With one swing of the bat, Justin Upton lifted a weight
off his shoulders and exorcised some demons.
With Chris Young standing on second and Aaron Hill on
first, the Diamondbacks right fielder crushed a 3-0 pitch
from Jason Vargas onto the concourse in left-center,
giving the D-backs an 8-5 lead and the 24-year-old
something to smile about.
“To get a big hit for the team felt good,” Upton said,
noting he’d been grinding all season.
Upton went 2-for-4 on the afternoon, raising his batting
average to .258 while delivering the big hit for seemingly
the first time all year.
The homer led to a chorus of cheers from Diamondbacks
fans, which was a far cry from the boos he heard the night
before, after the All-Star struck out three times —
including once with the bases loaded and two outs.
“I’ve been booed before, I know how to handle it,” Upton
said. “It’s happened a couple of season where I started
out slow, and that’s a part of the game.
“Obviously they’re not happy and I’m not happy.”
At least for one day, though, everyone was happy. Upton
got the big hit, the Diamondbacks got an important win and
the fans had plenty to cheer about.
Even if, upon returning to the dugout after the homer,
Upton’s teammates didn’t say a word.
“I’m thinking it was a good 15 seconds,” he said of the
silent treatment. “It might be a record.”
For a player like Upton, who’s season has not come close
to living up to expectations, silence is certainly better
Which, he hopes, will not come back anytime soon.
“I’ve got to give them something to cheer about,” he said.
“I haven’t given them much to cheer about.”
Maybe that’s about to change. Or maybe not. The
Diamondbacks are off Thursday, and when they get back on
the field Friday to take on the Cubs they will do so in
front of a large (and boisterous) contingent of Cubs fans,
most of whom are certain to boo Upton.
But the guess here is that will be just fine with him.