Yeah ... and he'll undoubtedly "earn" himself a free-agency contract with the Rays in the process!
My OPINION: He's been overhyped all along. He's simply a journeyman centerfielder with a continuously sub-.250 batting average ... and situational hitting stats that make him the opposite of the proverbial "money-player".
In my opinion, that particular quote might be more applicable to you and your belief that tax monies do NOT support "the lion's share" of the costs of modern pro sports stadiums.
Just some of the more recent examples:
Nationals - 2008 - $635 million basic cost ... city government paid 100% of the cost of the stadium ... primarily with a loan from Deutsche Bank being paid back by tax revenues.
Cardinals - 2006 - $412 million basic cost with some 90% covered by state and county tax funds and borrowing.
Twins - 2010 - $522 million basic cost with the county and city covering some $400 million of that cost with taxes and borrowing. (Direct contribution by the team: Twins put up some $120 million of the total $522 million basic costs.)
Marlins - 2012 - $634 million basic cost with Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida covering 100% of the cost.
Yankees - 2009 - $1.5 BILLION basic cost - city and state paid $1.190 BILLION ... AND ... city taxpayers further subsidized the stadium by eliminating the local annual property tax on it ... by eliminating the local sales taxes on tix and any other retail sales in the stadium ... and the state additionally agreed to permanently pay for a portion of the electicity costs of the stadium. Because of the addtional cost of $200 million ... in an "economy move" ... public officials put the kibosh on a retractable roof for the stadium.
But, hey, your biblical quote infers I'm blind!
And ... regarding Upton ... his numbers over seven seasons (excepting 2007) ... and particularly his situational hitting stats ... are purely pedestrian.
I agree that all those things you mention may have had an effect on slowing down Upton's development. My only point is ... if it was my team ... I wouldn't be willing to wait for eight years at the major league level for him to become the best he can be. IF ... I wanted to keep him "in the fold" ... (which, in my case, I probably wouldn't have) ... back in his earlier years ... I would have put him down in Durham for the addtional necessary "seasoning". The REAL problem is that he had his "career year" right in the beginning ... in 2007 ... possibly a fluke ... but generating F-A-R too many high expectations ... and making it very tough to send him back down for a couple of seasons.
Beyond that, I just do not view him as highly as a baseball player as some others do ... and ... truthfully ... and certainly because of his salary ... I would have traded him last July to the Nationals (if that rumor was true) ... and I'd be perfectly happy with Jennings or Fuld playing center. In fact ... Fuld was in center yesterday ... and, you know, maybe it's me ... but he just seems to be positioned better ... seems to be quicker ... seems to run better routes to the ball ... seems to consistently throw better (with a w-a-y quicker release) ... seems to have better "baseball awareness" ... plus ... he seems to be w-a-y more "gung ho".
But ... everybody evaluates talent (of ANY kind) differently ... and ... of course ... different managers or coaches in baseball have different ideas about team philosophy, how different positions are best played, what makes one guy more valuable than another ... etc. In my case ... I'm not now nor have I ever been as high on Upton as some others have been ... and ... as his salary has advanced ever higher ... I would have become more-and-more inclined to trade him.
From what little I've seen ... I like Keppinger's hitting ... Brignac looks like the 2010 Brignac at the plate and he's doing an all-around bang-up job ... Vogt is definitely hitting everybody he's faced ... Fuld seems even better in the field, on the bases, and in the batter's box ... Davis looks like he'll be odd-man-out in the rotation ... Pena's strikeouts continue ... and I did see Scott in one at-bat ... and he actually looked very good and hit an opposite field screamer down the foul line ... so ... if the shoulder and all his other parts are working properly ... maybe he'll be able to consistently hang in there at DH. (?)
Thus far ... and the regulars haven't played much:
Rodriguez - 10 ABs - .400Brignac - 18 ABs - .389Keppinger - 18 ABs - .389Jennings - 16 ABs - .375Vogt - 28 ABs - .357 (MY pleasant surprise of the Spring thus far!)Fuld - 10ABs - .300________________
Joyce - 23 ABs - .261Lobaton - 16 ABs - .250Zobrist - 16 ABs - .250Scott - 8 ABs - .125 (3 SOs)Upton - 17 ABs - .118 (5 SOs)Longoria - 3 ABs - .000 (2 SOs)Pena - 12 ABs - .000 (4 SOs)
Longoria still hasn't been playing; Chirinos is out with a concussion; Davis' struggles continue ... and I think there are some pretty good looking and unheralded young players out there!
