Monday, February 23, 2015


Every once in a while the sports world gives you a story that makes you laugh out loud.
That Manti' Te'o tale about falling in love with some imaginary girl sure gave the nation
a barrel of laughs several years ago.

When I read a headline this morning that read, "B.J. Upton changes his name to Melvin
for the 2015 season", I roared out loud. Fans and management have wanted Upton to
go away, or at least into the witness protection program, so killing off  'B.J' seemed
beyond comical to me.

For the last two years, fans in Atlanta had already changed Upton's name for him. He
became "B-K" Upton after whiffing more than 300 times and hitting around .200.
Yep, all that production for a guy whom the Braves signed for a 5-year, $75-million contract.

The Braves have tried to trade him for as little as a bag of baseballs, but they've been
rejected. I'm sure they tried to throw him in the deal that sent his brother to San Diego,
but I'm confident the Padres said it would've been a deal breaker.

So, now, to change his luck, Upton is doing something drastic: he's changing his first
name. Upton wants to be called 'Melvin' which is his real given name. His daddy started
calling him Bossman junior while growing up and little Melvin became 'B.J', and B.J.
Upton  had a nice ring to it and fit a prodigy who had amazing talent on the baseball field.

Instead of changing his stance, his approach, his diet, his contact lenses, or even work ethic,
Upton changed his name. Yes! That will make him a better hitter! It may even make him
cut down his strikeouts on the year from 135 to 130. Hey, any little thing might help.

Perhaps, Upton got the idea from Giancarlo Stanton who changed his name from "Mike"
to the one with the big G. And you know what? Stanton's stats actually improved! He
went from a career .261 hitter in his first three years to a career .277 hitter.  His slugging
percentage went up to, not to mention his taxes. The Marlins slugger signed a $325 million
deal in the off-season.

That's the ticket, Upton, must've thought. He was doing everything wrong to get himself
out of a horrid slump. Nothing worked so this must be the key to self-improvement. Can
you just see all young baseball players around he country changing their names when
they get in a batting slump?

"Hey, Peter, you're playing third today," says the coach.

"Coach, I'm no longer Peter, my name is Thurston. It's a family name and it might help
break me out of my slump I'm having in T-ball. Got it, coach? Thanks."

I would love to be a fly on the wall on the first day of first full workouts for the Braves
and Upton announces his new name to his teammates. (Think of the scene from the
movie, "Stripes" and that guy who threatened death if anyone called him Francis.)

"My name is now Melvin, any of you cats call me B.J. and I'll kill you!"

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves manager, "Ok, lighten up Francis. We'll call you Melvin. Now
can you go out and at least try to hit better than Dan Uggla?"

Melvin? Really? Couldn't he come up with something better like Usain Upton or even
Erkel Upton?

Nobody was scared of him as B.J., do you really think an opposing pitching is going
to be afraid of a hitter named Melvin?  And really, when he introduces himself to the
ladies around Atlanta, do you think they're going to be impressed with a .198 hitter
named Melvin?

Bad call, Upton, you should've stuck with B.J. and just taken more batting practice.

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