Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Breaking Out (Of a Slump) Is Hard To Do

In the Family Guy episode titled “Breaking Out Is Hard To Do,” Lois Griffin goes on a shoplifting spree, leading to her imprisonment, her family breaking her out of prison, a wacky police chase that only Seth McFarlane could imagine, and eventually her freedom. If BJ Upton can follow the basics of this plot, he can break himself out of his slump and regain his proverbial “freedom” as a stud ballplayer.

We can all agree that for the majority of the season, BJ Upton has been a ghost at the plate. No, I do not think that a pencil sketched guy has grabbed him from behind the milk cartons, turned BJ into a pencil sketch, and is making him dance repeatedly to “Take on Me.” BJ has just been off his game, horribly. The fact that he can’t find his timing has been a major quagmire that is plaguing the organization. Like Lois, BJ has been stealing. However, it is not bases that BJ has been stealing, having only stolen 6 bases so far this season. BJ has been stealing wins from the team and sanity from the fans. He is striking out at an alarming rate of once every 3 at bats, which is terrible for a leadoff hitter, and has an on base percentage of .276 which is even worse. The timing of his swing has been a quagmire that has been plaguing the entire organization and its fan-base.

These numbers have put BJ Upton into the fans’ prison, also known as our doghouse. Although he is not “on notice” on this site, fans are losing their faith and writers are starting to question if he should be moved down in the lineup. Having an 0-20 skid can and does warrant this kind of unrest. Hey BJ, look out; Officer Joe Swanson and the rest of the Rays fans have placed you in the jail of their minds. While Lois was in prison, the entire Griffin family fell apart. During BJ’s slump, the Rays just can’t seem to get going. The leadoff hitter needs to set the tone for every game on offense. BJ’s hitting had left Carl Crawford with just mustard on his own shoulder to eat, Peter Griffin style.

However there is hope. Just as Peter snuck Lois out of prison in his mouth, Joe Maddon may have bailed out BJ Upton using his mouth. He spoke confidently about BJ, telling the team and fans to be patient. Maddon even said that he would not drop Upton from the leadoff spot.

With the manager’s vote of confidence, it is now time that Upton gains his own freedom and busts out of this slump. For the last few games, he has been on a wild chase to find his timing. Sometimes, he has looked so bad that his swing stunk worse than the sewer that the Griffin family ends up in. It would have taken a lot more than the Goonies to give him any sort of direction. Other times, it has looked like he was in the clear, hitting the ball hard but straight at a defender. Either way, he was 0-20.

While Lois was able to step around Joe’s oncoming wheelchair, BJ was able to step into a 7th inning, 2 out pitch and land it in left field for a go-ahead RBI double. As we all know by now, the Rays never looked back and won last nights game 6-3. All it takes is 1 break to return things to normal. Maybe this was the break that BJ needed.

Has BJ broken out of his slump? We will have to wait and see. However, if the Griffin family could return to normal after all they went through in this episode, perhaps with this one hit, I am optimistic that BJ Upton could return to normal as well. As the saying goes, “Breaking Out Is Hard To Do.” After following the storyline by stealing the fans’ sanity and wins from the team, being placed in the prison of the fans’ minds, getting a vote of confidence out of the mouth of Joe Maddon, and chasing after a hit, I believe BJ Upton has broken out of the slump and returned to the player with a career on base percentage of .362. BJ needs to continue to show everyone and make us all believers. For BJ to truly be back, the hits need to continue to show up on a consistent basis, the stolen bases need to happen more often, and the strikeouts need to drastically drop. Everyone involved with the Rays and who watches the Rays play will know when BJ Upton is back to his normal self, as knowing when BJ Upton is playing to his full potential is not rocket science.

-The Rocket Scientist


DirtbagFan said...

FYI: Both Pat the Patient and Melvin Upton are on short leashes. One more bad game or stupid move could land either player on the On-Notice list. I've given them both probation by stripping them of their nicknames and the next logical step is The List.

DirtbagFan said...

Here's an interesting tidbit I caught: Last season, and seasons prior, Melvin drove me nuts by constantly spitting, a la Garza, while at the plate, but this season... no spitting at all...hmmmm.

Could be a sign that he's too tight/tense up there- trying too hard.

Or could just mean he doesn't eat seeds anymore... still interesting.

Rays Party Chairman said...

I agree it's Shallow and Padantic.

DirtbagFan said...

what's pedantic- the spitting(or lack there of) or Maddon's managing style?