Overall ... Maddon seems to be keeping most of the regulars more-or-less under wraps ... while giving a lot of newbies a chance to play. (For me ... I'd probably want to see all my light-hitting regulars getting as many live-pitching at bats as possible ... but ... maybe he'll being doing that over the remaining 15 or so spring games.)
My primary disagreements with "artraysfan" are (1.) he's an unabridged homey at all times and, therefore, not always objective; (2.) he's an unbridled supporter of Upton ... and I am not; (3.) he has some kind of bizarre, unwarranted and inexplicable distaste for St. Pete and its current mayor; (4.) he's unrealistic about a new stadium, why it should be in Tampa, and that the owners will pay for it without any significant public funds being involved; (5.) he doesn't take it very well when someone disagrees with him ... or calls on him to provide some kind of demonstrable evidence supporting some of his contentions; and, (6.) I think he assigns F-A-R too much glory ... economic and otherwise ... to the concept of a city having an MLB team in its midst.
Notice that most of that has NOTHING to do with actually "playing baseball" ... or the actual game on the field. And ... with the possible exception of arguing a difference of opinion on Upton as a ballplayer ... arguing over the rest of it is meshugana.
Art comes from NY ... None of these things are new. In NY, you are a homey at all times, no matter what. You are always waiting for May or Mantle or Ruth to return. So every kid is the next coming, when he should be the next going. The stadium does not have a subway stop it vacuums, should be torn down and never rebuilt and anyplace else to build it should not be considered.
And finally Art is old ... what else does he have to do but argue?
Upton CANNOT play center field at the MLB level ... and maybe not even in a good beer league. But he can play RF pretty well ... good arm, can cover some ground. Problem is he is an all or nothing hitter and given his foot speed, that is not even A-ball acceptable. 20 jacks is nothing. Everyone on every MLB team should be able to do that given the size of the fields ... Dead people should hit 30 jacks in Houston. Cut his K's in half, have him choke up and hit shots to the gap, he'd hit his 20 jacks out of pure luck ... but he'd hit .300 with 40 plus doubles and get 162 plus hits. The team would win more games.
In today's game stats are more important than winning. Which is why most MLB teams are not even as good as A-ball teams in the 1950 & 60's. Scouts keep telling me all the babble about how today's players are better athletes than my time ... I keep saying YEP, but they can't play baseball. It's a game of skill, not a a game where really great athletic ability even matters.
Then they trot out the great athlete babble ... and I say YEP ... Michael Jordan was a great athlete, but he couldn't hit a good curve hall. So much for being a great athlete.
And so it goes.
You're probably right ... but, really, the WORST "homeys" I think I've EVER come across are ... probably those from Boston! (Although ... I still do hear some real old guys still going into tirades about the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn ... moe than 50 years later!)
Upton's only had, as I recall, a few at bats all spring ... and I'm hearing that he says it's going to take him another week or two before he can play again ... and then another five or six games after that before he's "back to normal" ... and because Fuld is on the verge of going on the DL because of his wrist ... it looks like Jennings will go to center ... Zobrist to right ... and Joyce to left for a quite a while. (?)
I would have liked to have seen Fuld playing center fulltime for a while ... and while he did fill in there for a few games while Upton has been out ... his bad wrist has been limiting him all around.
The fact that Upton has remained around over the last two years or so ... and that the team is paying him $7 million ... and that I believe the Rays will definitely re-sign him out of free agency next fall ... is truly mind-boggling to me. It's really inexplicable ... and after a while ... it becomes just like dealing with a nagging wife or an always whining kid ... you just tune 'em out! That's how I feel about Upton, now. I feel that, all-in-all, he hurts the team more than he helps it ... but the powers that be are going to keep him around NO MATTER WHAT ... so ... I have to fugeddaboudit ... and just totally ignore his presence and his klutz'n'strutz ****-ups ... ... ... with the occasional "I told you so!" creeping in from time-to-time! (?)
(Right now ... it looks like they might have a few more problems than just Upton to contend with.)
Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle on the Michael Jordan comment!
I saw him attempting to play baseball in Sarasota a few times ... and all his athleticism helped him not one little bit as a baseball player! As you've said ... baseball is often more about skill than pure athletic ability ... and I'd guess that Babe Ruth ... and plenty of others ... might agree with that!