Upton brothers collide chasing fly ball in outfield (Video)

Just when you thought a couple of siblings would have some special connection on the field, the Upton brothers go out and collide tracking a fly ball in the outfield.

New York Mets shortstop Omar Quintanilla flied a ball to left center with two outs in the top of the fifth on Tuesday. B.J. Upton, who plays center for the Atlanta Braves, seemed to be calling for the ball, but younger brother Justin did not yield. The two ended up colliding. Though Justin, who is more muscular, did not seem to bothered by the collision, B.J. stayed on the ground for a bit before getting up and playfully shoving Justin as he exited the field. B.J. did make the catch to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

So, no, just because they are brothers does not mean the Uptons have a “special connection” on the field. And what’s even weirder is this happened at home where it was likely quieter.

The Braves signed B.J. as a free agent during the offseason, and they acquired Justin in a trade. Since starting off the season scorching with 12 home runs in April, Justin has cooled off and posted an OPS below .653 since then. B.J. started off terribly, batting below .147 in each of the first two months. He has picked it up since then and has an OPS close to .900 in June. Can you believe the Braves are 13 games over .500 with most of their lineup hitting below .250? Just wait til some of those guys pick it up.

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Justin and BJ Upton home runs in 9th win game for Braves (Video)

This Upton-Upton combination is working out nicely for the Braves.

Justin and BJ Upton became the first brothers to hit a tying and walk-off home run in the same inning in MLB history, per Elias Sports Bureau. BJ went deep off Chicago’s Carlos Marmol to lead off the ninth and tie the Braves-Cubs game at 5 on Saturday. Two batters later, Justin homered to win the game. It was Justin’s fifth home run of the season and second of the game, while the homer was BJ’s first of the season.

Interestingly, Buster Olney notes that all of Justin’s home runs this season have come with two strikes. Of course, it’s easy for power-hitting Major Leaguers to hit home runs when the pitcher is leaving you flat 93-94 mph fastballs over the middle of the plate as Marmol did.

Atlanta signed older brother BJ as a free agent in the offseason, and they followed it up by acquiring Justin in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Through five games, the moves are working out quite nicely.

Do you think this is what Atlanta had in mind when they acquired the brothers? That was easily one of the coolest feats I’ve seen in baseball. They keep this up, and they might just move ahead of Kate in the Upton Power Rankings.

BJ Upton reportedly agrees to sign with Braves

B.J. Upton reportedly has agreed to sign with the Atlanta Braves, multiple outlets have said.

The 28-year-old free agent center fielder and his agent reportedly spent much of the day on Wednesday in negotiations with the club. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the sides haggled over a guaranteed sixth year Upton was seeking. O’Brien says the team would not go six unless it was an option year. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the deal is five years for between $70 and $75 million. Upton has to pass a physical first before the deal becomes official.

Upton also changed his Twitter avatar to an Atlanta Braves logo on Wednesday, indicating he has agreed to a deal with the team.

Upton is a former No. 2 overall draft pick who first saw action in the bigs as a 19-year-old with the Rays in 2004. He showed the potential that made him such a high draft pick when he hit .300 with 24 home runs in 2007. However, his batting average has been a big concern since then; he has failed to hit above .246 the past four seasons, and has struck out over 160 times each of the past three years.

Still, Upton possess skills few others in the majors do. He has elite speed that has helped him steal at least 30 bases per season each of the last five years, and he also has good power for a center fielder (he hit a career high 28 dingers last season). Upton plays excellent defense in center, and should be a good replacement for Atlanta which is losing Michael Bourn in free agency.

Though I’m not a big fan of Upton because of his maddening inconsistency at the plate, he is a solid all-around ballplayer who should help the Braves.

BJ Upton loses wallet, gets it back after fan contacts him over Twitter

Sunday really was B.J. Upton’s day. The Rays center fielder went nuts with three home runs against the Rangers, and then his lost wallet was returned after a fan contacted him over Twitter.

