Justin Upton is not exactly having a horrible season, but 2012 has been frustrating for those who are waiting for him to become a star. After belting 31 homers and driving in 88 runs last season, Diamondbacks fans are expecting the 24-year-old to at some point emerge as one of the best outfielders in the game. Upton is hitting .263 with only seven homers and 34 RBIs so far this season, so the first half has been somewhat of a disappointment. He has only two hits in his last 24 at-bats, which has inspired Arizona fans to begin booing him. Upton says the boos don’t bother him.
“To be honest with you, I don’t care anything what the fans think of me,” Upton said after an 0-for-5 night on Wednesday according to ESPN.com. “My teammates, my coaches, they know I come here and I bust it every single day. I try to do everything I can to help this team. My teammates have my back and whatever the fans want to think, they can think.
“They can call me lazy. I have heard that in the outfield. They can call me washed up. Whatever they want to call me but at the end of the day I am thankful for every opportunity to come out on a baseball field and I will try my hardest every day.”
As Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk mentioned, that is a fairly reasonable response from Upton. Slumps are part of the game and the fans gave him the same treatment when he slipped at times last season. However, Upton signed a six-year, $51.25 million contract two years ago. The fans expect him to earn that money, so he should get used to being criticized when he plays poorly — even by his team’s owner. Considering the slump he is in, the “I’d boo me too with the way I’m hitting” approach probably would have worked better in this situation.
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