVE IN A RUN OFF OF THE SUBMARINER - ZIGLER ? BJ’S OVERALL DEFENSE IS VERY GOOD AND I LIKE HIS 80+ BB AND 36 STEALS <> PLUS WITH CC OUT BJ CAN BE THE RAYS ONLY PLAYER TO TOP 100 RUNS <> HANG IN THERE GUYS UNLESS YOU HAVE A BETTER REPLACEMENT HE WELL BE FINE.  DELMON WAS A DIFFERENT CASE AS WAS DUKES !!!

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