Breaking up ain’t hard to do: Justin Upton gets dumped
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There’s a certain egotistical motif in the world of editorial writing these days where the author takes some current event in the world of politics, sports or entertainment and turns it into a personalized story in what they claim is an attempt to convey the material in a more relatable way but which is actually just a showcase for their own self-centered vanity.
I have even been guilty of this a few times, and I can tell you right now this column is going to be slathered in this egotistical motif. Sure, I’m going to talk about baseball, but all the while, I will most-assuredly be exorcising my own personal demons and probably being somewhat self-congratulatory.
Last week, Justin Upton was traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Atlanta Braves in a move that was a lot less of a surprise than it should have been and a lot less controversial than it should have been. Justin Upton is a fairly well-known player, and he’d been the subject of trade rumors for so long that when it happened the media strangely focused all of their attention on the fact that the team to which he was being traded was where his brother B.J. Upton just signed to play.
Apparently, brothers in sports is currently very interesting to the media. I don’t know if you heard, but the Harbaugh brothers coached against each other in the Super Bowl.
And all the very interesting brother coverage of the Upton trade distracted from the fact that one of the league’s top 20 players was just traded away for slightly more than a bag of baseballs.
So, then how are we going to make this about me? Don’t worry. I’m on it. Many years ago, I was dating a girl and we were getting along quite well, and things were progressing in all the good ways that one would hope a relationship would progress, and then she dumped me.
“Whoa, Jed! Making this about you is one thing, but crikey, how can this possibly have anything to do with baseball?” said everyone.
Patience, dear readers. The connection comes up here pretty quick when I compare the reasons Justin Upton was traded to the reasons I got dumped.
“Jed, you might be the most full-of-it writer ever and this couldn’t possibly be anything more than an attempt to vent some past frustration in what is actually a very awkward setting,” said everyone.
Yes, some of that is true. But I also know a lot about baseball and you have to trust me on this one. Upton has already shown that he has the skills to be one of the few best players in the league, and at just 25 years old, he is only now entering his peak-performance years. And he was traded away for far less than what a player like that should be traded for. In fact, normally you can never trade for a player like that.
Let’s call this girl I was dating “Brooke” (that wasn’t her name, though similarly, her actual name was also a noun – never trust girls whose names are also nouns: Joy, Hope, Faith, Summer, Olive, etc.). Anyway, at the time she dumped me, I was what some might consider to be one of the few best eligible bachelors available. I was above-average in multiple relationship skills: acclimating to friends and family, understanding of career pressures and conflicts, personally successful and financially stable, and of course pretty darn good when the lights go out (not all the lights, of course, because then you can’t see what you’re doing and mistakes get made).
Brooke once sent me a list she made, before we met, of the 37 things she wanted in a man, and I scored an impressive 35 out of 37. I missed on “likes dancing” and “physically fit” – though one could argue those two are the same thing. So, this was a good match of like-minded individuals.
Then I got dumped. By email. I was accused of a litany of terrible things that had very little basis in fact, which she had never actually brought up to me in person ever before. And I have literally never seen Brooke since. Sure, I made attempts to reach her, but her decision was final and no attempt by me to clear my name would be heard.
That brings me back to Justin Upton. Why would a team that wants to win games trade away one of the best players in the league? Okay, so Upton was injured early on last year and he never fully recovered but the year before he was in the top five in the MVP voting. The short answer is I don’t know why.
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