Now batting for the Atlanta Braves, Melvin Upton Jr. Get used to it baseball fans.
The only questions as to why B.J. Upton would change his name to Melvin are why and why now?
Let’s get the why out of the way.
Melvin told reporters at camp Monday, “This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter.” Upton explained, “I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not?”
That is a good enough reason for me, but why now after ten seasons of big league service under the nickname B.J.?
His father Emanuel, now called Manny, had the nickname Bossman. Sometime after Melvin Emanuel Upton Jr was born, he answered to Bossman Junior. Later Bossman Junior was shortened to B.J.
It seemed to work. B.J. Upton made a name for himself tearing up the baseball fields in Hampton Roads. It was quite the scene in June of 2002 at Greenbrier Christian Academy when the Tampa Bay Rays selected Upton the second pick in the MLB draft.
He was spectacular at times for the Rays. In the 2008 post season, B.J. hit 7 home runs, drove in 16 runs and stole 6 bases. Think about those numbers. He was just 23 years old.
That gets us to the why now question.
Does the name change have anything to do with the fact that since joining the Atlanta Braves he has struggled? The 30-year-old has underperformed since signing a $75.25 million, five-year contract with the Braves. He hit .184 in 2013 and .208 last year.
He has tinkered with his swing and now asked to be called by his real name Melvin. Regardless, welcome Melvin. We hope the name change leads to a productive season at the plate.
Who knows, the name change worked for Giancarlo Stanton.