Yesterday afternoon I spoke about the need to the Arizona Diamondbacks to get some veterans to provide leadership, starting last night, if they wanted to make a serious run at the National League West title. Well, lo and behold, Dbacks outfielder Justin Upton did just that. He must have been paying attention in class.
Upton acted every bit like not only the veteran leader that needed to step up but also acted much like Most Valuable Player should. He put the team on his shoulders last night. He had a home run, going 3-4 at the plate, and had four RBI. Definitely the type of production you see from leaders.
After the game manager Kirk Gibson talked about his maturity. He had been frustrated by the umpiring in the game. He could have gotten into it, go himself thrown out, Gibby would have been fine with that. Or, the other option would have been to go out and do what he did, hitting the ball all over the ball park and producing runs to help the Dbacks in their six-run deficit comeback.
Now, the trick will be to apply that leadership consistently. That doesn’t mean he fails by not going 3-4 every night. It means he goes up to the plate every time, head held high, focused in on every pitch. Be an example for others. It’s ok if he makes an out. Calls will go against you, a lot. Show your poise and maturity by walking away. That’s exactly what Upton did last night and the Dbacks are better off because of it.