A man named Brent Sutton happened to find Upton’s wallet and reached out to the center fielder over Twitter to notify him:

Upton must have seen the tweet and figured things out because he later summarized what took place:

After the fan generously reached out to him and returned the wallet, Upton wasn’t about to let him go empty-handed. He gave Sutton a bat as a thank you:

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Joe Maddon has Orioles Fan Tossed for Racist Comments, Fan Denies Allegations

We know all too well that professional athletes are subject to taunts from fans involving profanity and racism. I mean heck, we get some hate mail here at LBS just for writing stories — imagine what happens to athletes that drop a touchdown at the end of a game. Well just paying for an admission ticket doesn’t give a fan the right to be a total jerk, so on Sunday Rays manager Joe Maddon decided to address an inappropriate fan.

As I learned from the St. Petersburg Times via FOXSports.com, Maddon asked to have a fan removed from the team’s spring training game for racial taunts directed at B.J. Upton. The fan’s comment was said nearby the dugout and was heard by Maddon and other coaches, so it’s not like it happened in the outfield where only B.J. could have heard it. Rather than waiting for something to break out, Maddon acted swiftly to have the fan removed.

Later on Sunday, a twitter account popped up with the accused person identifying him/herself as an Orioles fan who was kicked out of the game. The person denied the racist allegations, writing “by no means did I use any racist terms against Upton or anyone else. I simply yelled he sucks because I don’t like him. Maddon is a liar.”

Obviously I wasn’t there and don’t know what was said, but I’m believing Maddon before the fan. My guess is the comment was borderline and that’s why the fan doesn’t think anything wrong was said, but it was obviously enough to set Maddon off. Like I said, I give Maddon the benefit of the doubt before the Orioles fan, and why is it that B.J. finds himself in the middle of racial issues again?

Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton Get Into it

It’s always a shame anytime we post an item about teammates getting into a dust-up. Much like Hanley Ramirez who had to be reprimanded for being lazy going after a ball, Rays third baseman Evan Longoria confronted center fielder B.J. Upton who coasted for a ball hit in the left-center gap on Sunday. Rusty Ryal got a triple on the play and Gerardo Parra homered next, so luckily the play didn’t really affect the boxscore, but I’m sure the Rays now have an issue to address. Here’s a video of the Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton fight in the dugout via The Big Lead:

The only way I give Upton a partial excuse for the play is if he’s playing hurt, but even if that’s the case then he shouldn’t be in the lineup considering he’s down to .223 on the year and batting 7th. As long as you’re out there, you should be giving everything you have and it didn’t look like Upton was. Typically you’d prefer to see that sort of thing be addressed inside the clubhouse rather than in the dugout in front of television cameras, but at least it’s a good sign that Longoria won’t put up with that crap on his team. These guys just got no-hit and then two-hit Sunday so they need to do everything possible to keep up in the AL East. There’s no room for not hustling.

Evan Longoria and BJ Upton Nearly Fight in Tampa Bay Rays’ Dugout [Video] [The Big Lead]

Scoop Jackson Damages Black People in Column on B.J. Upton, Clarifies

ESPN writer Scoop Jackson penned a column on B.J. Upton explaining that Upton’s stellar play in the playoffs could attract young inner-city African Americans to play baseball. I never understood what the claims of the crisis to begin with; baseball is open to all players regardless of race, and nobody is complaining about the dominance of African Americans in basketball or football, are they? Anyway, rather than saying young urban Black kids could watch slugger Ryan Howard lead the majors in home runs, or see Jimmy Rollins win an MVP (both also happen to be in the World Series), or watch CC Sabathia win a Cy Young and then pitch the Brewers into the playoffs almost single-handedly (on a team full of African Americans no less), Scoop decided to choose B.J. Upton as the player who could bring the popularity of baseball back to the African American urban youth. Here was his reasoning:

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