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Updated May 13, 2013 - 11:46 am

How Upton got upside down

In baseball terms, it's a triple play of sorts. With Justin Upton back in town, it's natural for fans to wonder why the former number one pick had to go J-Up-Up and Away. In hindsight, it helps to follow the trail of responsibility around the horn. A triple play of culpability, if you will.

The Organization - the only thing approaching Upton's talent level (hence, our nickname: J-Upside), were the expectations. Naturally, the D-backs' mega-marketing campaign only fueled the anticipation. In fact, following the blockbuster trade to the Braves, the team has since admitted that the weight of those expectations capsized Good Ship Uptown. Too much, too soon with a velocity that was too intense. Especially without the presence of a veteran mentor as a next door neighbor in the clubhouse, which, alas, would've been invaluable (a Luis Gonzalez or Tony Clark-type player).

The Front Office - did the team create a self-fulfilling prophecy? With so many trade rumors becoming so public and so incessant, it became necessary to deal Upton. Simply put, the climate surrounding Upton eventually mandated that a change of scenery was necessary - for all parties. Turns out, that almost certainly undermined the value Upton commanded in return.

The Player - in the span of a single year, Upton went from receiving an All-Star standing ovation in his home ballpark to a constant chorus of boos after strikeouts. Did the injured thumb evolve from not just hampering his swing, but eventually bruising his standing with D-backs faithful as his poor play invited more scrutiny? In the clubhouse, multiple sources share that Upton wasn't a clubhouse cancer, but he wasn't exactly an asset to the atmosphere, either.

The Fans - all we know for certain is that the upshot of this Upton ordeal is that fans are deprived of watching the Goldschmidt-Upton duo hit in the heart of the D-backs' lineup for the next half-dozen years. And that's where the triple play becomes a grand slam and we're all out.

About the Author

School: California

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: KTAR/KMVP = 1998

Favorite sports memory: Phoenix Open 1997 - Sitting under the ropes at the 16th green and watching Tiger Woods tee off with a 9-iron. 152 yards and two bounces later...the hole-in-one results in an unmatched moment of bedlam and pandemonium. I'm still suffering from partial hearing loss.

Favorite all-time athlete: Barry Sanders. How can a guy my size make the rest of the NFL look so helpless and hapless? No such thing as an open-field tackle of Barry Sanders, not unless it's a gang tackle.

Favorite sports movies: Rocky - "He doesn't know it's a damn show. He thinks it's a damn fight!"

Gone in 60 Seconds - The Shelby Mustang has great measurables and is elusive in open field!


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