Luis Gonzalez says that Justin Upton didn’t provide leadership to the Diamondbacks
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:
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:
Not that actually saying “lunch pail” would turn that into some deep and meaningful point of analysis.