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Justin Upton on being booed at home: “I don’t care anything what the fans think of me”

Jul 5, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Justin Upton Getty Images

Both last season and this season Diamondbacks fans have booed Justin Upton at Chase Field when he’s in a slump, with last night’s booing being particularly loud after he went 0-for-5 in a loss to the Padres.

Asked afterward what getting booed by his own fans feels like, the 24-year-old right fielder said:

To be honest with you, I don’t care anything what the fans think of me. My teammates, my coaches, they know I come here and I bust it every single day. I try to do everything I can to help this team. My teammates have my back and whatever the fans want to think, they can think. They can call me lazy. I have heard that in the outfield. They can call me washed up. Whatever they want to call me but at the end of the day I am thankful for every opportunity to come out on a baseball field and I will try my hardest every day.

I’m sure the same fans who boo Upton will find a way to spin those comments as reason to boo him even more, but that seems like a pretty reasonable response to me. Or at least more reasonable than screaming “boo!” at a good player on your home team because he’s not playing well.

And while Upton has struggled for much of this season, particularly when it comes to power hitting, he’s hardly been disastrous with a .263 batting average and .722 OPS. He’s also still just 24 years old and coming off an All-Star season in which he hit .289 with 31 homers and 21 steals. All of that seems to have been forgotten, which is similar to what I’ve seen first-hand in Minnesota from Twins fans who’ve frequently booed Joe Mauer at Target Field both last season and this season.

Like it or not, once a great player signs a big contract a certain segment of the fan base expects him to go 3-for-5 with a homer every single game while never getting hurt or falling into a prolonged slump and is all too eager to lash out when those unreachable expectations aren’t met.

  1. sndvl99 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    No, when a guy signs a big contract, the fans expect at least a .800 OPS.

    • pmcenroe - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      yeah Gleeman they only want 2-5 every. single. night.

      jeez they aren’t monsters

  2. deathmonkey41 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    They’re 6 games back- he should probably just be happy those frontrunning AZ fans are even showing up to boo him. They’re probably getting into football mode- trying to figure out how many games the Cardinals have to lose before they bail on them.

  3. billobrienschindimple - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Wait. The American public is impatient, demanding, and walking around with an over-inflated sense of entitlement? Color me shocked.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah. By and large, people are stupid.

      • js20011041 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:23 PM

        I love George Carlin’s quote. I’m paraphrasing here:

        “Think about how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of ‘em are even dumber than that.”

  4. raysfan1 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Some fans believe in myths, such as players play harder and better in contract years and the slack off once they get that big payday, and do not acknowledge that a player just might be slumping due to pressing/trying too hard.

    However, I do not believe Mr Upton when he says he does not care about the jeering from the fans. If that were true, he would not be so easily able to quote some of the rude things he’s heard.

    • kinggw - Jul 5, 2012 at 6:38 PM

      I disagree, if you’ve ever been to a game and sat close to the outfield you know there is usually one or two guys that shout things to the outfielders and/or bullpen. Most of the time the players dont respond so they repeat whatever it is ad nauseum.

      I went to a game a few weeks back and sat directly above the Phillies bullpen (they were the away team) and some guy screamed for Papelbon, even though he wasnt out there yet for several innings. When Papelbon finally showed the guy yelled the same thing at Papelbon for two innings, before he disappeared again. Upton like the rest of us is human. If someone screams something at you for two or three hours you’ll remember it, that doesnt necessarily mean it affects you.

  5. flyerscup2010 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    You know how I know Craig didn’t write this article? He would’ve found a way to blame Phillies fans for the booing rather than say something reasonable about how every fanbase in every city has a few particularly loud idiots (both in the stadium and on the local sports radio station phone lines) who seem to drown out the fans who just want to enjoy games for what they are: games.

    • pmcenroe - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      You know how I know Craig didn’t write this article? I looked below the title

      • thesixersbench - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        To be fair, Craig is an unabashed homer and lazily relies on stereotypes often.

    • skeleteeth - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      pwned?

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        Gay?

      • deathmonkey41 - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        Why yes, I am happy- thanks for asking!

    • nategearhart - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Dude, you’re acting all defensive about NOT being trolled in this article, and you’re complaining that Craig trolls you in articles? Looks to me like you make it too easy for him.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Flyers: Let. It. Go.

  6. mathieug79 - Jul 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    hey Justin, if you don’t feel loved. Tell your GM you want to play for T.O. Im more than willing to take on your contract, and I’ll garantie everytime I go to the park I’ll cheer for you, even if your slumping. Let’s go AA get this guy a Jays jersey!!!!

  7. skeleteeth - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    You boo Rich Gedman. You boo Jack Clark. You don’t boo Justin Upton….

    • stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      “You boo Rich Gedman. You boo Jack Clark. You don’t boo Justin Upton….”
      Outstanding. I think a lot of people missed the scarcasm. But well done nonetheless.

  8. pisano - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I’d rather have Justin than his brother who is totally overrated and with an attitude to boot. At least his .263 ba is better than his brothers .240 ba.

  9. theutilityman - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Seems like a pretty classy response to fans being fans in my book. A nice display of honesty and integrity.

    To be fair, though, as a fan, you can boo whoever you want to boo. Anyone who worked so hard to put themselves in the public spotlight should be used to that. The trick is to take that misguided hatred and use it for your own motivation.

  10. delawarephilliesfan - Jul 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    He shouldn’t care what the fans think, what have they ever done for him? Pay his salary?

    That does not give fans carte blanche, though

  11. stairwayto7 - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Him and hos overrated brother need to just go away..go to cleveland or K.C. and noone will ever see you!

    • pmcenroe - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      right b/c Phoenix and TB are HUGE markets. I for one am tired of the constant retirement home mecca bias

  12. aarontzach - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Too many NFL fans are going to baseball games these days. Maybe they should set off some fireworks after every inning to keep them from getting bored.

    • db105 - Jul 5, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Do you mean NBA fans? The ones that get all excited over an inconsequential basket after inconsequential basket?

  13. townballblog - Jul 5, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Pretty well said for a 24 year-old.

    I agree with, Aaron. Preach!

  14. micbg77 - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    .722 OPS is nothing to brag about if you’re Upton, considering its 29TH AMONG OUTFIELDERS IN THE NL!

  15. TheNaturalMevs - Jul 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    He’s underachieving. This is a guy many thought would be the next Griffey. Come on.

  16. lanflfan - Jul 5, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Wrong attitude and response, in my opinion. Yes, fans want the impossible sometimes, especially after signing a fat contract, but taking the humble approach works far better. Saying you don’t care what fans think of you will probably only make things worse, as some fans will never let you live that down.

  17. thepaisan - Jul 6, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Why not just say “i want to apologize to the fans, i havent been playing as good as i can play, i’m going to continue to work harder and try to get better”

  18. earlnash - Jul 6, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Could be worse; Tampa got his brother: “a lazy BJ”

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