B.J. Upton: Name change has ‘nothing to do with starting a new chapter’
Atlanta Braves outfielder B.J. Upton — excuse me, Melvin Upton Jr. — will be looking to turn over a new leaf when the 2015 season begins. That is not why he is ditching the name B.J.
Over the weekend, Upton announced that he would like to be referred to as Melvin Upton Jr. going forward. Melvin is B.J.’s birth name. His father’s nickname is “Bossman” and Upton got his nickname when people started referring to him as “Bossman Junior.”
When the 30-year-old reported to training camp on Monday, he insisted his name change has nothing to do with his abysmal 2013 and 2014 seasons.
“This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter,” Upton told Mark Bowman of MLB.com. “I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not? It was the name that was given to me as a kid, so I felt I wanted to go by my real name.”
Plus, Upton says B.J. is more of a baseball name, anyway.
“Most of my friends call me Mel or Melvin,” he said. “Nobody really calls me B.J., except at the stadium.
“Call me what you want, it doesn’t matter to me. Obviously, the people I’ve known my whole life and the people I’ve grown to know, I don’t care [which name they use]. But for the general public, my real name is Melvin and that is [how] I want to be referred to.”
As we mentioned before, plenty of athletes have tried to ditch their nicknames (here’s one example) in an attempt to change their image. While Upton doesn’t exactly need image repair, he is hoping to fix the .196 batting average he has toted since signing with the Braves in 2013. Perhaps Melvin will remember how to hit a baseball.