For many baseball fans in their 20s and 30s, they grew up watching ESPN's Sunday night game of the week for their national coverage of the game. In recent years, the advent of MLB.TV and the ability to watch whatever team they want whenever they want has led to more people embracing more games instead of just watching the national coverage as your only way to see teams ouside of your local market. Last night's Sunday Night nationally televised game featured the Rays and the Rangers. Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton's brother BJ Upton plays for the Rays. While watching the game, Justin had some harsh words for the ESPN broadcast team after the announcers criticized his brother's play...
Amazing that my brother has made two good baseball plays tonight and the #ESPN so called analysts have bashed him for both of them.—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
For the kids out there, when your coach gives you the safety squeeze you don't have to bunt the ball if its not a strike.—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
And when you're on second base with no outs your job is to tag on a fly ball and make sure you can advance to third base #ESPN—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
I'm laughing to myself that nobody else notices that these guys just talk nonsense toward the game as if they've never seen a game before—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
I haven't turned on ESPN after a game in two years, #MLBNetwork actually works hard at voicing the details of a game. That's what I watch.—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
Tito was a great manager and Orel was a great pitcher, I just don't understand why they can't call the game the way it is.—Justin Upton (@JUS10UP10) April 30, 2012
Way to go Justin, way to go. The plays that Justin was talking about was BJ only advancing to third (and not scoring) on a double to right by Luke Scott. Upton held up when the ball was hit, because Jeff Keppinger (the runner on third base) ALSO held up. If Keppinger was running on the play, Upton could have gone as well. If Upton was running and the ball was caught, he definitely would have been thrown out attempting to return to second by Nelson Cruz, who has a cannon for an arm.
The squeeze that Justin was referring to came in the eighth inning, with Evan Longoria on third and Upton at the plate. Upton showed a bunt and Longoria broke towards the plate. Upton pulled his bunt back, because the pitch he was supposed to bunt was a ball off the plate. Odds are that if Upton tried to bunt it, he either would have completely whiffed and Longoria would have been thrown out anyway, or he would have bunted it foul and been in an 0-2 count. Regardless, the announcers going after Upton on the play was completely ill-conceived.
I really like how Justin Upton called our attention to two plays that would normally fly under the radar of the usual criticism of announcers. They went after BJ Upton on a pair of plays that quite frankly, the outcome was justified when you look at the bigger picture. We don't look at little details like this enough, but when you do, it's jarring at just how many times analysts can be off-base.