Thursday, January 24, 2013


The majority of sports fans live in a fantasy world. It's a lot different than the
fantasy world than Manti Te'o lives in, but it's still a fantasy world, nonetheless.
There are fantasy drafts, fantasy players, and fantasy leagues. Many are consumed
with stats and the teams they put together.

So, when the Atlanta Braves pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Arizona
Diamondbacks that netted them Justin Upton, many of those fans got on Facebook,
Twitter, and every other social media vehicle and proclaimed the Braves either the
team to beat, or outright World Series champions. After all, they acquired the Upton
brothers in the off-season. Print up those playoff tickets. Please.

Haven't we learned anything from these big trades that make for "super teams"?
After the Los Angeles Lakers landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the so-called
experts and those in the Twitter-sphere ,said this edition of Showtime would end
the reign of the Miam Heat as NBA championship. How's that working out for
the them? It's been an utter disaster.

Great players, don't make for great teams, especially when they're not all that great.
BJ Upton and Justin Upton are the type of players that scouts and general managers
drool over. They have five-tool talent. That's why they were first-round draft picks.
The Upton's run fast, throw hard, and hit tape-measure home runs often in batting
practice, but only occasionally when it counts. Hitting a solo shot when your team
is trailing 6-0 in the 8th inning, means nothing, and both of the Upton's hit a lot of

In 2012 during his walk-year, BJ Upton struck out a lot. 169 times. He batted .246
and his on-base percentage was a woeful . 298. What about those numbers makes
Upton a great player? Oh, that's right, he's got great potential. He also has a
lackadaisacal attitude that got him benched several times during his career in
Tampa Bay. The Rays didn't seem to be crushed when Upton took the cash and
signed with the Braves for $75 million

Brother Justin, at 25-years old, has more upside than BJ. He appears to be
poured into a uniform by the baseball God's. When he crushes one, there
isn't a ballpark in the country that can hold it. Trouble is, Justin strikes out a lot,
too. In 2012, Justin, who was criticized by the D'backs ownership group, struck
out 131 times. With the acquisition of the Upton's, the Braves added almost
300 strikeouts to their lineup. That's sure to cool off the entire city on a lot of
those hot and humid nights during the summer.

Justin has never driven in 100 runs during his major league career and is averaging
just 18 home runs. Not exactly Albert Pujols numbers. In essence, the Upton's
really haven't done much with their tremendous god-given talent, but the Braves
are banking on big things from both of the Upton's this season.

Will the acquisition of the Upton's be enough to overtake the Washington Nationals,
much less win the World Series? I doubt it. The Nats added starting pitcher Dan
Haren and shutdown closer, Rafael Soriano to a pitching staff that was the best in
baseball in 2012. And for a team that won 98 games a year ago, the additions of
Haren and Soriano are significant.

The Upton's could provide a boost to the Braves offense, but baseball is a individual
sport masquerading as a team game. There's no guarantee of it. The brothers could
have trouble adjusting to a new league, a new division, and new teammates. Plus,
they might have difficultly playing with each other. Just because they are brothers,
doesn't necessarily mean they can co-exist.

It doesn't always work out. It doesn't always guarantee success, because
after all, they don't play in a fantasy world like most of the fans do. Don't hand the
Braves the World Series title just yet.

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