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Luis Gonzalez says that Justin Upton didn’t provide leadership to the Diamondbacks

Jan 26, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT

Justin Upton AP AP

People affiliated with the Diamondbacks continue to throw Justin Upton under the bus and play the grit-grit-grit card. The latest: Luis Gonzalez, who spoke to Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf:

“What we’ve gained now, is a couple of blue collar guys that are going to play the D-back way. Which means they’ll go out there and play hard, give everything they’ve got … There were times when Justin was on, he was a superstar. But when he was off, he would get in his shell and would have those slumps and those streaks.”

Hey, at least he has those superstar moments.

In other news, many folks have said that maybe race has impacted the way in which the Dbacks have talked about Justin Upton recently. The argument: only white guys are ever described as “gritty” and often black stars are accused of dogging it if they play smoothly rather than with dirt in their teeth, etc.  I am aware of that general phenomenon, but I don’t really buy it here.

For one thing, the guy being called “gritty” in all of this is Latino.  For another, more important thing, I think that the use of racial code words to describe players is more of a jackass fan thing, and occasionally a media thing, rather than something real baseball professionals do these days, even if they used to do it a lot. I find it hard to believe, frankly, that a modern front office is trafficking in that noise and I tend not to buy such explanations unless and until there is a reason to do so, and here there is really no reason for it. They sent out Trevor Bauer for the same reasons they sent out Upton, and last I checked he wasn’t black.

What I think is really going on here is just some fetishization of hard-nosed play at the expense of actual talent, and one can make that mistake regardless of their racial attitudes.

That said, this passage from the article is the best typo/Freudian slip ever:

Gonzalez, having been part of the D-backs’ lone World Series team back in 2001, says that while Justin Upton is a great player, the organization had a desire to add more lunch pale-type assets in the offseason.

Not that actually saying “lunch pail” would turn that into some deep and meaningful point of analysis.


  1. dtoms - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    I stopped reading when you pulled the race card.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:56 AM

      Haha I just did too

    • 2077james - Jan 27, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      He doesn’t pull the race card. If you’d taken the time to read on you’d know that.

  2. dbacksfan1012 - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    I am just ashamed of how this organization has handled the Upton fiasco. He is finally traded, and the D’backs still bad mouth his work ethic. Meanwhile, Upton has remained silent despite the criticisms made against him. I think we all know who really has the character issues…

  3. stairwayto7 - Jan 27, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Was that before or after Gonzo roided up?

  4. brandedthefirst - Jan 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Gritty was the 2004 sox .. Gritty and Roid to the gills, but Gritty nonetheless!!

  5. allzeroes - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    Yeah, Luis Gonzalez is so right. Upton should have just used some PEDs like Gonzalez did, then he would have had the right amount of grit to fit in. Gonzalez got a lucky fluke hit to win a world series (over a drawn in infield) and has been living off that ever since. Hey Luis: Shut up!

    • dfpoor - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Lance Gonzalez has no shame, none whatsoever.

    • dexterismyhero - Jan 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Correct and then he did the Brady Anserson and went for like 48 homers…..

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